Anything but marital bliss for Players

The cast of When We Were Married
The cast of When We Were Married

When We Were Married by JB Priestley. The Windmill players at Thornton Little Theatre

JB Priestley’s classic comedy takes place in a Victorian parlour, at the house of Alderman Joseph Helliwell (David Baxter) in Cleckleywyke, where three couples are simultaneously celebrating their Silver Weddings.

Thornton Little Theatre

Thornton Little Theatre

However, the chapel’s organist, Gerald Forbes, played bt Mark Bowman, imparts the news that, due to a clerical error, they were never married at all.

Such an occurrence was a social disaster in 1908, especially for paragons of the community like Coun Albert Parker (Alan Dickinson), the epitome of the pompous ‘self-made’ man.
Conversely, for his downtrodden wife, Annie (Marjorie Brown), it offered a possible welcome escape route.

For the first time in a quarter of a century, the spouses had an opportunity to evaluate their marriages and some realised their respective unions had not been all they had hoped for.

Consequently, the audience cheered when henpecked husband, Herbert Soppit (Mark Edmonds) turned on his domineering wife, Clara (Anne George) and gave her what for.

“Nobody must know”, ordered Parker but gossipy housekeeper Mrs Northrop (Liz Danielewicz) was listening at the door and was soon down to the pub with the news.

Meanwhile, press photographer, Henry Ormonroyd (Michael J Grey) arrived, half-cut, and enjoyed a comedy exchange with housemaid, Ruby Birtle (Jackie Rhodes).

The final straw was the arrival of Lottie (Louise Evans), looking like the 1908 equivalent of an exotic dancer with her dyed red hair and feathered hat and boa, announcing she’d had a fling with Alderman Joe in Blackpool.

Immediately his wife Maria (Cathie Welsh) was packing his Long Johns and telling Lottie she was off to her mother’s so Lottie was welcome to him.

Another triumph for Thornton’s Windmill Players whose next production will be Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Joking Apart’ on Feb 20th-24th 2018.

Ron Ellis