by Hugh Mills

Colonel Forbes Clive Emslie
Stella Barbara Noble
Janet Nan Armitage
Brenda Jose Fennell
Maurice George Lowther
Colin Don Edwards
Iris Myrtle Newbury
Mr Howard John Yunnie
Nurse Thompson Marjorie Stoneham

Producer Marjorie Stoneham

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23rd - 25th March 1972
Extract from The Bedfordshire Times by B.J.F.
One of the scenes shows, from left, George Lowther, Jose Fennell, Don Edwards, Nan Armitage, Myrtle Newbury and Barbara Noble.
Amateurs keep their cool in thriller

AMATEUR dramatic groups are often skating on thin ice when they undertake thriller material but the ice has a more than metaphorical significance in Hugh Mills' play. The House by the Lake, which had its second local outing in a fortnight last week.
Performed two weeks previously by the Sharnbrook Drama Club. it was also the choice last Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Wesley Players, Bedford. They coped well with the story of the banned psychiatrist and his sister who plan to murder their step-brother and make it look like a drowning accident by breaking the ice on the lake and putting his body into the water.

The intricacies of the plot require a certain amount of rather contrived explanatory, or anticipatory, dialogue and it says much for the Players' production that they created and maintained the necessary atmosphere of suspense.

It is often invidious to single out one member of a hard-working cast but in this case it is impossible not to give special mention to Nan Armitage, as the neurotic, ex-patient wife of the psychiatrist.

She switched from mood to mood, and portrayed extremes of emotion, with a fluency not often seen on the stagesof smaller dramatic groups.

She was closely rivalled by Myrtle Newbury. who made the most of a comparatively small part as the unhappy wife of the hated step-brother.

George Lowther and Barbara Noble, as the murdering brother and sister, did well after slow. almost apprehensive. starts and the former was particularly good in the tense, closing stages.

Much of the credit for the success of the performance went to producer Marjorie Stoneham. who also appeared briefly but effectively as Nurse Thompson.

Clive Emsley could be forgiven a little overacting as the stock ex-Indian Army chief constable. partly for the panache with which he carried it off but particularly for the confidence he brought to those always-anxious early moments of the play.

The cast was completed by John Yunnie. Don Edwards and Jose Fennell.

The Stoneham family made a further valuable contribution to the success of the production through husband Derrick who, as stage manager, headed an efficient back-stage team. of whom David Carter particularly should be congratulated on the set.


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