A Penny For A Song

In March of this year, the College presented John Whiting's comedy, "A Penny for a Song". This "agreeable whimsy" was produced by Mr. Pickles, stage direction was by Mr. Tufnell; their combined abilities gave us a quite spectacular production.

The play affectionately mocks at British eccentricity during the threat of an abortive invasion. Two eccentric brothers Timothy (Gerald Borgeat) and Lamprett (John Woolf) prepare to stop a supposed invasion by Napoleon. Timothy decides to impersonate Napoleon; Humpage (Stephen Waldron), perched in a cherry tree, keeps a look out for the invaders; Lamprett thinks his home-made fire engine will save the day. The confused identities and the chaos which result called for neat timing from the cast. The arrival of a lisping dandy, George "Stumper" Selincourt (Patrick Maddams), with his army of three rustic yokels does not help to clarify matters. But of course it all works out.

Timothy (Gerald Borgeat) is shocked to hear that his excellent disguise as Napolean is mistaken for one of Lord Nelson.

Cannon balls flying over garden walls, deafening shots from the wings, the descent of a balloon with Timothy (as Napoleon) abroad, the magnificent fire engine -- these added to the evening's entertainment and provided the authentic period touch of gentlemanly interest in scientific invention. This gave the farcical idyll of pantomime and added to the colour of the performance. Whether or not the audience grasped Whiting's more serious undertones of the absurdity of war, I do not know; but the comedy certainly was appreciated.

Great credit is due to Mr. Pickles, the cast and all who helped make this production a success. A very special word of praise is due to the Stagecraft Club, whose many long evenings' work produced a detailed spectacular set that, for me, stole the show.

A. Welling.

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