1955

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And It Was Odd

A Comedy by Kenneth Horne

Directed by David Beeching

Cast
Morton, a Manservant Stanley Bull
Nurse Jones Dee Beeching
Julia Kemp (Mrs Simmons' younger daughter) Judy Corson
Jane Simmons (Mrs. Simmons' elder daughter) Gwendoline Wedgewood
Frank Kemp (Julia's husband) David Beeching
Margot Kemp (daughter of Frank & Julia) Marjorie Vandervord
Sam Potts (Margot's fiance) Albert Gallop
Mrs. Simmons (a widow) Alex Mailer
Lady Wilson (a friend of Julia) Doris Taylor Smith

Synopsis of Scenes

The entire action takes place at Frank's house in the country.
Act 1. Scene 1. Christmas night, after dinner.
Act 1. Scene 2. About half an hour later.
Act 2. Afternoon, some days later.
Act 3. The same evening after dinner

A woman discovers that her sleeping draught allows her out of body experiences. She has some fun with her ability and also solves family problems.
 
There was some speculation as to whether this play was one and the same as the similarly titled "And This Was Odd" which the Players performed in 1983, or whether the latter was, in fact, a sequel. I am pleased to report that my investigations have solved this little mystery.
 
Kenneth Horne's official website lists a play by the title of "And This Was Odd", having been first performed under the title of "Wasn't It Odd?". It appears therefore that the Players made something of a "gaff" in the publicity ... or maybe the title was just two letters too long to fit on the poster. 
 

David Beeching's second production introduces no less than four new acting members, including his wife, Dee who, I think we are safe to assume, is the lady in the nurse's uniform at the extreme right. Another new face is Albert (Bert) Gallop, identified by Aubrey Sinden as the male on the right (out of the three males). Bert is to become a familiar face over subsequent years, easily identified by his distinctive quiff ... except, of course, in this photo because he is looking the wrong way.

The gentleman on the extreme left must be Stanley Bull (the manservant), which leaves David Beeching as the slightly startled looking male in the centre. Comparing this against the photograph of the previous production, I wouldn't have recognised DB instantly, but then it is rather difficult under a hat like that.

Other than the afore-mentioned Dee Beeching, the ladies are more difficult to identify. Both Alex Mailer and Doris Taylor Smith should feature in both pictures, but the quality is not good enough to make a positive identification. The cast list in this instance is of little help because, when you study it, you will see that Alex Mailer purports to be Marjorie Vanderford's grandmother, and I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I can't see a three generation age gap between any of these ladies*. I guess that the Players suffered from the perennial problem of attracting a broad spread of ages.

*Note - the author of these notes has more sense than to attempt to guess the age of a lady, but if pressed to do so, will always err on the side of caution and give an unrealistically low estimate.

Since writing the above notes, I have become much more familiar with the script, having decided to resurrect this play for our Autumn 2012 production. This now enables me to positively identify Mrs. Simmons (Alex Mailer) as the lady with the walking stick (standing next to the nurse). The body language of the lady with her back to Sam (Albert Gallop) suggests that this is Margot (Marjorie Vandervord) ... the two of them have had something of a lovers' tiff.
This just leaves the two ladies either side of Frank (David Beeching) to identify. One is his wife, and the other his spinster sister in law. I don't know about you, but I reckon the one on the right looks the spinster type (therefore Gwendoline Wedgewood as Jane) so the one on the left must be Julia (Judy Corson), who must have been incredibly young when she gave birth to Margot.