Happy Acres

by H Connolly

6th – 8th October 1994

It may be advertised as “A Quality Establishment” but Happy Acres health farm is far from that. The domineering Mrs Comley and her sidekick Sam, the old odd job man, are in charge of the worn out and tired buildings. Sam is running a moonshine whisky still from the garden shed. They both spend their time trying to relieve the clientele of pounds, not from their waists but from their wallets. Mrs Comley, in cahoots with Madame O, the struck-off hypnotist, allow the inmates to indulge in a spot of “harmless hypnotics”. That is until all the booking forms get muddled up and the punters become not quite what they expected! A fast paced, very funny comedy that all the family can enjoy.

acres Prog

The Cast

Mrs Comley: Enid Farr
Sam: Eric Saxton
Madame O: Elizabeth Saxton
Mrs Liddle: Mary Warrington
Mr Liddle: Robertson Bell
Miss Batty: Brenda Prior
Wayne Picker: Paul Plested
Jane Smith: Rebecca Jones
Mr Roberts: Paul Shave

Produced by H Connolly

Newbury Weekly News review

Health Farm Antics

I tend to approach ‘world premieres’ with some trepidation, never knowing quite what to expect. But I needn’t have worried about Happy Acres, performed last week by Compton Players, and written and directed by their resident playwright, H Connolly.

The most striking thing about Mr Connolly’s production was the quality of the plot, which revolves around an assorted group of guests at a rather dubious health farm. Add a few catalytic ingredients: a suspicious wife, an alcohol racket, and a hypnotism session during which the patients’ case notes become mixed up, and the result is a hilarious farce with unexpected consequences. The casting on the whole was excellent. Mary Warrington and Robertson Bell worked extremely well together as the suspicious Mrs Liddle and her sceptical husband. Paul Plested and Rebecca Jones were equally well matched as the younger guests at the farm, and Paul is to be congratulated for his brilliant character transformation following hypnotism. Brenda Prior, as Miss Batty, made an equally impressive change, from shrinking violet with ‘waterworks problems’ to an insatiable nymphomaniac. Eric Saxton brought masterly timing and delivery to the part of Sam, the disgruntled odd-job man, while Enid Farr, as the proprietor Mrs Comley, settled comfortably into the part after a slightly nervous start. Elizabeth Saxton, as the hypnotist Madame O and Paul Shave as Mr Roberts completed a very well-balanced cast.

On the technical side, the production ran seamlessly, thanks to stage manager Nick Roberts and his team, and the solid set added a number of humorous touches to the play.

A very enjoyable evening and a genuinely welcoming group. I look forward to the next ‘premiere.’

MARK LILLYCROP