An Experimental Evening
(The Hitman & Hands Across the Sea)

by J.C.W. Brook (The Hitman) & Noel Coward (Hands Across the Sea)

directed by Frances Fleming (The Hitman)& Tony Bull (Hands Across the Sea)

Performed at the

Maskers Emsworth Road Studio


26th to 28th January 1995

Welcome to The Maskers Theatre Workshop and to an experimental evening to mark the First Anniversary of our arrival in our new home. Since signing our final contract on Friday 28th January 1994, renovation and alteration of the near derelict building has been (and, indeed, still is) in progress. You might like to contribute a little of your time, energy, expertise and, who knows, some finance to ensure a speedy completion for the project?

The Maskers Theatre Company wish to thank our two new occupants of the director’s chair, Fran Fleming and Tony Bull, whose first-time efforts and experiments with the craft of directing are on view this evening!

"Hands Across the Sea" was also presented on Tuesday 28th March at the Totton Drama Festival


By J.C.W. Brook
Directed by Frances Fleming
Alice Ponder Marion Westbury
George Ponder David Pike
Mr. Romero John Lanasis
Gloria Sarah Walker

A Director’s note:

As a newcomer to the U.K. via the USA and the Netherlands, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to The Maskers for this unique opportunity to see this play come to life. As it is a play which I have only read but thoroughly enjoyed, I would like you, the audience to know, it has been adapted from a radio play broadcast on BBC Radio 4.


By Noel Coward
Directed by Tony Bull
Lady Maureen Gilpin (Piggie) Sarah Humphrey
Commander Peter Gilpin R.N. Ben O'Donohoe
The Hon. Clare Wedderburn Angela Stansbridge
Lieutenant Commander Alistair Corbett R.N. Michael Antram
Major Gosling (Bogey) Ken Spencer
Mr. Wadhurst David Jupp
Mrs. Wadhurst Jan Shrouder
Mr. Burnham Mark Ponsford
Walters Luecy Jukes

A note or two:

Noel Coward wrote the play as a vehicle for Gertrude Lawrence and himself, the inspiration apparently coming from cocktail parties which Lord and Lady Mountbatten used to give. Noel Coward writes: ‘people used to arrive that nobody had ever heard of and sit about and go away again; somebody Dickie had met somewhere or somebody Edwina had met and nobody knew who they were. We talked among ourselves and it really was a very good basis for a light comedy’.

Lord Louis recalls that they were sent six free tickets to the opening night at The Phoenix Theatre: ‘It wasn’t until we got to the second play that we knew why we’d been sent the tickets. It was a bare-faced parody of our lives, with Gertrude Lawrence playing Lady Maureen Gilpin and Noel Coward playing me. Absolutely outrageous and certainly not worth six free tickets!’

With such celebrated local connections what better choice of play to celebrate our first anniversary in our own Theatre Workshop.

For the Maskers
Technical Director Ron Tillyer
Set Design Ken Spencer
Set Construction Roger Lockett
Set Dressing Hazel Burrows
Lighting Clive Weeks, Nathan Weeks, Edward Randall
Sound Lawrie Gee, Bryan Langford
Wardrobe Christine Baker
Properties Ella Lockett
Front-of-House Sheana Carrington
Refreshment Belinda Drew, Michael Patterson
Continuity Anne Frost



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Shirley's own LOCAL theatre!

Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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