His Excellency

by Dorothy and Campbell Christie

24th – 26th January 1963

In this British drama a veteran labourer rises above the turmoil of unionization to become the governor of Salva, an industrial island that finds itself further embroiled in a terrible fight over low pay and terrible working conditions. A strike ensues, but the new governor remembers what it feels like to be an abused worker and so refuses to call out troops to break the strike. He tries to use his experiences on both sides of the fence to mediate between the angry labourers, but it’s to no avail and the governor must make a difficult decision.

excellency prog

The Cast

Lady Kirkman: Margaret Pilkington
Major Charles Hugonin M.C.: Tom Stephens
Fernando: Peter Palfrey
Major-General Alan Copeland: John Smout
Vice-Admiral Sir Oliver Pain-Bartley: Peter Monger
Sir James Kirkman, C.M.G.: Frank Meakins
Captain The Contino Sevastien Jacono De Piero: David Bungard
His Excellency, The Governor: Sandy Walton
Colonel Paul Dobrieda: Andrew Latham
Peggy Harrison: Kate Bailey
Emil Zamario: Chris Baigent

Produced by Andrew Latham

Newbury Weekly News review

Compton Players score in His Excellency

Adverse weather conditions did nothing to detract from people’s determination to see His Excellency, by Dorothy and Campbell Christie, presented by Compton Players in the Compton Village Hall at the week-end as each performance was well supported.

The action takes place in the Governor’s Palace on the island of Salva during the late 1940s and when the scene opens the Military Secretary (Tom Stephens), the G.O.C. Troops (John Smout), the Vice-Admiral (Peter Monger) and the wife (Margaret Pilkington) of the Lieutenant-Governor of Salva are discussing the prospects of the newly-appointed Governor of the isle. How on earth can a man who began life as a stevedore ever hope to make a success as Governor and, as for his young inexperienced daughter, how ever would she cope with the situations such a position was likely to present? However, the integrity and forthrightness of His Excellency, a bold north countryman, encouraged by his charming, yet level-headed daughter, eventually prove that even in the face of strong opposition from his colleagues, his keen insight into the minds of the natives will make him succeed where his predecessors have failed.

The quieter, more placid nature of Frank Meakins as Lieutenant-Governor contrast well with the rumbustious figure of Sandy Walton as His Excellency, while Andrew Latham made a superb Chief of Police. Kate Bailey, as the young daughter, has improved considerably since her first appearance, having gained far more confidence, and Margaret Pilkington was well suited to her part as wife of the Lieutenant-Governor, forever anxious to do the right thing at the right time but not always, however, seeing eye to eye with the Governor’s daughter. As in the past, Peter Monger, Tom Stephens, Peter Palfrey and David Bungard all played their parts well and it was encouraging to note yet two more newcomers to the group, namely John Smout as G.O.C. Troops and Chris Baigent as the Prime Minister.

It was a change from their last three mystery and thriller productions, though audiences were slow at times to appreciate the humour.

Of course, it all worked out, the bold North Country Governor’s integrity and forthrightness succeeding despite colleagues’ opposition.

Behind the scenes, but equally deserving credit were M Holmes, stage manager and sound effects, O Brown, lighting, A Palmer, seating arrangements, V Meakins, wardrobe and make-up and W Evans, scenery.