The House on the Cliff

by George Baston

19th – 21st October 1978

A thriller involving a body on the beach, a paralysed hysteric, a detective as a nurse and murderous impersonator…

house cliff prog

The Cast

Karen: Marjorie Treacher
Doctor Lane: David Baird
Ellen Clayton: Celia Bartholomew
Jenny: Pauline Hall
Nurse Pepper: Marilyn Barrell
Corey Phillips: Roger Gray

Produced by Eric Saxton

Newbury Weekly News Review

An incredible story but good entertainment

Even though Compton players did not manage to repeat their record bookings for their latest production The House on the Cliff they nonetheless managed to send their audience away looking very happy.

George Batson’s thriller also has a good deal of comedy in it, and since it is one of those rather incredible stories which depend to a certain extent on secret passages, and mysterious people coming up apparently out of the sea, no one in the audience need become too much involved with the well-being of any particular character, but can maintain some detachment.

This production by Eric Saxton was fast-moving and full of humour. Perhaps the best role in the whole play that of Nurse Pepper who comes to Cliff House to tend the chairbound young woman who has been paralysed ever since a car crash in which her father was killed. By some odd quirk – (I am sure it is a flaw in the play!) – her father’s estate goes entirely to her, leaving her young stepmother dependent on her.

Even before her arrival it is very clear that no one, except possibly the stepmother and the doctor, want her to come, and it is a tribute to Nurse Pepper’s personality that she wins over the confidence and friendship of her young charge, an withstands the determined hostility of the housekeeper. Marilyn Barrell brought a great deal of spirit and vigour to this role and was responsible for a great deal of the humour of the play, which came over very well.

Celia Bartholomew, a newcomer, played the exacting role of the young patient, clearly demonstrating her frustration and exasperation at her helpless condition; while Pauline Hall portrayed a most sinister and unsmiling housekeeper.

Marjorie Treacher preserved an icy aloofness as the stepmother, and with David Baird as the “old” doctor, succeeded in drawing suspicion on the two of them, although for a time we were uncertain as to just what crime, if any, had been committed!

Indeed at the interval there were great discussions as to “whodunit” and what “who” had done! In the best traditions of this type of play, the villain when unmasked, proved to be the one person on whom no suspicion had fallen, none other than the young doctor, played by Roger Gray.
This was a very light-hearted, if somewhat lightweight, entertainment, and was very well received by the audience. Certainly it was all good clean fun and totally suitable for the family audience of very mixed age-groups which it attracted.