When We Are Married,
IT WAS feel-good factor plus for audiences fortunate enough to see Ditchling Players’ production of J B Priestley’s When we are Married, directed by Tom Dufty.
With glee they watched the comeuppance of the jumped-up Yorkshire partnership of Helliwell, Parker and Soppitt. Married on the same day in the same Chapel 25 years ago, they are celebrating the occasion with what imperturbable junior maid Ruby Birtle (Katie Silverson) describes as a “bit of a do”.
To record this phenomenon, the Helliwells have summoned cub reporter (Max Smith) and photographer Henry Ormonroyd (Bill Colbourne). However, the new Chapel organist (Jez Jalie), considered unworthy to court niece Nancy Holmes (Georgia Collard-Watson), mischievously reveals a secret to the self-congratulatory grooms – their marriages are invalid and they are living in sin.
Any hope of keeping this private is dashed by aged servant Mrs Northrop (played by diminutive octogenarian Dee Grainger, who made every humorous word count), who keeps her ear glued to keyholes. Gradually the implications of the situation become evident. Now repressed Annie Parker (Nan Crofton) can speak out to her opinionated, stingy bore of a husband, Councillor Albert Parker (played with great expression by Rick Farmer). Hen-pecked Herbert Soppitt (John Merrett) is no longer in thrall to his overpowering wife Clara (a fearsome Susan Ferguson). Enter Alderman Joe Helliwell’s (David Tettersell) fancy lady Miss Lottie Grady (a saucy Susie Beer) to call in his promises to marry her now he is free. Maria Helliwell (Jane Midgen) promptly packs her bags.
Ruby interweaves and comments on developments as the couples get into deeper water, and Henry Ormonroyd hilariously avails himself of alcohol as he awaits the moment for his photograph.