Association of Community Theatre

Show Reviews 2017


by Philip King and Falkland Carey

Dukinfield A.O. & D.S.


Director Nicky Mead


It is some 30 years since this society used the ‘D’ in its title and presented a play. Bringing this production home to Dukinfield completed the revival.


The play had a workable box which had good furniture and prop dressings. The music was right for the mood and atmosphere of the piece. The costumes, make-up and hair styling all added to the each character's overall appearance in this period play.


This particular play was last presented by this group in 1959. It is a comedy which had great success in the West End at the same time making a star of Peggy Mount.


Sailor Beware is a story about the archetypal Les Dawson type mother-in-law. With society changing so quickly in the intervening years from its first presentation I did wonder how it would stand up with today’s audiences. As the script unfolded it became clear how well-crafted was the writing and, judging by the audiences laughter, it has lost none of its comedy and charm.


The director allowed the words to guide the action so they didn’t interfere with the overall period feel and instead, honed the comedy.


All nine principals needed to concentrate on the exploits of the Hornett household and all have to make their individual characterisation work. From the very first line the pace has to be set and has to continue throughout. Because of these demands an extra pressure is put on the cast as the feeding and picking up of lines is so important to the comedy.


Enter the head of the household, ferret loving, Henry Hornett, the anything-to-keep-the peace husband, father and brother. Paul Whitworth was every inch the intrepid peace maker, or, if nothing else works, attends to his ferrets.


The jilted sister Edie Hornett  with her  crying and submissive behaviour was played by Judith Hilton. The running joke of the sideboard mishaps was picked up by the audience.

Tyrannical Emma Hornett has the lion share of scenes and dialogue and thus has to dominate throughout. Christine Hamer found the measure of ‘she who must be obeyed’.


As in all street communities there are the relationships with the neighbours, and so it was here with Ann Hill playing the tea-drinking Mrs Lack.


All is being prepared for the forthcoming wedding of Shirley Hornett and Able Seaman Albert Tuffnell. Paula-Jayne Power as bridesmaid, Daphne Pink, with an eye for the best man, was suitably seductive. The chaste best man, Able Seaman Carnoustie Bligh, was brightly brought to life by Andrew Cochrane.


After meeting the family of which he was to become a member Albert leaves Shirley at the altar. Seb Lassando captured the character of  the soul-searching Albert. Shirley realised that her interfering mother had to back off. Becky Woolstencroft as the jilted bride handles the crossed lover convincingly.

Saving the day, the vicar tells Emma she must change and all ends happily.  Dave Brobbin was on the ball as the Reverend Oliver Purefoy completing a cast of well-drawn characters.