Bert Bentley

The last of the triple bill; the bridge was a spoof of Chekhov, ‘a play for Coarse Actors’, by Michael Green: The Cherry Sisters. This play was by another great of the theatre, Noël Coward. It cleverly mixed the settings of a dressing room ‘at the Palace of Varieties in one of the smaller English provincial towns in the mid 1930s’ with actual performances in front of the curtain, ‘on stage’.

My character, the musical director Bert Bentley, was described as ‘a flashy little man wearing a tail suit and a white waistcoat that is none too clean’, so it was a marvellous opportunity to be garrulous and slightly domineering! Although the eponymous ‘Red Peppers’, George (Martin Verrill) and Lily (Katrina Stead), give me short shrift over my mild criticism of their act, I get my own back at the end of the play by inserting a mischievous accelerando into their accompaniment, causing them to spoil their dance routine!