Enjoy

by Alan Bennett

Enjoy had 4 performances over 7 years ago (between the 9th of April 2014 and the 12th of April 2014) at The Riverhouse Barn

172nd Production One of Alan Bennett’s early works (1980) this interesting play is rarely performed but did have a recent West End revival and national tour in 2008/9 with Alison Steadman and David Troughton in the leads as Connie (Mam) and Wilfred Craven (Dad).

The play is set in a back to back house in the north of England. The occupants of the house are visited by a sociologist from the council because their neighbourhood is shortly to be demolished and Mam and Dad are to be moved into new council accommodation.

However, things are definitely not what they seem and the sociologist, Ms Craig, turns out to be their absent son, Terry, dressed as a woman. The variety of other ‘observers’ are there to assess whether the house and its occupants can be moved to an open air museum with a view to preserving the social structure of a traditional community.

This is an intriguing, dark comedy full of social commentary which explores human relationships and sexuality. The play may have been a bit ahead of its time when first produced but in a day and age where reality TV shows are all the rage this play is as relevant today as it was back in the 1980s; maybe more so. The intimacy of an ‘in the round’ setting in the Riverhouse Barn will hopefully make the audience feel as if they too are among the watchers/observers and may even provide our audience with the feeling that they are part of our own darkly comic version of ‘Big Brother’.

The main characters embark on a journey of discovery throughout the play and completely transform into their new selves and lives at the end. The main parts are undertaken by Mam, Dad, daughter Linda and Terry, but there is an interesting array of cameo characters which inhabit this world, making a total of 13 available parts (3 non-speaking) with a variety of age ranges.

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Wilfred Craven (Dad) – plays 60-ish - Paul Foster

Retired victim of a hit and run accident which has left him with a steel plate in his head and no feeling in one arm, Dad is often described as ‘unclean’ by Mam, a fitting description for this somewhat unsavoury character. Unlike Mam he is looking forward to the move to the new maisonette and talks about the new opportunities this will bring. Dad has a complicated relationship with both of his children; besotted by Linda and estranged from his gay son, Terry. During the course of the play Dad has two seizures neither of which prove fatal but by the end of the play Dad is completely paralyzed from the neck down.

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Connie Craven (Mam) – plays 60-ish - Anne Nunn

House-proud Mam has been married to Dad for 25 years. Forever forgetful she classifies people as clean and unclean referencing both body and mind. Mam loves to sing, especially the greatest hits of Ivor Novello, and believes that she could have been a professional singer. Mam does not wish to leave her old life in the ‘slums’ to live in the new maisonette and is visibly upset by this. In a strange twist of fate when offered the chance to live her old life in a new location it is her who embraces this change and undergoes the largest transformation looking forward to a future immersed in the past.

Original

Ms Craig (Terry ) – 20-30-ish - Nick Lund

Cambridge educated sociologist, Ms Craig is most obviously a man dressed believably as a women. Ms Craig has been sent to observe Mam and Dad by the council’s social housing project. She is not allowed to interact or interfere with anything which happens to them during the play and at times is visibly uncomfortable which becomes even more apparent when we realise that Ms Craig is the Craven’s estranged son, Terry. Ms Craig’s presence is seen and felt throughout almost all of the play and he/she has a wonderful monologue at the end of act one describing the detritus of everyday life accumulated on the Craven’s mantelpiece along with some touching exchanges in act two with Mam.

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Linda Craven – 20-30-ish - Anna Beuden

Apple of Dad’s eye, Linda is far from the globe-trotting ‘Person Secretary’ that Dad would like us to believe. Linda is quite frankly a ‘tart‘ and lives up to that title. Between clients, unromantic encounters and posing for dubious photographs she is always looking for a way out. Although Linda doesn’t really seem to have an emotional attachment to her home or any of her immediate family we are aware that, despite outwards appearances, there is an air of underlying vulnerability about her and she is very much a victim of her circumstances.

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Heritage – 30-40-ish (appears in Act 1) and Rowland (appears in Act 2 non-speaking) - Graham Collier

Described in the text as a ‘handsome brute’ Heritage is the chauffeur of an impressive Rolls Royce, complete with cocktail cabinet. Heritage gets up close and personal with Linda whilst being observed by Ms Craig. This only serves to add to their ardour which is cut short by Linda who abruptly changes her mind much to Heritage’s annoyance.

