Harrow County School for Boys

Busman's Honeymoon

After a lapse of two years the Dramatic Society made a welcome return to School life with a production of Dorothy L. Sayers' "Busman's Honeymoon" in the third week of the Summer Term.  Making no claims to artistic merit or inspired dialogue, the play is a neat and amusing, if somewhat improbably, murder-mystery, with a legacy for the motive of the crime.  Whilst suspicion falls in turn on various members of the cast, a newly-wed Lord Peter Wimsey, feeling - and looking - twenty years younger, eventually solves the murder.

In "Busman's Hpliday" the cast proved themselves equal to the high standard set by past members of the Society, though only Hugh Probyn had appeared in a previous production.  As the verse-misquoting Superintendant Kirk, Probyn gave an excellent performance, with a good command of facial and vocal expression.   Experience of the stage was similarly evident in the extremely sensitive portrait of Miss Twitterton by Audrey Farrow, who continued to act at all times, whether speaking or not, and who skilfully "gagged over" the few momentary "dry-ups" which occurred.  In the part of Lord Peter Wimsey, Michael Bristow did not quite succeed in conveying th character of a man who concealed an analytical mind by witty and superficial conversation.  His words tended to be recited rather than felt.   Nadia Turnidge as Lord Peter's wife, Harriet, gave a light performance though one wondered whether such a person would be a capable author of good detective fiction.

Excellent performance in minor roles were given by Anthony Pitman as the mercenery Mr. MacBride, and Gordon Catto as the murderer, Frank Crutchley, a portrayal which had real development of character.  David Hollier a sthe Rev. Simon Goodacre; Anthony Hodge, who as Puffett, remained surprisingly clean in spite of his sojourn in a chimney choked with "nothin' but sutt"; Miss Anne Jones, Michael Jones and Geoffrey Norman all gave good suporting performances.  The whole play was bonded into a smooth and lively presentation by Mr. Snowdon's able production.

For the stage designer "Busman's Honeymoon" sets a unique problem, requiring him to furnish an attractive room in very bad taste.  Quite obviously it must be made apparent the lack of taste is not on the part of the designer, and in his stage setting Kenneth Spedding, though missing an opportunity for malicious humour, did an excellent job.


Paul H. Oliver

Gaytonian July 1952

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