Dandy Dick

Date 7th June 2022
Society Chatsworth Players
Venue Chatsworth House Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director Lindsay Jackson
Written By Sir Arthur Wing Pinero


Author: Joyce Handbury

Dandy Dick is a three Act farce written by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero in 1887. In the programme there was a most interesting and extensive account of his life including the fact that his play 'The Money Spinner' was chosen to open the newly converted Chatsworth Theatre in 1896 and coincidently that play had a theme of betting which is also the theme in Dandy Dick. The play takes place over two days in 1887 and focuses on a pious Dean who in a rash moment promised to give £1000 towards the restoration of the church spire. When all his plans fail he is persuaded to bet his savings on a horse running at a local race track. The stage is quite small and around the back and sides of it black cloths were hung with openings used for exits and entrances into the drawing room at The Deanery at St.Marvells, which was extremely well furnished. Scene 1 in Act 3 took place at the local Police Station, again with appropriate furnishings, and to one side there was a door with a hatch in it which, when opened, revealed a metal grill for the cell mates to be observed.  Simon Brister was absolutely fantastic and totally convincing as the Dean, Augustin Jedd. He exquisitely captured every nuance of the character including the humour, his sanctimonious pomposity,his air of respectability and his 'asides' were so brilliantly and animatedly delivered. A truly exceptional and formidable portrayal. Sally Shaw gave an outrageosly spirited and wonderful depiction of the widowed sister of the Dean, Mrs Georgiana Tidman. Her whole life revolved around horses and who, it transpired, owned half of Dandy Dick, a race horse. She flamboyantly dashed around the stage with such a strident and overwhelming demeanour that there was no doubting her ability to achieve and persuade the Dean to place a bet on Dandy Dick. The other half owner of Dandy Dick, who just happened to visit, was Sir Tristram Mardon, and old college friend of the Dean. Chris Rooke, who only recently took on this role, was so over the top, his whole characterisation was splendidly flashy and roguishly portrayed and his connivances with Geogiana were hilarious. Both Alicia Bloundele as Miss Salome Jedd and Leanne Bradwell as Miss Sheba Jedd were excellent. They were so well spoken and so delightfully enchanting and charming in their respective roles. Their 'butter wouldn't melt in their mouths' approach whilst trying to wheedle money out of their father to pay the bill for fancy dress outfits and also the plotting to meet two Hussars stationed nearby, were so captivatingly accomplished. Another fine performance came from Anthony Gill who gave a well disciplined and understated performance as the Butler, Edward Blore. He was an absolute hoot with his lopsided gait, his nodding head, his doleful and sullen attitude and his cryptic asides to the audience. However, all the time he was sneakily looking for and taking the opportunity to 'feather his own nest' as it were. Danny Washington as Mr.Nugent Darbey and Will Starling as Major Gerald Tarver were splendid as the resplendent somewhat doltish suitor Hussars and Charlotte Cooper excelled as Mrs Hannah Topping, wife of local policeman Noah Topping. Peter Wilmot gave a truly first rate portrayal as PC Topping. I just loved everything about his hilarious portrayal, from his accent, his jealous outbursts to his 'I'm in charge' attitude. Good support came from Ashley Bainbridge as the stable hand. Good lighting together with sumptuous costumes, very much in keeping with the era, this production was a wonderful evening of pure entertainment with superb acting and carried out in such an opulent setting, so very much in keeping with the time of the setting of the play. Congratulations to Lindsay Jackson, the Director, to the excellent cast, to all the Backstage Assistants and to everyone involved in this superb production and thank you Lindsay, for your very warm welcome.