Edward Alderton Theatre
Days of Wine and Roses
by J P Miller
Directed by Bob Lacey
26 January - 2 February 1980 (7 performances)
The play tells the life-affirming tale of an everyday and seemingly normal American couple who succumb to alcoholism...
Cast Joe Clay Tony Donnelly Kirsten Clay Jill Rafferty Jim Hungerford Steve Marshall Mr Arnesen Alan Rodman Nel Catrina Brown Leland John Schultz Gray Man John Schultz Johnny Franklin John Schultz Scarface Toby Moore Mrs Nolan Maureen Crick Debbie Clay Helen Ayling Trayner Bob Lacey Young Man John Eldred Young Lady Sue Gay Molly Jean Midlane
Crew Stage Manager Pearl Ayling Assistant Stage Manager Chris Milkins Set Design Bob Lacey Lighting Marshall Anderson, Peter Meehan Sound Gary Lacey, Bill Ayling
Slick version of alcoholic marriage
A few of us may have felt a twinge of guilt as we rushed to the bar during the interval of J P Miller's Days of Wine and Roses performed by the Edward Alderton Theatre all this week. There are even pamphlets published by Alcoholics Anonymous available in the foyer to push home the point of the play — that the excessive drinker is so often unaware of the damage he is doing to himself and those around him until it is too late.
Tony Donnelly and Jill Rafferty stumble, giggle and hiccup their way round the stage as Joe and Kirsten Clay, a couple who marry because the bottle is something they have in common. The main victims of their over-indulgence are their daughter Debbie, played by Helen Ayling, and Kirsten's father, played by Alan Rodman. In company with Hungerford, played by Steve Marshall, they try and arrest the pair's slippery slide into the dregs, the father with cash and the offer of work, the AA man with advice and encouragement and the daughter simply by being there.
Director Bob Lacey also marshals the smaller parts with feeling and precision. Precision must be the order of the day for such a play, which was originally designed for television, and has a great number of scene changes and flashbacks. With the limitations this must impose, stage manager Pearl Ayling and the EAT Workshop must be congratulated on a fine and slick presentation.
Days of Wine and Roses continues tonight (Thursday), tomorrow (Friday), and this Saturday, with performances starting at 8pm. Meanwhile, anyone interested in. the group might take the trouble to glance at the Abbey National Building Society in Bexleyheath Broadway where they have a window display.
Kentish Times | 31 January 1980
Life on the bottle flows through the cracks...
Once again, the members of the Edward Alderton Theatre in Bexleyheath have ventured into the realms of adventure. Last week, their latest play Days of Wine and Roses was built around the story of a couple of married alcoholics — one of whom joins Alcoholics Anonymous and succeeds in achieving "sobriety" and one who cannot give up life with the bottle.
The play is made up of numerous short scenes — often only lasting two or three minutes each — and with the help of a busy backstage team, the cast moved hastily from one part of the stage to another. Tony Donnelly and Jill Rafferty, who took the main parts of Joe and Kirsten Clay, pinpoint how the characters' lives as alcoholics destroy their marriage, success and family. They showed how easy it can be for drink to take over — and how hard it is to give it up when it has.
Although the cast, directed by Bob Lacey, performed well in the J P Miller play, the many changes of scene made it rather disjointed and a little slow. But as is the style of the amateur theatre in Brampton Road, the play chosen required hard work, planning and good team work — and was one which is not an easy project for a group of amateurs to undertake. The sheer lack of a large stage and swift scene-changing facilities hindered their task, but the cast and backstage team obviously put in a great deal of time and effort.
If they had the funds to perform Days of Wine and Roses in a more suitably equipped surrounding, then the enthusiasm and talent of the Edward Alderton Theatre members would have made it a roaring success.
Unknown newspaper | February 1980