The Heiress

by Ruth and Augustus Goetz | Directed by Stephen Bennett | Performed November 2018

An enjoyable, powerful play, that has deft touches of humour.

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Legacy play for New Era

Forty years on, company celebrate by returning to first production

New Era Players: The Heiress, at New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from November 28 to December 1 ND Tuesday, December 4, to Saturday, December 8

Forty years ago, New Era Players performed The Heiress as the first full-length play in their friendly small theatre and it proved an inspired choice. Based on the 1880 novel Washington Square by Henry James, the play, an adaptation by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, provides opportunities for set builders and the wardrobe team to show their talents. In this production both did an excellent job.

The story is set in the New York household of Dr Sloper (Keith Keer), a man embittered by the loss of his wife, who died giving birth to Catherine (Pippa Higgins). Sloper is cold to his daughter, who therefore regards herself as unattractive and of no consequence.

When her Aunt Elizabeth (Sue Keer) brings daughter Marian and fiancé Arthur (the lively Vikki Goldsmith and a rather quiet Charlie Wolfenden) to see her brother and his daughter, they have with them Arthur’s brother, the handsome Morris Townsend (Patrick Lintin).

Morris subjects the insecure Catherine to a barrage of praise over the next few weeks to such effect that she agrees to marry him. Her father, suspicious that Townsend is only out for his daughter’s inheritance, refuses his permission. Is he right?

As the play continues and Catherine is jilted, it seems so, but then Morris returns, vowing undying love and again Catherine agrees to marry him. Is this wise?

I will not tell you the outcome, for there are more performances to come after the publication of this review. What I can say is that this is an enjoyable, powerful play, that has deft touches of humour. As Catherine, Higgins was superb and this was an outstanding performance. She was closely followed in excellence by Keer as her callous father. After a slightly nervous start, he grew into the part, becoming totally believable, as was Lintin playing Catherine’s self-assured, over-loud suitor.

Marie Jacobs, who played Catherine in that long-ago production, now cleverly brings a touch of scattiness to the role of Catherine’s Aunt Lavinia and I especially liked Keer as her sister Elizabeth, while Georgie Gale as Townsend’s sister and Karen Ashby as Maria, the doctor’s housekeeper, gave good supporting performances.

This tale of love and money, directed by Stephen Bennett, with an excellent cast, is a good opener to the next 40 years for this talented, hardworking, enthusiastic company.
Congratulations.

CAROLINE FRANKLIN

Cast

Catherine Sloper – Pippa Higgins
Dr Sloper – Keith Keer
Morris Townsend – Patrick Lintin
Mrs Penniman – Marie Jacobs
Mrs Almond – Sue Keer
Mrs Montgomery – Georgie Gale
Marian Almond – Vikki Goldsmith
Maria – Karen Ashby
Arthur Townsend – Charlie Wolfenden

Crew

Director – Stephen Bennett
Stage Manager – Janet Bennett, Jane Read
Lighting / Sound – John Cordery, Alexander Greenwood-Forkin
Prompt – Janet Bennett
Set – Jeff Scrivener, Nigel Winter, Sally Scrivener
Costumes – Maddy Winter, Brenda Agutter, Ali Dewdney, Julia Calvert, Lisa Harrington, Karen Ashby, Marie Jacobs
Props – Jane Read
Front of House – Vikki Goldsmith
Publicity – Graham Salter
Box Office – Stephen Bennett
Programme – Editor Webb

The Tony award-winning play The Heiress, was the first full length play put on by New Era Players in our Wash Common theatre, 40 years ago. Written by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, it is based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James. It is set in 19th century New York and revolves around the wealthy Sloper family who live in the much sought- after New York address of Washington Square, New York.

The story has at its heart the character of Catherine, the heiress of the title, who has money of her own and will inherit another fortune on her father’s death. She is an awkward, socially inept young woman who would seemingly be resigned to remaining single at a time when all young women are actively pursuing a good husband. She meets Morris early on in the play; a charming, articulate young man who persuades her that he has fallen for her and wishes to marry her. Catherine of course is overjoyed but her father, Dr Sloper, has concerns about Morris and his intentions. The rest of the story spans 2 years and is concerned with the tensions and problems that arise between these 3 characters because of how they and the audience respond to the character of Morris.

The tensions are lightened at times by the actions and meddling of Catherine’s aunt, Mrs Penniman, who is desperate for the relationship between Catherine and Morris to work. We are very lucky to have a link back to our original production in Marie Jacobs, who played Catherine 40 years ago and is playing Mrs Penniman in this production.

