I Capture the Castle

World premiere.

George Relph was ill for the first two touring weeks so the role of James Mortmain was created by Victor Lucas. Lucas’ designated role, Aubrey Fox-Cotton, was taken by an understudy. (See ‘Chit Chat: Victor Lucas’, The Stage 28th January 1954, page 8.)

Cast & Crew

Cast

Cassandra Mortmain
Ivy Stebbins
James Mortmain
Leda Fox-Cotton
Miss Marcy
Mrs Cotton
Neil Cotton
Rose Mortmain
Simon Cotton
Stephen Colly
The Vicar
Thomas Mortmain
Topaz Mortmain
Aubrey Fox-Cotton
  (started 2nd February 1954)
James Mortmain
  (started 2nd February 1954)

Crew

Decor by
Director
Costumes designed and supervised by
Music specially composed by
Presented in association with

Seen by

Photographs

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Observations

  1. On 5th May 2021 at 5:08 p.m., jwstaber1943 noted:

    My Mother Joan White played Miss Marcy in my forthcoming biography “Rise Above It, Darling,” she wrote the following about rehearsals: Director Murray Macdonald offered her the role of Miss Marcy, the kindly schoolteacher, who tries to sort out the Mortmain family’s finances, in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. The cast included Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Richard Greene, George Relph, and Roger Moore.
    Mother wrote, “Despite a pre-London tour with packed houses wherever we went, the play remained like a well-made car still not firing on all cylinders. On arrival in Southsea, for our final try-out week prior to opening at the Aldwych, Murray called us all together and said he knew of only one man who could pull the show together at short notice — his old friend, Tyrone Guthrie. He felt sure that we would all work furiously together under his direction, and not question any instructions. Guthrie would see the play that evening, call us together in the morning and, throughout the day, introduce his various improvements. Please would we be very patient and co-operative!
    Those of us who had worked with Guthrie, foresaw a highly entertaining day as well as some shrewd amendments. We were not disappointed. He opened the rehearsal.
    ‘If anyone has something to say, say it afterwards! Time is short, and we must press on regardless. All right Dodie?’
    Dodie Smith, a little woman in a huge black mink coat, had opened her mouth to speak but clamped it obediently shut. Meanwhile, Guthrie made Georgina Cookson emerge triumphant from the off-stage fight with a broken chamber pot, which she had supposedly cracked over George Relph’s head.
    Dodie expressed horror.
    Guthrie was always a little too vulgar for Dodie. When Virginia McKenna was requested to pour ‘heel taps’ of sherry back into the decanter, there was almost a riot in the stalls, Dodie hissing dramatically,
    ‘Disgusting, Tony, disgusting! My public will never stand for that.’
    To which Guthrie, drawing himself up to his full six feet six inches, responded,
    ‘Nonsense. Dodie! Judy and I save the sherry like that in our house.’
    Roars of joyous laughter from the cast.”
    Wicked Guthrie! But what a genius of a director! By nightfall, no one dared hold up rehearsals or complain. The following week, March 4, 1954, we opened at the Aldwych to mixed reviews and ran for several months.

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