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Battle of the sexes in classic British farce
A BATTLE of the sexes ensues when the Studio Theatre Club performs classic British comedy, The Happiest Days of Your Life, later this month.
Journey back in time to the 1940s for the play by John Dighton which was made into a 1950 film of the same name, starring the legendary Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and Joyce Grenfell.
The play tells the story of how the pupils and teachers of St Swithin’s Girls School are relocated to alternative accommodation after their own school becomes a casualty of wartime bombing. But, thanks to a bureacratic bungle, they end up sharing the premises of a boys’ school, Hilary Hall.
The harried headmaster and headmistress, Mr Pond and Miss Whitchurch, played by Stephen Briggs and Kath Leighton, together with both sets of teachers, face the challenge of trying to keep visiting parents from discovering the dilemma as the whole situation deteriorates into a battle of the sexes.
In rehearsal, director Matt Kirk has aimed to keep the action of the family comedy flowing as the chaos mounts and the staff find things getting out of their control.
Playing the other members of staff are Dan Bond as Mr Billings, Brian Macken (Mr Tassell), Holly Bathie (Miss Gossage), Debs McKenna (Miss Harper) and Tom Fenton as grumpy groundsman, Rainbow.
And, sitting behind their desks, are the pupils played by Georgie Longley as Colhoun, Hannah Barnes (Hopcroft) and Victoria Maskell and Laura Behr as Daisy and Maisy.
Finally, there are the visiting parents — Matt Kirk and Mary Horan (Mrs and Mrs Sowter), and John Kirchhoff and (Lucy Natarajan Rev and Mrs Peck).
The group’s choice of play came out of director Matt’s browsing in a secondhand bookshop.
He happened upon a copy of the play and instantly loved its witty wordplay and anarchic goings-on.
However, it led to some challenges for the group on the props front, with trawls around car-boot sales and Internet searches for such items as period golden syrup tins, ten shilling notes, cricket gear, ration cards, Ilfracombe rock and a school bell.
The producers of the film version of the play and many of the actors went on to create the famous series of St Trinian’s films.
Tickets for the play being performed at the Unicorn Theatre, Checker Walk, Abingdon, from Wednesday to Saturday, May 23 to 26, at 7.30pm cost £8.50 and are available from firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01865 778105.