Theatre Play – West Sussex Gazette – Thursday, 25 December 1958
Transcript:

NATIVITY PLAY - The cast and producer of the combined Sldlesham and Selsey Churches Christmas play, who by tradition remain anonymous, must be congratulated on a worthwhile attempt to put on a Nativity play with a difference at the Pavilion Theatre, Selsey, last week. The play chosen, "The Cradle of Willow" by Dorothy Wright, is a modern poetic drama in the tradition of T. S. Elliot and Dorothy Sayers, which involves little action on the part of the cast and relies for its effects very largely on the spoken word. Set In a basketmaker's shop at the edge of the fens, it follows the reactions of a group of people whom the Gospels fail to mention, to the miracle of the birth of Christ in the stable of their village inn. To bring out the Impact of a play of this type without the help of action requires acting ability of a very high order, and It was not entirely surprising, therefore, that this Impact was not always fully achieved. Martin, the blind basketmaker. Will Breague, the apprentice, and Tansy Clampett, the innkeeper's daughter. must be particularly commended for the success of the scene in the last act In which Martin announces the miracles, both of the birth of the Messiah and of his own cured blindness. This was Indeed an achievement. The fact that the cast had only one opportunity to rehearse in the Pavilion, which Is considerably larger than the Church Hall where the majority of the rehearsals took place, must be held largely responsible for the fact that the earlier scenes were not always so convincing. A religious drama of this type requires the emotional Involvement of the audience. and a smaller stage and a more compact audience would have helped to achieve this

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