Hobson’s Choice

Date 3rd May 2013
Society Westovian Theatre Society
Venue Pier Pavilion, South Shields
Type of Production Play
Director Denver Codling


Author: Gordon Richardson

This classic play was brought to life at the Pier Pavilion by the Westovian Theatre Society with some exemplary performances. Set in a Lancashire shoe shop in the late 19th century, the drunken Hobson (Frank Ditchburn) expected, nay demanded, that his three daughters worked to his standards and his times, and treated them as no more than unpaid skivvies without adding any input into the shop himself.  His eldest daughter, Maggie (Corinne Kilvington), in her early 30’s (and ‘un-wed-able’ according to her father) had other ideas.  Inheriting her father’s ruthless stubborn streak, she recognised the potential of the footwear emporium and its lead shoe maker, the timid and low-esteemed Will Mossup (Ian Reah).  In an effort to arrange her future prosperity, if not her future happiness, she tells the aghast Will that she intends to marry him to set up a shoe shop in opposition to her father and take his customers with her.

Engaging her sisters in her scheme she manages to trick her father into giving a dowry for Alice (Jesse Pye) and Vickey (Gemma Crosslea) in their marriages to Albert Prosser (James Barton) and Fred Beenstock (Andrew Shutt) respectively. Supporting roles helping keep up the pace and believability of the story included Mrs Hepworth (Carrie Wilson), Tubby Wadlow (Bill Marsden), Jim Heeler (Alan Howe), Ada Figgins (Miriam Beber) and Dr.MacFarlane (Peter Calvert).

The onstage battle of wills between Maggie and Hobson were a master-class in acting as the ‘driven by a purpose’ Maggie finally wore down her father into accepting his former ‘boot boy’ Will as a partner.  No less so was the tour-de-force performance given by Ian Reah, as Will, as he transformed from shy boot boy into business partner and emporium owner to whom Maggie, as his wife, deferred.
This was drama at its best – well done Westovians