A Penny for a Song

by John Whiting

directed by Kenneth Spencer

Performed at

Mottisfont Abbey


20th to 28th July 1990

The Cast
Sir Timothy Bellows Graham Buchanan
Hallam Matthews Jim Smith
Edward Sterne Robbie Carnegie
A Small Boy Dominic O'Farrell
Lamprett Bellboys John Souter
Dorcas Bellboys Eleanor Blott
George Selincourt Peter Scrivener
William Humpage David Bartlett
Samuel Breeze Albie Minns
Joseph Brotherhood Kevin Mitchell
James Giddy Chris Benett
Rufus Piggott Graham Hill
Hester Bellboys Philippa Taylor
A Maidservant (Pippin) Hazel Burrows

The Theatre Critic wrote:


An amusing play, well interpreted by good actors, is a successful formula for an entertaining evening at the theatre. Set the production in the grounds of a beautiful house and invite the audience to pack a champagne picnic and it's guaranteed to be a memorable night out. This is exactly what the Maskers Theatre Company does each July when it stages an open-air production at Mottisfont Abbey, near Romsey. And this year has proved to be no exception with "A Penny for a Song" playing to full and enthusiastic houses every night.

Written by the late John Whiting in the years immediately after the Second World War, it is an amusing celebration of English eccentricities, with overtones of "Dad's Army" of the 1939-1945 conflict. The action takes place in the garden of Sir Timothy Bellow's home in Dorset, on a summer's day in 1804. Unhinged by the threat of imminent invasion by the French forces, led by Napolean Bonaparte, Sir Timothy has posted a look-out to keep watch for the enemy. Further disillusioned by the country's lack of defences, he has a hairbrained scheme to defeat the French single-handedly by impersonating Napolean and leading his forces to confusion and damnation. The plan goes hilariously wrong, however, when the local garrison sets up a mock battle with troops landing in fishing boats and hot-air balloons flying in.

Maskers are the leading amateur theatre group in the region and therefore play the piece with all the skill of a professional company. Graham Buchanan portrays the slightly mad Sir Timothy and John Souter his equally bizarre brother, Lamprett. Philippa Taylor is Lamprett's Amazon-like wife, Hester, and Eleanor Blott their beloved daughter, Dorcas. But all are overshadowed by the melancholy antics of Jim Smith who plays the watchman Hallam Matthews, who is marooned on his lofty look-out the entire play {Ed. It was David Bartlett playing William Humpage who spent the show up the watchtower, not Jim!}. Costumes, make-up and props are all equally fine and the whole thing is played on a wonderful set which blends perfectly with the walls of the house to look more like stone than painted hardboard.

For the Maskers
Director Ken Spencer
Technical Director Ron Tillyer
Production Manager Michael Patterson
Stage Manager Belinda Drew
Designer Ken Spencer
Set Construction John Riggs, Geoff Cook, Mike Johnson
Lighting Design Clive Weeks
Lighting Operators Becky Hallam, Stuart Cross, Ali Mountfield
Sound Chris Jones, Pat Sawyer, Tony Lawther
Wardrobe Angela Stansbridge, Mollie Manns
Properties Rob Robinson, Ella Lockett
Wig Hire Showbiz of Southampton
Special Effects Ron Tillyer


The Maskers Theatre Company gratefully acknowledge all those who have helped in this production -- but most especially
John and Barbara Cavanagh of Mottisfont Abbey for their kind co-operation, assistance and forebearance.
Hilliers Nursery of Ampfield for set dressing.



click on a photo to enlarge it

Philippa Taylor as 'Hester Bellboys'

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Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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