The members of the Temple Dramatic Society, St. Mary Cray, selected Eden and Adelaide Phillpots’ comedy, “Yellow Sands,” for production this Spring and the success they scored on Saturday night has never been equalled during the past ten years—or since “The Iron Ann” was staged in 1922.

Mrs. F. Leslie Duck was the producer and around her gathered some of the best amateur actors in St. Mary Cray and Orpington in her effort to raise money for the Temple Congregational Church Renovation Fund, which needs support, financially, to enable the Rev. T. W. Bond and his deacons to expunge the debt incurred last year for building improvements.

Eden and Adelaide Phillpots have a keen insight of family life in the fishing villages in Devon and Cornwall, and though “Yellow Sands” has been classified as a comedy—and was well received three years ago in London—it tells a story of everyday life.

Mrs. Leo Tompkins, as Jenifer Varvell, played a prominent part. The role of Joe Varvell was well filled by Mr. Wilfred Sampson. Time and again he was applauded, particularly when Mrs. Alan Cryer (who was a charming housemaid to Miss Jenifer Varvell) appeared with him in the final love scene. Mr. F. Leslie Duck was exceptionally humorous and witty as a typical village “boozer” and the merriment was enhanced by the appearance and the mannerisms of the two Masters sisters, Miss Cissie Betts and Miss Joy Duck. Mr. Leo E. Tompkins was a staid old sailor. At intervals the vicissitudes of love which Mr. W. Eric Webb (Arthur Varvell) and Miss Beckie Collier (Emma Major, the “red-haired girl”) endured were among the enjoyable features of teh comedy.

The production reflected the greatest credit on Mrs. F. Leslie Duck, who was presented with a bouquet, and the members of the cast. There was only one fault to be found and that was the unnecessary waste of time preparing the scenery for Act I.

Incidental music was played by Mrs. G. Homewood, Messrs. C. H. Fife (violin), H. Hawkes and H. Onley. Mr. Charles Murrells was the stage manager and the stage furniture was lent by Mr. F. Stanger.

Programmes were sold by Miss D. Croft, Miss M. Grimes, Miss E. Hook, and Mrs R. White.



Dialect plays do not appeal to everyone, but all who saw “Yellow Sands,” presented by the Temple Dramatic Society in St. Mary Cray Village Hall last Thursday and Saturday, appeared to enjoy every minute of this humorous tale of simple Devonshire fisher-folk, brought to life by Eden and Adelaide Phillpots.

Such plays are not easy material for amateur actors brn in the home counties, but the same society had already shown their talent in their successful presentation of another Phillpots dialect play, “The Farmer’s Wife,” two years ago. Except that one or two of the players prolonged the length of the vowels unduly, even a native of the West Country could find little wrong with their interpretation of the Devonshire dialect.

The play abounds with delightfully naïve wit and dry, simple humour, but one of the most amusing incidents, so far as the second performance was concerned, was unrehearsed. This occurred in the third act, when the chattering of a parrot on the stage so convulsed two of the players that they could not continue. One of them had to turn her back on the audience, her shoulders shaking with silent laughter, and the other, after checking her laughter with the aid of a duster which happened to be in her hand, eventually took the cause of the trouble off the stage.

The Performers.

Although the whole of the well-balanced cast did splendidly, honours must go to Mr. F. Leslie Duck for his natural and convincing interpretation of “Richard Varwell,” the philosophic old ne’er-do-well, who provides much of the humour. His make-up was excellent, his slow and drawling speech was practically flawless, and altogether he gave a memorable performance. Another who reached a high standard, and incidentally, provided a clever comparison was Mr. Wilfrid Sampson, who was ideally chosen to portray “Joe Varwell,” the fierce young Socialist who regards it his bounden duty to right all the wrongs in this sinful world and is not seen to smile until love softens his heart at the last curtain-fall. Mr. Sampson displayed the emotions of this restless young hot-head with considerable force, that showed great improvement on his previous performances.

Mrs. Leo Tompkins met with a great reception as “Jenifer Varwell,” the delightful old lady whose will causes such a flutter in the family dove-cot. Here, too, was another example of excellent make-up, and Mrs. Tompkins acted as though she really were 80. Miss Dorothy Wood competently handled the part of “Mary Varwell,” whose expectations under the old lady’s will are brought to noguht, and Mrs. Alan Cryer and Miss Beckie Collier gave charming interpretations of “Lydia Blake” and “Emma Major” respectively.

The only fault one could find with Mr. Leo Tompkins’ portrayal of the gentlemanly “Thomas Major” was that at times he kept his voice too low. Mr. W. Eric Webb did all that was expected of him as “Arthur Varwell,” and Mr. Cyril Grimes did well as the lawyer. Last, but by no means least, were the Misses Cissie Betts and Joy Duck, who were intensely funny as the twin sisters, whom one instantly dubbed “the Giggling Gerties.” The similarity of their clothing and mannerisms made them appear remarkably alike.

As producer Mrs. F. Leslie Duck received a deserving ovation and a bouquet at the end. Mr. Charles Murrells was stage manager, and members of the society were responsible for the excellent scenery. Incidental music was provided by Messrs. G. Homewood, C. H. Fife, H. Hawes and H. Onley.