Is it possible to combine wealth and love?

Legacy play for New Era

Forty years on, company celebrate by returning to first production

New Era Players: The Heiress, at New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from November 28 to December 1 ND Tuesday, December 4, to Saturday, December 8

Forty years ago, New Era Players performed The Heiress as the first full-length play in their friendly small theatre and it proved an inspired choice. Based on the 1880 novel Washington Square by Henry James, the play, an adaptation by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, provides opportunities for set builders and the wardrobe team to show their talents. In this production both did an excellent job.

The story is set in the New York household of Dr Sloper (Keith Keer), a man embittered by the loss of his wife, who died giving birth to Catherine (Pippa Higgins). Sloper is cold to his daughter, who therefore regards herself as unattractive and of no consequence.

When her Aunt Elizabeth (Sue Keer) brings daughter Marian and fiancé Arthur (the lively Vikki Goldsmith and a rather quiet Charlie Wolfenden) to see her brother and his daughter, they have with them Arthur’s brother, the handsome Morris Townsend (Patrick Lintin).

Morris subjects the insecure Catherine to a barrage of praise over the next few weeks to such effect that she agrees to marry him. Her father, suspicious that Townsend is only out for his daughter’s inheritance, refuses his permission. Is he right?

As the play continues and Catherine is jilted, it seems so, but then Morris returns, vowing undying love and again Catherine agrees to marry him. Is this wise?

I will not tell you the outcome, for there are more performances to come after the publication of this review. What I can say is that this is an enjoyable, powerful play, that has deft touches of humour. As Catherine, Higgins was superb and this was an outstanding performance. She was closely followed in excellence by Keer as her callous father. After a slightly nervous start, he grew into the part, becoming totally believable, as was Lintin playing Catherine’s self-assured, over-loud suitor.

Marie Jacobs, who played Catherine in that long-ago production, now cleverly brings a touch of scattiness to the role of Catherine’s Aunt Lavinia and I especially liked Keer as her sister Elizabeth, while Georgie Gale as Townsend’s sister and Karen Ashby as Maria, the doctor’s housekeeper, gave good supporting performances.

This tale of love and money, directed by Stephen Bennett, with an excellent cast, is a good opener to the next 40 years for this talented, hardworking, enthusiastic company.
Congratulations.

CAROLINE FRANKLIN

Cast

Catherine Sloper – Pippa Higgins
Dr Sloper – Keith Keer
Morris Townsend – Patrick Lintin
Mrs Penniman – Marie Jacobs
Mrs Almond – Sue Keer
Mrs Montgomery – Georgie Gale
Marian Almond – Vikki Goldsmith
Maria – Karen Ashby
Arthur Townsend – Charlie Wolfenden

Crew

Director – Stephen Bennett
Stage Manager – Janet Bennett, Jane Read
Lighting / Sound – John Cordery, Alexander Greenwood-Forkin
Prompt – Janet Bennett
Set – Jeff Scrivener, Nigel Winter, Sally Scrivener
Costumes – Maddy Winter, Brenda Agutter, Ali Dewdney, Julia Calvert, Lisa Harrington, Karen Ashby, Marie Jacobs
Props – Jane Read
Front of House – Vikki Goldsmith
Publicity – Graham Salter
Box Office – Stephen Bennett
Programme – Editor Webb

The Tony award-winning play The Heiress, was the first full length play put on by New Era Players in our Wash Common theatre, 40 years ago. Written by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, it is based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James. It is set in 19th century New York and revolves around the wealthy Sloper family who live in the much sought- after New York address of Washington Square, New York.

The story has at its heart the character of Catherine, the heiress of the title, who has money of her own and will inherit another fortune on her father’s death. She is an awkward, socially inept young woman who would seemingly be resigned to remaining single at a time when all young women are actively pursuing a good husband. She meets Morris early on in the play; a charming, articulate young man who persuades her that he has fallen for her and wishes to marry her. Catherine of course is overjoyed but her father, Dr Sloper, has concerns about Morris and his intentions. The rest of the story spans 2 years and is concerned with the tensions and problems that arise between these 3 characters because of how they and the audience respond to the character of Morris.

The tensions are lightened at times by the actions and meddling of Catherine’s aunt, Mrs Penniman, who is desperate for the relationship between Catherine and Morris to work. We are very lucky to have a link back to our original production in Marie Jacobs, who played Catherine 40 years ago and is playing Mrs Penniman in this production.

Is it possible to combine wealth and love?

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