17th – 19th October 1996
Set in London after Charles II is restored to the throne in 1665, when the plague is at its peak, The House on the Bridge tells the story of Puritan Jonathan Dale and his Royalist business partner; the household is quarantined, resulting in a chilling thriller involving murder, religious obsession and financial greed, under the oppression of the plague.
A Constable of the Watch: Rex Costain
An Old Porter: Mike Long
A Young Porter: Scott Hulme
Mistress Anne Carr, Jonathon’s widowed sister: Brenda Prior
Miss Deborah Carr, her daughter, Jonathon’s niece: Rebecca Jones
Dorcas Hammet, Jonathon’s Housekeeper: Elizabeth Saxton
Tom Rickaby, a servant boy: Philip Miller / Gary Hames / Leon Maltby
Jonathon Dale, A Goldsmith of Cheapside: Robertson Bell
Blind Biddy, A Plague searcher: Mary Warrington
Lady Bullen, Sir Richard’s wife, Pierce’s stepmother: Enid Farr
Sir Richard Bullen, Jonathon’s partner: Ian Hickling
Pierce Bullen, Sir Richard’s Son: Paul Plested
Roger Piper, A Player from Bankside : Mark Bailey
Produced by Eric Saxton
Newbury Weekly News review
A Visual Feast
The Compton Players chose Edward Percy’s The House on the Bridge for their autumn production. Again they set themselves a difficult task but as usual they rose to the occasion and produced an impressive and slick piece of theatre.
Set in 1665 it is a dark tale of religious obsession, greed and murder. The action takes place in the parlour of Jonathan Dale’s house on the east side of London Bridge. It is July, hot, and the plague creeps ever nearer and this sets the scene for the tensions and drama of the play. The producer and designer Eric Saxton created a marvellous visual feast with a stunning set, period costumes and atmospheric lighting all as if inspired by a contemporary painting.
A difficult script with its period colloquialisms was tricky for the cast, but on the whole they kept the action moving along although the play did seem over-long.
Nonetheless everyone was word perfect and Robertson Bell as Jonathan dale was charismatic and impressive in his large and demanding role, as was Elizabeth Saxton as Dorcas Hammet, his mysterious Cornish housekeeper.
Brenda Prior added a light and expert touch with her portrayal of Jonathan’s widowed sister and Rebecca Jones was charming and convincing as his niece. Enid Farr as Lady Bullen was well cast, powerful and elegant in her role. Ian Hickling as Sir Richard Bullen added a touch of class to his role.
Paul Plested as Pierce Bullen brought considerable intensity and presence to his role though his accent did detract slightly. Mark Bailey as Roger Piper added a lively touch as the young theatrical and the other supporting roles all helped to create just the right atmosphere.
The Compton Players brought out the drama of this piece to the full and must be well pleased with their considerable efforts.