Rustington Players: family affair in classic play

With his mum Tanya playing his older sister on stage, Ollie Beane is relishing the role of the wronged Ronnie Winslow in Terrence Rattigan’s classic drama of false accusation.

Ollie and Tanya will be treading the boards with the Rustington Players in their latest production at the Woodlands Centre in Rustington (BN16 3HB) from Wednesday-Saturday, June 17-20.

“It’s quite funny actually,” says Ollie. “My mum took me to the auditions, and there was a woman who was supposed to be there but wasn’t. My mum stepped in and read the part, and people thought she was just brilliant for the role. And so she got the part.

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“She used to do stuff as a child, but she hasn’t done any recently. This is her first show in years. She is amazing. She is playing Catherine, my older sister.”

And they’ve had great fun learning their lines together, supporting each other and practising the posh accent required for Ronnie.

“I love the part, and it’s interesting to play a boy of my age (13) but from before the First World War. Also it’s cool because the play is based on the true story of George Archer-Shee. It’s a great story of the little man fighting for his rights against such powerful opponents. I won’t say who wins. You will have to come and see! I am thoroughly enjoying rehearsals and have met some great people who have taught me a lot. We recently got our costumes, which was exciting. They are very different from the clothes that I usually wear!

“I have been in a production with the Rustington Players before. I was in The Accrington Pals last year. They are a great company with many very talented people and it is a real privilege to be working with them again. I think that this production of The Winslow Boy is going to be really good, and I hope that everyone enjoys watching it as much as I have enjoyed being a part of it.

“Ronnie is very polite, but he shows his emotions very well. When he gets angry. He really shows it to everyone that he is getting angry. He also cries and shouts.”

Does that come easily?

“I have had to practice!”

Ronnie is wrongly accused of theft. His father, at huge cost to the family, is determined to prove his innocence. “There is a lot of talk in the play that his father should have just dropped it, but I think to a certain extent he was right to continue – even though he does have to spend a lot of money.”

Ollie, who lives in Worthing and is a member of Stagecoach Worthing and Glendale Theatre Arts, has been busy in the past few years. Along with several school performances, he also appeared in Carmen with the Russian State Opera at the Pavilion and was in Fagin’s Gang in the Worthing Musical Theatre Company’s production of Oliver at the Connaught.

He would love to make a career of acting: “I just love it, and I would love to carry on doing it for the rest of my life. I am going to take it for GCSE, and I am on the gifted and talented register for drama. I love doing different roles in different things. I would work my hardest to get into any show I could.”

Tickets for The Winslow Boy, directed by Viv Culton, 01903 774849 or on the door.