Band of Sisters

With the recent mood of rememberance it seems wholly appropriate for this week’s retrospective to look back at July 2012’s ‘We Happy Few’. In the absence of a Normanhurst Festival this year, this play, written by the celebrated actress Imogen Stubbs, provided a vehicle for our biennial focus on The Bard following a group of female actors touring Shakespeare plays round the United Kingdom during World War II, based on the real-life touring group, the Osiris Players. As with the best of the Matchbox work it was at times uproariously funny tempered with some moments of high emotion and pathos. Like ‘The Merry Regiment’ previously( this was a great outing for the ladies of the group and provided roles across the age range with strong performances all round. That is not to say the men were left out, as you can tell from the photos, and I personally much enjoyed my mayoral cameo. Although thinking about it now, it strikes me that this was the last scripted role I actually played on the Matchbox stage; perhaps it is time to rectify that.

However, that aside, this was very much a play about sisterhood and feminine camaraderie and director Mike Downing managed to achieve a great balance in mood and characterisation, in particular in the debut of Amber Napthine and a barnstorming performance from Annie Norris as Hettie, leader of the troupe. She will probably tell me to excise this but as it was also Annie’s last performance at St. Francis’s I make an open suggestion that once our journeys as director/producer have run their course we return to that church hall floor together sometime next year!

Anyway, not only was this a splendidly acted piece but also imaginatively staged with the actors oftentimes hiding behind a wall of costumes and stage paraphernalia before emerging to various scenes, and above all this a screen upon which various multi-media offerings played. A wonderful combination of traditional and experimental, bitter and sweet, it was another successful production and one certainly worthy of remembering at this particular time. Thus, as always, I hope you enjoy the selection of photos and it provides a memory or two of your own and will see you next time.


M x


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