Thursday 6th July to Thursday 8th July and Thursday 13th July to Saturday 15th July 1978
Directed by John Scadding
"Life is a terminal illness with laughter as the only tranquilliser." - BOND
Hatch is a draper in a small East-Anglian seaside town. He depends on selling to the lady of the manor, Mrs Rafi however, it seems that every special order expensive consignment she orders is returned - which is costing him money. A lot of money. He is also going slightly mad and believes that people from outer space are invading the earth. Following a tempestuous storm one night, when a well-loved villager is killed and a stranger is washed ashore, he manages to persuade other villagers that the stranger is more than he seems. In fact that he is the first wave of alien invaders, and that shipwrecks are a cover for the invading force.
Using biting wit and riotously funny characterisations, Bond uses acute social observation to touch on the themes of class and leadership - even when the nature of the leadership is to draw others on to madness. Written in 1971-72, 'The Sea' premiered in The Royal Court Theatre, London in 1973.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Willy Carson||Trevor Hare|
|Louise Rafi||Cindy Findon|
|Rose Jones||Alison Dorey|
|Jessica Tilehouse||Janet Simpson|
|Mafanwy Price||Nicola Fraser|
|Stage Manager||Tim Mahoney|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Andrew 'Kenny' Everitt|
|Set||Ed Sawyer, Ray Osborne|
|Props||Maureen Wellstead |
Whether 'The Sea' by Edward Bond is a light-hearted tragedy or a black comedy depends on your outlook on life, but this latest offering by the Bench Theatre serves to remind you that life is a terminal illness, with laughter as the only tranquillizer. 'The Sea' takes a look at the effect of a drowning on the eccentric residence of an English coastal town, circa 1912. A young man is washed ashore, his best friend drowned at sea, but with the exception of the dead man's fiancee, the residents are too preoccupied with their own peculiar affairs to offer him anything more than tea and sympathy. Producer John Scadding and the Bench Theatre have excelled in their portrayal of these selected oddballs, choicest of whom is the splendidly demented and utterly xenophobic Hatch played with affection by Derek Cusdin.
Cindy Findon has conquered the role of town matriarch Louise Rafi - Ma'am to you - and can be complimented on dominating the play only within the bounds of her script. Jessica Tilehouse, alias Janet Simpson in real life, though mercilessly upstaged in her role by Louise, is thankfully her equal in performance as the fussy old spinster. Peter Duncan played the part of the Vicar as it was intended, purely for laughs. The play is showing today and Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week at Havant Arts Centre.
The News, Saturday 8th July