Goldsmith Players Autumn Production 2014

The Goldsmith Players marked the centenary of the start of World War 1 by performing the play “The Shadow of the Valley” by C. H. Hawkins which is set in a trench somewhere in France, April 1916. They followed this with a family comedy, “The Dear Departed” by Stanley Houghton.

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Here is the review of the productions published in our newsletter:


 As part of our recognition of the 100 anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War the Goldsmith Players have revived ‘The Shadow of the Valley’ by CH Hawkins.   Set in a trench in France in April 1916 two soldiers sit, wrapped in blankets discussing their deprivations during a lull in the fighting.   They talk about home and are surprised to find themselves in parallel situations.   They feel the same horrors and futility of the war; both have a young family, they were even born only one day apart and share similar hopes and dreams for the future.   The ‘voices from home’ projected in the background feature the wife of one of the soldiers telling her mother-in-law of the frustrations of managing on her own with a baby in wartime and she reads out an emotional letter she has written to her husband.

 During preparations for the next attack, there are reports that soldiers have seen an angel in the sky and interpret it as a good sign although the officers are not convinced.   Before ‘the action’ recommences the Padre offers comfort and strength to the combatants.   The Sergeant blows his whistle and, the soldiers stand up.   They discard the blankets, put on their helmets, pick up their rifles and prepare to fight – to reveal the British soldier and the German soldier facing each other!

 The Dear Departed by Stanley Houghton takes place in Amelia Slater’s parlour.  That morning she found her elderly father, Abel Merryweather, dead in bed.  Although distressed and proudly wearing mourning attire, she wanted to claim some of his valuable possessions for herself before her sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law Ben arrived.   She enlisted the help of her son Victor to collect Grandad’s clock for the mantelpiece and amongst other things she brought his dressing mirror downstairs, placing it on a table remarking that it looked as though it had been there for years.   Husband Henry has reluctantly accepted his father-in-laws slippers.   When Amelia’s sister and husband arrive in deep mourning clothes there is a tension between them over the suitability of each other’s dress.   Elizabeth then notices the clock and the mirror, and is loudly accusing her sister of taking things that were rightly hers, when the door opens and in comes Abel Merryweather enquiring what on earth was going on!   The sisters try to explain but Abel could see only too well what had happened whilst he was in a very deep sleep and announced that he was leaving them all and going to marry the landlady at the local pub!

 All the players gave excellent performances and the stage sets were constructed with care and great attention to detail.   Many thanks to everyone involved on stage and behind the scenes, in creating these superb productions.   Thank you all for two very enjoyable evenings of entertainment.