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Trelawney of the Wells


“The Stage and Television Today”   -   4th November, 1971


At the Arts, Cambridge, “Trelawney of the Wells”, Pinero’s comedy, is the latest in the Cambridge Theatre Company’s long list of successes.


Under Richard Cottrell’s expert direction, the play unfolded smoothly, with a twenty-strong cast which delighted a full and appreciative audience with its highly polished performance, its zest and discretion in presenting characters who are all “stagey” and exaggerated.


There were so many clever performances they read like a school prize-list; Angela Scoular’s Rose Trelawney had charm and bravery in a part ranging from joyous exuberance to near-heartbreak and back.  Richard Ommaney as Arthur Gower, Rose’s aristocratic lover, timed his hesitant speech of thanks to perfection.  Prunella Scales’s Avonia Bunn was extrovert, noisy and likeable,  The “heavies” Mr and Mrs Telfer, (Alan MacNaughton and Wynne Clark) were almost Dickensian in their bombast and, later, quite courage in adversity.  Michael Pennington and John Cater were gay and mischievous as Ferdy Gadd and Augustus Colpoys.  As actor-dramatist Tom Wrench, Daniel Massey deployed the charm and sterling worth of the character with authority, not least in his handling of the wild Irishman O’Dwyer (John Cording) who went up like a rocket and down like the stick.


The aristocratic Vice-Chancellor Sir William Gower (John Woodnutt) ranged from grim conventionality to conspiratorial co-operation most convincingly and had admirable support from Betty Hardy’s portrayal of his sister Miss Trafalgar Gower (rightly named!).


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