87fc843425e822b7b822ec88a15fe26b.jpg

Ballarat National Theatre

amorous prawn mainBy Anthony Kimmins

Directed by Jenny Strickland

Performed 18 to 30 April 1975

About the Play

Lady “Dodo” FitzAdam, the lovely wife of the General Officer Commanding North-Western District, lives in a gracious old country house “Glenmally House” in Scotland, with a small army of servants, military personnel all. The ceremony of her position as wife of a General bores her to distraction, however, and she is more than a little distressed by financial problems, too, despite her husband’s rank.

When the General is called to the Pacific on duty, “Dodo” has a marvellous idea – to run the house (which belongs to the Army, of course) as a high-class hotel! A little gentle blackmail persuades the Staff, led by Corporal Green, to see things her way – and they are all promptly involved in a highly profitable endeavour!

The first two guests are Americans, the charming Larry Hoffman, and his woman-hunting friend, Sam Goulansky. Larry falls headlong in love with Lady FitzAdam – who has pretended to be a widow – while Sam makes a play for the Corporal’s girl, Private Susie Tidmarsh. For them all, in spite of the minor complications arising out of necessary deceptions, life is absolute bliss … that is to say until the General returns unexpectedly!

Astonishingly, the General, angered by the parsimonious attitude taken by the War Office over his allowances, proves no obstacle – on the contrary, he sees the whole hotel scheme as an admirable one, and agrees to co-operate all down the line, posing as his wife’s brother-in-law…

So far, so good. THEN, two MORE guests arrive – a Mr. and Mrs. Vernon. The lady is tired, and retires, unseen, to bed. The gentleman turns out to be an old friend of Larry’s, known to the boys as “The Amorous Prawn”, and a great fellow with the girls!  !

Unknown to the FitzAdams, “Mr.” Vernon is none other than LORD Vernon, the Secretary of State for War. He gradually becomes aware that this charming hostelry and HQ North-Western District are one and the same place … proved conclusively when one of the Staff, Huggins by name, comes home very drunk, and gives the whole game away …

The FitzAdams, utterly appalled by the turn of events, face personal and financial ruin … but high-living Sam saves the day. He has just bumped into the supposed “Mrs. Vernon” in the corridor and finds out much to his amusement that she is none other than Babs, the local barmaid. Suffice it to say, that the Prawn’s silence is assured, and the entire business venture can be notched up for “Dodo” as a roaring success!!

Director (Producer) Jenny Strickland

To describe Jenny as a “widowed grandmother” would give an entirely false impression of one of the National Theatre’s most prolific producers. She is neither grey-haired nor about to sit down and take a rest! In fact, she shows all the usual characteristics of those born under the sign of Virgo … she is doggedly determined, has unflagging energy, is discriminating to the degree that she knows what people are thinking almost before they think it, and is by nature a deeply creative person.

Her creativity is released on cabinetmaking and gardening, her insatiable curiosity is assuaged by voracious reading, and her deep interest in the human psyche is countered by active participation in yoga. A part-time teacher of Dramatic Art, Jenny has tutored many aspiring actors and actresses in her National Theatre Drama Classes and has enjoyed a long association with theatre for most of her life.

As an actress, she has been featured on 3LO, 3XY, 3DB and 3UZ, with J.C. Williamson, Brett Randall, and the National Theatre movement in Ballarat and Melbourne.

She has produced Night Must Fall, Rookery Nook, Gaslight, The Doll’s House, Therese Raquin and Written for a Lady both of which won in the Annual Drama Contests in Melbourne, Duet for Two Hands, The Late Edwina Black, Fountains Beyond, Black as She’s Painted, Close Quarters, Trap for a Lonely Man, Ransom, Wait Until Dark, The Paragon, Home at Seven, Lady in Danger, and the recent World Premiere of Hal Porter’s Play, Parker.

Jenny has been associated with the Ballarat National Theatre Movement since its inception with Gertrude Johnson, and her productions are always keenly anticipated by local theatregoers. Her experience in both professional and amateur theatre, coupled with her instinctive rapport with her acting colleagues, makes her one of this theatre’s most valuable assets.

Designer Val Sarah

Apart from graphic and set design for Anglia Television in England, Val’s experience in theatre design has been limited to B.N.T’s. highly successful production of “Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary” late last year.

No designer reaches first base without a competent set builder, and Val has had the best, ROY WALKER. A man of great ingenuity, Roy has added another soundly-constructed set to his long list of credits, including that for “The Anniversary” which won the 1974 Best Set Design Award for Maurine Boon.

Assisting Val and Roy is newcomer Ross Barnett, a draughtsman and designer, whose illustrative capabilities have added dimensions to the set by providing a scenic backdrop evocative of the lochs and braes of Bonnie Scotland.

Cast

Corporal Sydney Green

Phil Hobson

Private Biddy O’Hara, W.R.A.C.

Rhonda Keith

Private Susie Tidmarsh, W.R.A.C.

Leanne de la Harpe

Lady FitzAdam

Virginia Ronaldson

Major-General Sir Hamish FitzAdam, K.B.E., C.B.

David Karmouche

Private Albert Huggins

Dennis Griffin

Private Willie Maltravers

John Curwen-Walker

Sam Goulansky

Murray Thomas

Larry Hoffman

Tony Robberechts

The Prawn

John Stuchbery

Uncle Joe

Trevor O’Donnell

 

Credits

Producer

Jenny Strickland

Stage Manager

John Cornthwaite

Properties

Trevor O’Donnell

Backstage Crew

Russ Carey, Peter O’Donnell

Prompt

Terry O’Brien

Curtain

Debbie O’Donnell

Set Design

Val Sarah

Scenic Design

Ross Barnett

Set Construction

Roy Walker

Assisted by

Russ Carey

Sound

Albert Dulfer, Ted Jorna

Lighting

Geoff. Paddle, Frank Russell

Wardrobe

Eileen Shannon

Hairstyling and Make-up

Lucy Newton

Press Publicity

Joy Smith

Photography

Basil Dawson

Poster Design

Val Sarah

Programme Design and Information

Val Sarah

Front of House

Rev. J. Smith and helpers

Stall

Marj Drew and helpers

 

From BNT 40th Annual Report 1974-1975

Jenny Strickland’s production of Anthony Kimmin’s comedy The Amorous Prawn was also a sell-out and ran to an extended season from April 18th to 30th.  We are indebted to all those who made the extensions possible, because it is all added income for the theatre, which we will need when our Government Grant stops in the coming year.

Production Program

Amorous Prawn 01