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Sarajevo, a Mothers Story & an excerpt from This Happy Breed


11th July 2014


Marlborough Dramatic Club


Shenfield Parish Hall

Type of Production



Margaret Corry (Sarajevo) & Patricia Staley (This Happy Breed)


Author: Tessa Davies

Performed as part of the Brentwood Arts Festival, this was a programme of pieces commemorating the two wars.

Firstly we had Sarajevo, written and directed by Margaret Corry, which depicted the events of 28 June 1914.  This was the date that Archduke Franz-Ferdinand was assassinated, which was considered to be one of the catalysts in a chain of events that caused the outbreak of World War One.

Margaret had clearly done a lot of research into what happened on that day and it was very interesting to learn more about this significant historical event.  The four actors in the piece, Reg Wheeler (Emissary from Emperor Franz Joseph) Juliette Bird (Countess Therese Chotek) Suzanne Newman (Sophie Duchess of Hohenberg) and Graham Pulteney (Archduke Franz-Ferdinand) are all accomplished performers and they didn’t put a step wrong.  The dialogue was clear and very well paced, the movement (on a very restricted stage) worked well and we got a sense of the emotions behind the decisions made on that day.

This was followed by a very moving poem composed and narrated by Janet Cass.  Bringing out the anguish of a mother during the war years, I felt every emotion.

Then we had a pleasant interval when we were treated to refreshments presented in the style of the period.  As always, the members of Marlborough Dramatic club display exceptional attention to detail, even in the presentation of the interval refreshments.  The ‘Nippy’ waitresses were a lovely touch!  It also gave me the opportunity to find out more about the origins of the Festival and I am only sorry that I was not able to attend more events as it was clearly a very interesting and varied event.

Upon our return to the auditorium we were treated to an excerpt from This Happy Breed, a quintessential story about families adjusting to the aftermath of the 2 World Wars.  Although this extract featured the aftermath of the Great War (1914-1918) it was surprisingly prescient of the aftermath of the Second World War as well.  This cast, also extremely experienced and accomplished, consisted of William Wells (Frank Gibbons) Lindsey Crutchett (Ethel Gibbons) Jean Morgan (Mrs Flint, Ethel’s mother) Lynne Caldwell (Franks sister) and David Staley (neighbour Bob Mitchell).  This excerpt was cleverly chosen by director Patricia Staley to show the emotions and events that were experienced by an ordinary family in 1919/20 when everyone was experiencing the trials and tribulations of the post war period.

I would also like to compliment the set designers and crew on the simple changes made to the standing set which differentiated between each piece.

Altogether a delightful and thought provoking evening, put together with Marlborough’s inimitable style.  Thank you for a lovely evening’s entertainment.