Thurs 25th November - Sat 27th November & Tues 30th November - Sat 4th December 1993
Directed by John Scadding
So what is The Inheritance? And why has Edward, the unlikeliest of all children, been chosen to be told of it? Harley Granville-Barker's comedy-drama of scandal in the suburbs was written in 1905 and has been popular ever since.
Edward's highly principled world upturns when his father reveals that he has been illegally speculating with clients' money. To make matters worse, he soon discovers his large, scandal-fearing family would perpetuate the crime rather than risk public dishonour. This magnificently observed, hugely enjoyable portrait of an upper-middle-class family was written by the father of 20th-century British theatre, Harley Granville-Barker, ten years before the first world war finally sent old values flying.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. This play had 3 incarnations authorised by the author. The first, was in 1905, the second in 1913 and the third in 1934. For this production Bench Theatre staged the 1934 version.
|Mr Voysey||Stuart Hartley|
|Mrs Voysey||Rita de Bunsen|
|Trenchard Voysey||Andrew Caple|
|Major Booth Voysey||Peter Corrigan|
|Mrs Booth Voysey||Wendy Stangroom|
|Edward Voysey||David Penrose|
|Hugh Voysey||Tim Taylor|
|Mrs Hugh Voysey||Nicola Scadding|
|Honor Voysey||Ruth Prior|
|Ethel Voysey||Rebecca Webb|
|Denis Tregoning||Neil Kendall|
|Alice Maitland||Alyse Ashton|
|Mr George Booth||Derek Cusdin|
|Rev. Evan Colpus||Andrew Ingle|
|Stage Managers||Henry Uniacke, Rebecca Webb |
and Ann Gillespie
|Lighting and Sound||Rob Finn and Tony Ford|
|Wardrobe||Rita de Bunsen and Ruth Prior|
|Set Design||David Penrose and Lucy Golden|
|Set Construction||Tim Taylor|
|Front of House||Sally Hartley|
Granville-Barker wanted to write poetic plays. He wrote them; had a few performances of them, and met with a bemused reaction. So he set to and wrote a 'well-made play', typical of his period with French windows, a dark secret, two pairs of lovers, revelations and all the rest of it; all seemingly straight-forward stuff - and the public loved it. his is the play you are to see tonight - a sort of comedy-drama. But he sneakily still kept in the poetry. Underneath all the daily comings and goings of the play, and on top of all these comings and goings he has tried to pass into it the poetry and mystery of every day life. The What? Well, we know a lot more about this thing since Pinter and Albee's 'Zoo Story', and of course the Irish have been doing it for years. The Poetry of Daily Living - that is, the language feelings and gestures coming from people under extreme pressure. And the pressure in this play is The Inheritance.
But what Inheritance? Not just the money thing, surely, but the inheriting of a father who is very kind, very generous and very over-bearing. How to deal with the Inheritance. This is the problem for the people in our story. And much much else besides of course.
Nowadays, says someone in The Voysey Inheritance, business is conducted more or less on the lines of a confidence trick. In that, and in churning over ideas of trust and self-interest, Harley Granville-Barker's play has 1993 resonances. The Bench Theatre company shows admirable enterprise in unearthing it. The central character would be a daunting challenge for any actor. Edward Voysey is described as a "perfect little pocket guide to life". David Penrose effectively shows the man grow to the point where he "finds himself".
Peter Corrigan is a splendidly booming-voiced barrack-room bully, and Derek Cusdin, as the preening old family friend, times the play's best line adroitly: "Oh, this is monstrous," he says. "Oh, it's nearly lunchtime." But other characters need more colouring and John Scadding's production needs to play up the humour.
The News, 26th November 1993