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Man Alive: June 1992

By John Dighton

'Man Alive' programme cover

Newspaper review

Plenty of humour, romance from shop window dummy

The story of a shop window dummy becoming flesh and blood is ripe for romance and comedy as the film Mannequin proved. Sheringham Players' production of John Dighton's Man Alive is just as entertaining.

In the stage version it is the man who comes to life, waxes lyrical and melts the hearts of the women he woos.

Tim Travers' arresting performance as Waldorf the dummy exploits the wide-eyed naivety of someone just born into a strange world. The pace of the plot and witty script that gel the play together take no prisoners, and - bar a few first night overlaps and forgotten lines - the chain of supporting characters has few weak links.

Mike Thame is excellent as the blustering store owner, whose January sales are disrupted by the mannequin charade. Sandy Roper is superb as dreamy Daphne the shop girl, as even her vivid imagination is surpassed by the turn of events.

Joyce Harvey - as the prim and prickly buyer Miss Yates - and sturdy store detective Oakshott (Peggy Francis) both fall to Waldorf s winning ways. Gerald Fisher splutters splendidly as an artery-bursting window dresser, Mr Wembley, and Paul Clarke keeps the momentum going as his well-meaning apprentice.

Fellow dummies Belgravia (Rosemary Curtis) and Jubilee (Pauline Page) do not move a muscle all night. But the timing and wry delivery of their lines adds an extra dimension to the play, with their cruel observations on human life.

There are some neat cameo parts too — the best of them Elizabeth Williams as Miss Adshead, but Julie Thompson's pouting, hip-swinging portrayal of a sexy secretary seemed a little over the top at times.

Producer June Cooper seeks perfection. Though the opening night was a degree short of that, the play is hugely enjoyable. The show runs until Saturday.

Richard Batson


Scroll down for photos, cast and crew.

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Cast Backstage
Waldorf: Tim Travers Producer: June Cooper
Belgravia: Rosemary Curtis Stage Manager: Tony Chadwick
George Ingle: Paul Clarke Assistant: Clive Rayment
Daphne Jameson: Sandy Roper Prompt: Kate Smallbone
Miss Yates: Joyce Harvey Costumes: Joan Spall
Oakshott: Peggy Francis Props: Julie Thompson, Emma Pigott
Jubilee: Pauline Page Photos: Ben Britton
Mr. Wembley:  Gerald Fisher
Mr. Hathaway: Mike Thame
The Doorman:  George Edwards
Fred: Richard Shepherd
Miss Butterworth: Julie Thompson
Miss Adshead: Elizabeth Williams
Police Commissioner: Graham Blyth
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