Adapted by Martin Colemen
from the novel by Mrs. Gaskell

Mrs. Gaskell Ivy Spencer
Miss Matilda Jenkins
(Miss Matty)
Vera Newbold
Martha Gill Lees
Mary Smith Christine Elsom
Miss Pole Barbara Noble
miss Barker Joan Ames
Mrs. Forrester Jose Fennell
The Hon. Mrs. Jamieson Eileen Snell
Mr. Hoggins Stephen Pilling
Lady Clements Ruby Carter
Jem Hearn Martin Edwards

Producer Myrtle Newbury
Stage Management Hugo Newbury
Roland Cooke
Ronald Naylor
Lighting Geoff Elsom
Ridley Billingham
Costumes Margery Stoneham
Properties Bill Newbold
Make-up Sheila Rickard
Jose Fennell
Prompt Joy Newbold
Front of House Charles Spencer
Catherine Mastin

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Priory Methodist Church Thursday 15th, 16th and 17th May 1975
Extract from The Bedfordshire Times May 1975

Tea and perfidy

CRANFORD ... a sleepy village typical of so many in England where nothing much happens — for everything, depending on how you look at life.

This is the essence of the play of the same name adapted by Martin Coleman from Mrs Gaskell's novel, and last week's production by the Wesley Players of Priory Church, Bedford.

All that separates Cranford from any other village today is the date of the play, 1830.

The small world built up by clique of gossiping women, with almost fanatical concern over etiquette, and a definite rebuff of anything even slightly risqué, has a familiar feeling still.

But as they say, there are exceptions to every rule. And the village women get into a frenzy when they hear

a certain titled lady is visiting Cranford only to to find that she is the complete opposite of what they expect — which completely upsets them until they realise it makes more sense to be naturally outright and honest than to put on a front.

This production, by Myrtle Newbury, was good to the extent of a cast performing well as typical village ladies of the period.

These were Vera Newbold, Barbara Noble, Joan Ames and Jose Fennell. Eileen Snell was particularly snobbish as the Hon. Mrs Jamieson, and Ruby Carter was a good, down-to-earth Scottish Lady Glenmire.

And well worth a mention are Gill Leesl as the new maid Martha, not yet "Broken in" and an embarrassment to all, and Stephen Pilling as Mr Hoggins, a jovial devil of a bachelor.


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