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Anderson Antics


Alan Willens

A HOMESPUN evening of reminiscence, with wartime songs and entertainment, was both promised by the Clatford Amateur Dramatic Society, and delivered.

Anderson Antics centred around a cheerful group of stalwarts led by Peggy, the landlady of the Cheshire Cheese pub, played by Alwyn Tucker . With her husband Albert, daughter Sally, Rosy, Doll and Shirley (Cliff Tucker, Kim Mawby, Christine McCann, Marilyn Hillier and Shân Middleton) she knows their courage and resolution will bring victory.

Harriet and Humphrey, Margaret Scard and David Benwell brought a touch of class to the proceedings although Humphrey was later collared by Sgt Corner, Ted Brown , after being revealed as a common tea leaf!

They kept the audience amused with their joyful singing around the piano in the Aldwych Underground station, where all the action takes place, while the bombs drop outside. Some lovely harmonies from the ladies and an excellent soliloquy from Shirley. More songs and laughter were added by Mavis, Sharon Colpman, a visiting Northerner to the ‘Dig for Victory' meeting, and the double act of Flossy, Janet Smith , and Tilly, Marlene Saunders.

Ernie, an ARP warden, played by Alan Willens , who wrote the script assisted by his wife Annie, opened and closed the show at the Goodworth Clatford village club. During the interval a wartime supper of shepherd's pie, followed by stewed apple and lashings custard, was served by the cast. It was cooked to perfection by the catering team led by Sally Struthers.

The Dad's Army sketch was fun with Captain Mainwaring, David Benwell , blustering around a hole left by an unexploded bomb which turns out to be an innocent drain under repair. Fine performances by Corporal Jones, Bob Houghton , and Private Pike, Nick Bull supported by Chris Upchurch, Peter Smith, Ted Brown and Dave Painter.

Another hilarious scene was where the nurses – Anne Blake, Lynn Brown and Jean Williams – set upon poor Smudger, Chris Upchurch , to lance a boil on his bottom.

There were some poignant moments too – Clarence the local vicar, Peter Bray , confessed doubts about his faith to his wife Mildred, Ann Buckley . The pub cleaner Ethel, played by Velma Oxtoby, is pulled out of the bombed wreckage of her home thinking her daughter had died – but the child was later found to have survived.

Sally, Kim Mawby , provided the love interest with her boyfriend Billy, Geoff Scard , who came into conflict with Canadian sailor Adam, Nick Bull, when he questioned her loyalty.

Turns out she married neither and spent her long life travelling the world with the UN looking after orphaned children and Billy was killed in the war. But years later, when Adam came back to the UK to collect his Arctic Convoy medal, she met him for lunch at the Cheshire Cheese pub to talk about old times.

Raffles on each night raised a record £400 which has been given to the SSAFA. Many thanks to all who donated prizes and bought tickets. Thanks also to all those back stage and front of house without whose efforts the show would not go on.