The Darling Buds of May

by H E Bates

9th-11th March 2006
Broadbent Theatre, Wickenby

It was a long time coming, but after negotiating a series of difficulties and one last-minute cancellation, director Vicky Ashberry finally succeeded in getting H E Bates' feel-good tale of the carefree Larkin family onto the stage.

We had originally planned to perform 'The Darling Buds of May' in May 2005, when the warm weather, Pimms and ice cream would all have been part of the summertime experience.

But owing to events beyond our control we had to postpone the original production, re-assemble the cast (with one significant alteration) and do it all over again ten months later.

When we staged the show in March 2006 the Broadbent Theatre was as chilly as the weather outside, so it was a great credit to the cast, crew and director that the production managed to evoke the languid atmosphere of midsummer even while the audience kept their coats on!

This production was another first for us in two ways: it was the first time we had used the Broadbent Theatre (and we will be going back) and it was the first time we have sold out a venue every night. Around 300 people saw the show, a tremendous total which confirms the fact that our audiences are getting bigger and our reputation is slowly spreading.

According to the Market Rasen Mail 'the whole production was just "perfick", setting a high standard... for local theatregoers.' The Lincolnshire Echo critic was less enthusiastic about the production but admitted that 'the play was a hit with the audience'.

Pop Larkin - Maurice Raphael Darling Buds of May
Ma Larkin - Chrissie Hughes
Montgomery - Adam Fielding
Primrose - Jenny Davidson
Petunia - Sophie Davis
Zinnia - Sadie Davis
Victoria - Abigail Stubbs
Mariette - Elly Tipping
Mr Charlton ('Charley') - Jason Hippisley
The Brigadier - John Reeve
Tax Inspector - David Stubbs
Miss Pilchester - Julie Cartwright
Pauline Jackson - Rebecca Coulton
Angela Snow - Sheryl Tribe
Lady Bluff-Gore - Eileen Finningley

Director - Vicky Ashberry
Stage manager - Graham Botterill
Sound - Keith Archer
Lighting - Patrick Markham
Costumes - Vicky Ashberry
Props - Jez Ashberry, Meg Davidson, Anne-Sophie Germon
Stage hand - Steve Guilliatt
Set construction - Ian Smith, Graham Botterill, Jez Ashberry &
Martin Noble
Front of house - Carolyn Jones & Su Toogood
Publicity - Jez Ashberry
Programme - Vicky Ashberry
Poster design - Nick Whyatt

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