Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society

When We Are Married (February 2010)

Our production in February, 2010, J.B. Priestley's When We Are Married, was a terrific success and proved to be a very popular choice with our audiences which meant we enjoyed good houses and a great reception at all our performances. We always knew how beautifully written it was and how funny but after many weeks of rehearsal, the laughs do tend to run a bit dry, so what a tonic on our opening night to hear such laughter from our first audience. This was repeated each and every night (and matinee particularly!). A huge thank you to our director, June Cooper, all the cast and crew and all those who came along and supported this production.  

Here's what the paper said......

Eastern Daily Press

If this play had been staged in 1908 when it is set instead of 1938 when it was first published, what might the reaction have been? Then,as now, we can view as comic the confusion and embarrassment that follows revelations that upstanding pillars of society have been "living in sin" for 25 years. But in northern England at the turn of the century, any couple in this position would have been considered social pariahs. Not funny!However, this is JB Priestley - doing what he does best - having a pop at Edwardian pomposity and piety. And it is funny. Very funny. Three couples are celebrating a joint silver wedding anniversary, when they discover that they have been united by an unlicensed clergyman and are, therefore, not legally married.How these "happy couples" try to resolve the problem before word of their misery spreads, as it inevitably does, is pure entertainment.Notable in this outstanding cast are Peter Howell and Madeline Hudson as pompous councillor Albert and Annie Parker. Albert is an old friend of Alderman Joseph Helliwell (Paul Markham) and his wife Maria (Amanda Howell). It is in the sitting room of the Helliwell's house that the old friends including Herbert and Clara Soppitt (Andrew Payne and Pauline Brown) meet up.Equally memorable are Thelma Torr as Mrs Northrop the cook and Ruby the maid, played by the irrepressible Laura Williamson.

In the end, of course, the big question is: do they really want to be married?             Patrick Prekopp    

And this from our NODA East rep Sue Dupont

A strong cast for this excellent play, and how well the Yorkshire accents were maintained throughout. The whole piece displayed to advantage with a good set and costumes, thought given to period. The three couples and their friendships and in-town relationships were well drawn: the Helliwells with their self satisfaction and superiority of lifestyle, the pillars of society, Paul Markham and Amanda Howell were well balanced in their mirrored feelings of success; the pomposity and long-winded opinionated speeches from Councillor Albert Parker, Peter Howell, and the long-suffering meekness of the put-down Annie Parker of Madeline Hudson; the bossiness and criticism from a sharp Clara Soppitt (Pauline Brown), and the down trodden agreements from Andrew Payne's Herbert (but a worm that really turned in an about turn of character well drawn); these were the strength of the kernel of the story.

But the outer fringe of the cast produced some characterisations that were important and enhanced the whole: the inebriated photographer Henry Ormonroyd (Carl Denis) who suffered a similar fate to the happenings 25 years ago, but who hoped for a different result; the blowsy and friendly Lottie Grady of Selina White who almost turned the story; the nosiness and aggressive and wanting-all attitude of Mrs Northropp in a great cameo character; and the friendliness and chattering from Ruby, certainly Laura Williamson needs watching in the future.

Good to see new members, and young, plus some old friends treading the boards and learning from the experience, good for the Society future. The audience enjoyed the play immensely and had many good laughs as the comedy was well pointed in such a well written play.