A.A. Milne's detective play, The Fourth Wall, was produced by the School Dramatic Society in the School Hall, on the evening of Friday, March 14th. The production was in the hands of Messrs. P.B. Whitt and H.J. Hyde, and the cast was as follows:
(In order of appearance.)
Jimmy Ludgrove ... ... ... H.J. Hyde
Susan Cunningham ... ... ... R. A. Dubock
Adams ... ... ... ...E.W.Lear
Edward Laverick ... ... ... D.J Gillett
Edward Carter ... ... ... K.E.Robinson
Major Fothergill ... ... ... W.Gillham
Mrs. Fulverton Fane... ... ... B. M. G. Reardon
Jane: West .. ... ...A.F.Auckland
Arthur Ludgrove ... ... ... S. O. Speakman
P.C. Mallett ... ... ... ... J. S. Durrant
"Sergeant" Mallett... ... ... R. J. North
Messrs. J. S. Durrant and F. G. West were stage-managers, and music was rendered by the Instrumental Society, under the direction of Mr. L. C, Belchambers,
The producers had done their work extremely well. The acting was of high standard and the more technical points of production had been looked to with great effect. It was very gratifying to notice how well the "positions" had been thought out. The setting was pleasant, and costumes and make up unobtrusive.
One regrets that in the first scene of the first act the acting was not so good as in the rest of the play. This was undoubtedly due to the large number of characters on the stage at one time, and the vary frequent exits and entrances. One was left with the feeling that the actors had not yet warmed up to their work. Probably the finest piece of acting of the evening was that of K.E. Robinson as Carter, the cruel cold-blooded murderer, calm and cynical throughout, until he is trapped by Susan, when he gives way to a blaze of fury and shows us the very worst side of his delightfully complex character. K.E. Robinson portrayed this man extremely well. He showed himself alive to many of the finer points of true character acting. Mr. H.J. Hyde also gave a splendid display as Jimmy, the young hero. This type of part by reason of its very ordinariness is very difficult to play convincingly, but Mr. Hyde succeeded in "getting across " with every line he spoke.
R.A. Dubock as Susan, "the sweet young thing," looked charming and acted with clever feminine mannerisms, but was inclined to speak rather too quickly and indistinctly. He should also vary the pitch of his voice more often during a long speech. The part was one which any boy would have found difficult, and R.A.Dubock gave a creditable performance.
Among the parts of lesser importance J. S. Durrant, as P.C. Mallett (so well described by his name), scored an undoubted triumph. His fine Sussex accent and the rich humour of his acting were a source of great delight to the audience. R.J. North, as Sergeant Mallett, acted efficiently though a trifle insipidly, and appeared rather insignificant beside his father. A taller person could have taken this part to greater advantage.
S.O. Speakman made a convincing Arthur Ludgrove. He showed us something of that character's great strength of mind, but was at times a little too deliberate in his actions and too slow in his speech. E.W. Lear showed a good voice and some interesting facial expressions in the role of Adams, Arthur Ludgrove's butler. We look forward to seeing him in a part of greater importance in some future production.
J. D. Gillett played Edward Laverick satisfactorily, but was unfortunately over-shadowed by Carter, his partner in crime. His sinister drawl was overdone and marred a piece of acting otherwise quite good. W. Gillham as Major Fothergill did his best with a thankless part. His acting appeared to lack force.
B.M.G. Reardon and A.F. Auckland looked quite fascinating as Mrs. Fulverton Fane and Jane West respectively. Mrs. Fulverton Fane had little to do and gave Reardon no opportunity of showing his powers. Auckland, however, did some very good work in the last scene, but appeared conspicuously left-handed.
We congratulate the Society on what was on the whole a very fine performance, but venture to express the hope that next year they will choose a play more worthy of their attention. The Fourth Wall provided an excellent evening's entertainment, and yet it must have been rather boring for those who had to spend weeks rehearsing it. The commonplace dialogue and conventional plot of this play amuse at first, but admit of no serious study or analysis.