Rowland is part of Harman’s wider team.

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Anthony – young/16ish (appears in Act 1) - Josh Coombes

Described in the text as having a ”young, wheedling and intimidating” voice and usually seen sporting outrageously dyed hair, Anthony is apparently one of the few people who is behaving normally whilst under observation. Refers to Dad as ‘Granddad’, although we are assured by Dad this isn’t actually the case, they appear to have a close relationship and share common interests which include looking at dirty magazines. Anthony represents the heterosexual boisterous son that Dad would like to have had.

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Mrs Clegg – 50-60-ish (appears in Act 2) - Faith Powell

The Craven’s next door neighbour Mrs Clegg is a woman of a similar age who holds some pretentions to refinement. She believes she is one of those dying breed of capable women who can turn their hand to almost anything from delivering a baby to administering an enema should the need arise. This is comically demonstrated when she is called upon to assist Mam following Dad’s suddenly collapse. She too is part of the study and has her own observer (Adrian) although we learn that her behaviour is far from normal as she has suddenly taken up baking.

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Sid – middle aged (appears in Act 2) - Ian Thomas

Sid is one of Linda’s clients and is brought into the house “to see her bedroom”. Sid comes across as a nice sort of chap and we learn that his wife is an invalid.

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Harman – 30-40-ish (appears in Act 2) - Ian Creese

More used to working with South American tribes in the Amazon rainforest, Harman has transferred his anthropological skills to the urban jungle as the project co-ordinator for the council’s social housing project. Harman thinks very highly of Ms Craig and values her opinion. He agrees completely that Man and Dad will be perfect candidates for the project and uses his authority to stop the bulldozers in their tracks.

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Adrienne – (appears in Act 2 non-speaking) - Nancy Lund

Observers - The importance of these roles for the success of this play should not be underestimated. Their presence has to be unobtrusive but at the same time we have to be aware of what they are doing and who they are observing. Additionally they help to dismantle the set towards the end of the play. Some of the ‘observers’ could be female.

Adrienne is Mrs Clegg’s observer and appears in act 2.

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Charlie – (appears in Act 2 non-speaking) - Kerry Revett

Observers - The importance of these roles for the success of this play should not be underestimated. Their presence has to be unobtrusive but at the same time we have to be aware of what they are doing and who they are observing. Additionally they help to dismantle the set towards the end of the play. Some of the ‘observers’ could be female.

Charlie is part of Harman’s wider team.

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Gregory (Appears in Act 1 and 2) - Tony Frier

Observers - The importance of these roles for the success of this play should not be underestimated. Their presence has to be unobtrusive but at the same time we have to be aware of what they are doing and who they are observing. Additionally they help to dismantle the set towards the end of the play. Some of the ‘observers’ could be female.

Gregory is Anthony’s observer. Gregory appears in both acts and has one line in act one.

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Penny (appears in Act 2 non-speaking) - Eleanor Collier

Observers - The importance of these roles for the success of this play should not be underestimated. Their presence has to be unobtrusive but at the same time we have to be aware of what they are doing and who they are observing. Additionally they help to dismantle the set towards the end of the play. Some of the ‘observers’ could be female.

Penny is part of Harman’s wider team.

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Director - Michelle Blake

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Stage Manager, Properties and Set Assistant - Clare Pinnock

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Lighting - Carolyn Menteith

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Set Design and Realisation - John Godliman

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Continuity - Gillian Smithies

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Set Design and Realisation - Simon Waller

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Set Assistant, Hair and Make Up - Emma Dudley

Original

Set Assistant - Nick Lund

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Set Assistant, Properties and Flyer/Programme design - Anne Nunn

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Set Assistant - Bill Payne

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Set Assistant - Linda Russell

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Set Assistant - Ian Thomas

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Set Assistant - Liz Thomas

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Set Assistant - Jenny Waller

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Lighting Assistant - Nigel Greenaway

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Wardrobe - Anna Foster

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Hair and Make Up - Anna Beuden

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Continuity - Gillian Smithies

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Photography - Alan Bostock (www.photoeyes.biz)

Original

Front of House Manager - Frankie Godliman