NCP raises the bar with the 1958 courtroom drama – Carrington, V.C.
Carrington, V.C., by husband and wife playwrights Dorothy and Campbell Christie, was the first of what would become a series of military and courtroom dramas by NCP. The play was staged at the National Theatre from 29 May – 7 June 1958. It was NCP’s 6th full-length production at the Kenya National Theatre and 7th production overall when the 1958 Drama Festival entry (Two Gentlemen of Soho) is taken into account.
The play is centred around an English-officer war hero, with money woes and a nagging wife, who is put on trial for taking funds. It was made into a movie in 1954 starring David Niven and Margaret Leighton.
The lead role in the NCP production was played by John Ebdon with Gwyn Ashmore as the nagging wife. The play was highly commended by local critics one of whom referred to the production as being ‘distinguished by several performances of outstanding merit.’ Many of the leading actors had difficult roles in this emotionally charged drama. The play was directed by Leonard Pierrepoint. It was his last NCP production as he left Nairobi shortly afterwards.
Interestingly, the cast features one Walter Plinge. Theatregoers will know that Walter Plinge is a pseudonym, traditionally used in British theatres when a part has not been cast, an actor is playing two parts, or an actor does not want his or her name in the programme.
The programme also mentions the fact that NCP had just drawn up a constitution for the management of the group. This was an important milestone in the evolution of NCP and was a clear indicator that NCP was moving up a gear in setting high standards for future productions.