The Man Who Came To Dinner (1991)

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Poster by Poster Designer

by George S Kaufman & Moss Hart

Directed & Designed by Alan Buckman

Performances: Mon 1st – Sat 6th July 1991, Bell Theatre


Scene: The home of Mr and Mrs Stanley, in a small town in Ohio. December 1939.




'Accept this dinner date.' by Donald Madgwick 'The July production by SLTC at the Bell Theatre this week, is George S Kaufman and Moss Hart's The Man Who Came To Dinner. The dinner guest is the notoriously rude critic and broadcaster, Sheridan Whiteside, said to be based on Alexander Woollcott, who actually played him in New York. At SLTC, he is played by Leslie Lidyard, who, being confined to a wheelchair throughout the play, is able to leave all the movement to others while he himself causes it. Directed by Alan Buckman, the action is fast and lively, but some of the portrayals need more inner energy to sustain them. Leslie Lidyard himself cleverly rings the changes on the contradictory aspects of Whiteside's personality, hectoring and arrogant with his reluctant hosts, warm and even sentimental with his intimates. Maggie Cearns plays the secretary on whom he is dependent, and by the sympathy of her performance, establishes a bridge of understanding between him and the audience. The whirl of activity goes on elsewhere while she quietly gets on with organising things on the great man's behalf. The high spot of the production is a splendid little performance in the middle act by Alan Buckman as the Noel Coward figure, Beverly Carlton, with fastidiously clipped tones and a wicked line in impersonation. Kait Feeney also proves to be something of a scene stealer as Sarah the cook (shades of the panto season here) who brings a dynamic charge to what is little more than a cameo role. Emma Kilbey vamps it up as the actress, Lorraine Sheldon, but I do wish she would avoid making her telephone conversations sound like monologues, since they depend on some hard talking at the other end. John Hartnett is the debonair newspaperman, Ben Jefferson, insinuating himself into the Whiteside entourage with great charm. Stephen Pitt is the blustering host, Mr Stanley, a small town big shot, and Elizabeth Hansford is his simpering, starstruck wife.' Croydon Advertiser 5th July 1991


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