Look Out For the Catch

by Jean McConnell

28th – 30th October 1971

This comedy is set in the living room of a cottage in a small fishing village in Cornwall; owing to a bad fishing season, a paying guest is taken in for the first time…

The Cast

Dick Pengelly: John Nash
Polly Pengelly: Judy Nash
Jem Burden: Peter Monger
Sarah Trowt: Kate Jones
Petrock Pook: Roger Gray
Doctor Clifford: Sally Reid
Maisie: Mary Herring
Tellam Mably: Ray Stanlake
Alfred Hepworth: John Webster

Produced by Frank Meakins

From the Compton Parish Guide

When the fishing dries up at a Cornish village and a hopeful but ham-fisted time and motion expert arrives for his summer holidays, when the local widow’s number comes up on the Premium Bonds and two old salts become rivals for her hand, the scene is set for a riot. This is the plot of Jean McConnell’s situation comedy Look out for the Catch performed by the Compton Players in the Coronation Hall on October 28th, 29th & 30th.

The Compton Players are now in their twenty-fifth year and, for a small village group, their standards have been extremely high. Look out for the Catch was no exception and their treatment was light, enthusiastic and full of pace. Peter Monger who has run the gamut of parts from juvenile lead to aged butler, was at his best as Uncle Jem, the crusty old sea-dog who is evicted from his room into the attic to make way for the summer visitor. Uncle Jem is the part in the play and Peter Monger exploited the old man’s dry humour to the full. His only and excusable weakness was in that some of the laugh lines were lost in his endeavours to sustain the Cornish accent. John Webster is an accomplished actor: his sense of timing and comedy is superb, he seldom overplays and he is entirely convincing as the business efficiency expert whose attempts to put the fishing community back on its feet usually end in hilarious disaster. John Nash made a personable young husband. This part does not offer many opportunities, but perhaps he should have resisted the temptation to introduce comedy by means of exaggerated facial contortions. His real-life wife, Judy, playing his stage wife, made the best of another unrewarding part and her west-country accent was admirably sustained throughout the play. Kate Jones’ portrayal of the lucky widow was as efficient as ever and Sally Reid’s lady doctor was a well thought out cameo. Roger Gray and Ray Stanlake made convincing fishermen, and young Mary Herring’s small part as Maisie the milkmaid showed a lightness and lack of self-consciousness which augurs well for the future.

Frank Meakins has been producing Compton plays for as long as I can remember. He knows his stage-craft, his standards are high and he can always coax the best from his players: this is what successful amateur dramatics are all about. In this instance he is the first to point out that the production side of this play owes much to his assistant, Molly Gray. If laughter and applause are anything to go by, Frank and Molly make a happy partnership.

The Coronation Hall is not the easiest of places in which to stage a play but, as usual, Bill Evans’ set was solid, bright and well lit. All in all, Look out for the Catch must go down as one of the Compton Players’ better shows.