NCP closed off the 1950s with two superb and contrasting productions:

  • You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
  • The Paragon by Roland and Michael Pertwee

The 3-act zany comedy, You Can’t Take It With You, ran at the National Theatre from 20-29 August 1959.  The play relates the humorous encounter between a conservative family and the crazy household of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof. Grandpa’s family of idiosyncratic individualists amuse with their energetic physical antics and inspire with their wholehearted pursuit of happiness.

Donald Whittle gave a good performance as the grandfather.  One critic praised NCP for pushing the boundary by selecting a play that one would not normally see in commercial theatre. The comedy was a standard drama for most high schools in the USA. Richard Moreton was the producer.

In stark contrast the 2-act play, The Paragon, had a much more serious theme. This play, a drama written by Ronald and Michael Pertwee in 1946, concerns a blind man who believes that his son was killed in Burma during the war. The son’s wife marries again – and as it goes on the situation becomes more and more complicated.

One critic reported that The Paragon had a very high standard of presentation and with NCP’s regular producer/director, Richard Moreton playing the lead role of Sir Robert Rawley (the blind millionaire) it fell on Bryan Epsom to produce and direct the play.  Overall, it was ‘a polished production with never a hitch or a fluffed line.’ The Paragon ran at the National Theatre from 20-28 November 1959.

NCP would move up a gear or two in the 1960s.  Watch this space!


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