Spring and Port Wine
by Bill Naughton
27th, 29th, 30th November and 1st December 2001
Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln
Seven short months after we first sat down in the pub and discussed setting up a new theatre group, we were on stage. In the absence of any other takers Jez Ashberry volunteered to direct our first outing – ‘Spring and Port Wine’ by Bill Naughton, a touching, comic, atmospheric ensemble piece set in Bolton in the early 60s.
Inspired by the 1960s film version featuring a quietly menacing James Mason as Rafe and a teenage Susan George in a mini skirt, Jez brought together a mix of experienced actors and outright newcomers in the company’s first cast. Ian Smith worked wonders with a tardis of a set which had to accommodate a dinner table, six chairs, a sofa, two armchairs, a television set and a bureau in a space hardly big enough for Jason Hippisley to swing his towel.
The onset of spring and a few glasses of port wine after work are what puts a spring into the step of young Hilda, but her home life is soured by the overbearing manner of her father Rafe, who rules Hilda and her brothers with a rod of iron. After a series of arguments and confrontations – and the trials of Mother, who has pawned Dad’s best coat in spite of her husband’s fanatical dislike of debt – the Cromptons manage to avoid a family break-up by finally being honest with each other.
Our first production was described by the Lincolnshire Echo as ‘a sterling performance’ and involved 28 members and friends of the company.
|Daisy Crompton||Su Toogood|
|Florence Crompton||Juli Charlton|
|Betsy Jane||Gaynor Little|
|Wilfred Crompton||Philip Little|
|Harold Crompton||Jason Hippisley|
|Hilda Crompton||Carly Bustin|
|Rafe Crompton||Steve Watters|
|Stage manager||Jonathan Newton|
|Costumes||Pat Gregory, Vicky Ashberry|
|Set||Ian Smith, John Davey|
|Sound and light||James Ralph|
|Front of house||Charles Newby, Christine Bellamy|
|Incidental music||Anne Nugent|