The Cottage Players were responsible for arranging a most enjoyable evening of drama, interspersed with lighter entertainment, at St. Mary Cray Village Hall on Thursday evening last week. The proceeds were in aid of the local Unemployment (Provision of Work) Scheme.

The programme opened with J. J. Bell’s one-act thriller, “Thread o’ Scarlet,” cleverly performed by the Old Bromleians’ Dramatic Society. The incidents in the bar parlour of an old country inn, following the hanging of an innocent man for murder, were most interestingly presented, and if the storm effects were not quite realistic—no doubt there were difficulties in this connection through the one set of scenery being used throughout the evening—the capable characterisations succeeded in holding the attention of the audience until the dramatic climax.

Unfortunately, the producer, Mr. F. W. L. Hulk, was taken ill and was unable to take his part, but Mr. Albert Jackson stepped in at short notice, and, with a re-arrangement of the parts, the acting all through was most convincing. Mr. L. A. T. Moss was the nervy landlord, Mr. Eric W. Dinsdale, Mr. George Bartholomew and Mr. Alec J. Carter were the village tradesmen—the latter giving a dramatic study as the real murderer, tortured by conscience—and Mr. Laurence Humphreys was the traveller.


The Cottage Players are to be congratulated on tackling the none too easy play, “Michael,” adapted from Tolstoy by Miles Malleson. The portrayal of life in a poor Russian home is difficult, and the introduction of three children, while adding to the “pleasantness,” so far as the audience is concerned, must add to the labours of the producer. In this respect, however, as in many others, the Players were successful, for the children acted with a charm and lack of self-consciousness which was most effective. Cyril FitzGerald and Dorothy FitzGerald acted in a simple, sincere manner as the poor shoemaker and his wife, and Brenda FitzGerald was natural as their daughter. (Was this a real family affair?) William Collier (a Russian noble) and aMarion Morum were adequate in small parts, and Rhoda Waite was impressive as the woman who robbed of her own child, expends her mother-love on two adopted children (Ann Waite and Doris Bulgin). An air of mystery was created by Beckie Collier (Michael), the fallen angel in search of three truths. Her silence during the first two scenes was most impressive, and her final speech, beautifully spoken, put the seal of success on the play.

Miss P. Rees is to be complimented on her production. Miss Brenda FitzGerald presented her with a bouquet on behalf of the players.


The enjoyment of the programme was enhanced by the dancing interludes by the clever pupils of the Rene School of Dancing. The children taking part in various numbers were Josephine Day (a remarkably versatile and promising dancer), M. Ward-Miller, Winnie Webber, Josephine Reynolds, Betty Wood, Margaret Smalley, Joan Oliver and M. Sweatman, and Freddy Reynols sang “Roll along, covered wagon,” supported by M. French, M. Goodfellow, and J. Oliver.

Miss D. Hayes sang four songs in a delightful manner, Mr. George White sang a popular chorus song, Mr. W. Weeden contributed a pianoforte solo, Mr. C. Fife played violin and piano accordian solos, and Mr. Saunders and Miss Beckie Collier acted as accompanists.

During an interval, Captain W. O. H. Joynson, J.P., chairman of the Provision of Work Scheme, thanked the organisers of the concert and the audience for their support. He spoke of the aims of the scheme, and of what had already been achieved, and appealed for contributions or offers of work, so that its beneficial service could be maintained as long as it was needed.

We understand that the scheme will benefit by over £10 as a result of this effort.