Soham Grammarians - Geneva, July 1948

Soham Grammarian Autumn 1948

On July 28th and 29th the Sixth Form presented Geneva by Bernard Shaw.

Geneva is a slice of imagined contemporary history in three acts. Those taking part were: KL Aspland as Begonia Brown, JE Leaney as The Jew, P Handley as A Newcomer, RH Norman as The Widow, DM McCallum as A Journalist, JW Neville as The Bishop, DC Gardiner as Commissar Posky, I Franklin as The Secretary, D Kerridge as Sir Orpheus Midlander, D Trett as The Betrothed, CV Bobby as The Judge, B Bumpsteed as Bombardone, ACJ Appleyard as Battler, LC Reed as The Deaconess, and DR Barker as General Flanco de Fortinbras.

Those responsible for the production were: Messrs. HFW Catala and AW Lowe, producers; Messrs. EH Tabraham and FK Webb assisted by C Eden and RJW Housden, stage managers; Mr RW Dunning, supervisor of make-up; and LW Fleet, wardrobe master.

KL Aspland, playing the part of Begonia Brown, was superb in all respects. He not only showed great ability in acting but great spirit and organising power, for it was chiefly through his perseverance with the rest of the cast that the play was such a marked success. His actual part was difficult, but he played it extremely well. There is, however, one fault which he might consider and that is, a slight tendency to overact with the result that both interpretation and articulation suffer somewhat.

The part of the Jew, played by JE Leaney, was acted with fine skill and insight, and his dress was also very fitting. P Handley was very well cast as the Newcomer. His natural directness and the abrupt way in which he puts his meaning over were great assets to him.

Another difficult part was that of the Widow, played by RH Norman. He put much enthusiasm and energy into his part and looked distinctly feminine. This was a very difficult task owing to his height.

The part of the American Journalist was played by DM McCallum. He quite maintained the standard of the rest. JW Neville, in playing the part of the Bishop, was good, but not excellent. He performed his fainting act very well, but he had a tendency to speak not quite loudly enough.

The part of the Russian Commissar, which was played by DC Gardiner, although a difficult role, was adequately interpreted. He kept his accent throughout most of the play, a feat which was not quite expected of him. I Franklin as the Secretary was fair. He made good use of his tendency to become mechanical and even expressionless. The part of Sir Orpheus Midlander was played by D Kerridge. He certainly looked the part, but he sometimes failed to maintain the affectation of his Etonian accent.

D Trett, who stepped in at the last minute, played the part of the Betrothed with gusto. CV Bobby, with his low, arresting voice, was very suited for his part of the judge. He put much expression into his speech and he showed his authority particularly well. B Bumpsteed as Dictator Bombardone, and ACJ Appleyard as Dictator Battler, were very effective, especially as they had to create the impression of being foreigners, while speaking intelligently at one and the same time. They were superb in their blend of martial ferocity and childish hysteria; as vocal and physical impersonators of Musso' and Adolf they fairly fetched the house down. LC Reed was excellent as the pious and preachy Deaconess, and DR Barker, in playing the part of Flanco de Fortinbras, convincingly rounded off the cast.

We must thank also the stage managers, the wardrobe master, and especially Messrs. Dunning, Webb and Tabraham, who gave invaluable help. Last but not least, we must congratulate Mr Catala and Mr Lowe on the fine work they did as co-producers.


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last update 18 Nov 2007