When We Are Married - Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society

Patrick PrekoppSheringham Little Theatre, Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic & Dramatic SocietyPatrick Prekopp

When We Are Married

Sheringham Little Theatre

Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society

If this play had been staged in 1908 when it is set instead of 1938 when it was first published, what might the reaction have been?

Then as now, we can view as comic the confusion and embarrassment that follows revelations that upstanding pillars of society have been 'living in sin' for 25 years. But in northern England at the turn of the 20th century, any couple in this position would have been considered social pariahs. Not funny!

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However, this is JB Priestley - doing what he does best - having a pop at Edwardian pomposity and piety. And it is funny. Very funny.

Three couples are celebrating a joint silver wedding anniversary, when they discover that they had been united by an unlicensed clergyman and are, therefore, not legally married.

How these 'happy couples' try to resolve the problem before word of their misery spreads, as it inevitably does, is pure entertainment.

Notable in this outstanding cast are Peter Howell and Madeline Hudson as pompous councillor Albert and Annie Parker. Albert is an old friend of Alderman Joseph Helliwell (Paul Markham - or Michael Palin's twin) and his wife Maria (Amanda Howell). It is in the sitting-room of the Helliwells' house that the old friends including Herbert and Clara Soppitt (Andrew Payne and Pauline Brown) meet up.

Equally memorable are Thelma Torr as Mrs Northrop the cook and Ruby the maid, played by the irrepressible Laura Williamson.

In the end, of course, the big question is: do they really want to be married?

It's neither nowt nor summat - but it's a class act.

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