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by Gerald Sybleyras translated by Tom Stoppard

The Cast
The year is 1959. Three Frenchmen, veterans of the First World War, reside in a home for old soldiers situated in the French countryside. Henri has been trhere for twenty-five years and is resigned to the idea of seeing out his life in this establishment, cared for by Sister Madeleine and her fellow nuns. Philippe, a resident of ten years standing is similarly resigned, thoughn a recent fear of Sister Madeleine and her motives has made life less than comfortable for this injured and mentally damaged veteran. However, this relative stability is disturbed by the arrival of the restless Gustave, a man who, though suffering from some form of agoraphobia, incites his companions to escape the confines of the home to seek new adventures and experiences. These three make an unlikely team and Gustaves insistence on taking a stone statue of a dog with them complicates the project, so what will be their destination? Indochina? The local village? Or the poplars on the horizon?


The Cast

Henril Dave Baldwinl
Philippe Gordon Stewart
Gustav Howard Jones

Director: Dave Baldwin

The Crew

Stage Manager Richard Worreall
Sound Charles Wintour
Lighting Dave Shaw
Costume and Props Stella Truscott
ASM Margaret Baldwin


9th July 201009 Burghill Village Hall
19th July 2010 Tarrington Village Hall
16th & 17th July 2010 Goodrich Village Hall
23rd July 2010 Upton Bishop Millennium Hall
24th July 2010 Woolhope Village Hall

Karen Richardson in The Woolhope Herald

 “Heroes" at the Parish Hall - July. 2OIO

Once again, the Bare Bones Theatre Company provided a wonderful evening of entertainment for the Woolhope audience with it’s July
Production  Of “Heroes" by  Tom Stoppard.  Hot on the heels of Sylvia this excellent company impressed again as they captivated and
delighted the audience with just  three men and a dog!.

Set in France in 1959 in a sanatorium for old soldiers, our heroes are three French veterans of the First World War.  Firstly there is Henri, played
 by the perfectly suited Dave Baldwin. The longest ’serving’ resident of the three (25 years), he is a sanguine, likeable character whose wartime
 activities have left him with a pronounced limp. Then there is Philippe, a relative new comer of just 10 years who, with a piece of shrapnel lodged
 in his head, has the unfortunate habit of passing out both suddenly andwith increasing regularity. Gordon Stewart seemed to have a real twinkle
in his eye when playing this character and had some wonderful lines.  ‘We’ll take them from the rear, Captain’ a phrase repeated each time he comes
round from his blackouts, causing much laughter on every delivery.

Finally, we have Howard J ones’ Gustave, an agoraphobic with a senseof adventure who came to live at the sanatorium just 6 months ago.
When Philippe mentions his piano playing days of the past, Gustave's comment of “Passing out every few minutes .... bit of a drawback
for a concert pianist!" is typical of this wry character. With a dry and sometimes cynical wit, he is a perfect foil for the romantic and
positive Henri. And of course, we mustn’t forget the life size stone statue of a dog, which Philippe is convinced is alive. This delusion is
not helped by the fact that Gustave moves it every day!

In a scene reminiscent of Last of the Summer Wine, but with awooden bench replacing the dry stone wall, the play is set on the
terrace outside their rooms, from which the three discuss the various goings on within the home. Much of the comedy and pathos derives
from the relationship betweenthese old comrades in arms, and many in the audience (aka Will Pridie, David Walker and Ian Mclachlan), seemed
to identify with these slightly mad, sometimes grumpy old men and the dreams they still have. Whenever one of them is absent the others
earnestly agree "You know he’s not the same as us, he’s not quite right in the head’! Philippe is also convinced that Sister Madelaine
(the matron-in charge) is killing off anyone with a duplicate date of birth, and with the arrival of a new resident with the same birthday
as his own, he believes his fate is sealed. To make matters worse, the other terrace upon which their fellow ’inmates’ reside is about to
be dug up and they are therefore extremely worried that they will soon be invaded by the hoy paloy. Gustave decides that their only option
is to escape (not bad for an agoraphobic) - but to where? Henri favours a picnic in the local village,Philippe the distant poplars on the horizon,
whilst Gustave is all for Indochina! Unsurprisingly Gustave doesn’t manage to persuade them that Indochina is the destination for them,
so the poplars are deemed to be the happy medium. The shenanigans as they plan their trip are hilarious, in particular as they practice
roping up together for the strenuous climb up the hill. When Gustave casually mentions that the stone dog will also be coming, poor Henri
walks off in despair and it becomes obvious that their planned escape will sadly remain just a dream. As the play closes,we are left with
the three of them (and the dog) staring wistfully at the far off poplars, wondering what might have been.

 Throughout the play, each of the cast captures both the humour and sadness of their characters to perfection and there grows a sympathy and
fondness for each of our heroes in their twilight years. Another great A Bare Bones production, but if you missed it watch out for them
returning to Woolhope in November with a new play.

The Herald would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bare Bones Youth (age 9-16) on their success at the 2010 Hereford County
Drama Festival. Their excellent performance of ‘Rabbit’ by David Foxton won them the coveted Stennet Trophy for best Youth Production. Well done!

 Karen Richardson  - Woolhope Herald

See also

The Savannah Sipping Society

by Jones, Hope and Wooten

Toured: Nov-Dec 2005

Summer End

by Eric Chappell

Toured: April 2016

Visiting Hour

by Richard Harris

Toured: Nov 2015


by Patrick Hamilton

Toured: March 2015

The Prisoner of Second Avenue

by Neil Simon

Toured: November 2014

Inspector Drake and the Black Widow

by David Tristram

Toured: July 2014


by Jean McDonnell

Toured: April 2014

Prescription for Murder

by Norman Robbins

Toured: November 2013

Laying the Ghost

by Simon Williams

Toured: June 2013

Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench

by John A Penzotti

Toured: November 2012


by Simon Moore

Toured: June-July 2012

Going Straight

by Richard Harris

Toured: March - April 2012

Blithe Spirit

by Noel Coward

Toured: Nov-Dec 2011

A Month of Sundays

by Bob Larbey

Toured: June - July 2011

A Bolt from the Blue

by David Tristram

Toured: March - April 2011

One Last Card Trick

by Stewart Permutt

Toured: November 2010


by Gerald Sybleyras translated by Tom Stoppard

Toured: July 2010


by A R Gurney

Toured: March - April 2010


by John Godber

Toured:Oct - Nov 2010

The Beach Hut

by Mark Rees

Performed: September 2009

Happy Jack

by John Godber

Toured: June - August 2009

A Delicate Balance

by Edward Albee

Toured: March - April 2009

You're Only Young Twice

by Ron Aldridge

Toured: November 2008


by Ronald Harwood

Toured: June - July 2008

Day of Reckoning

by Pam Valentine

Toured: March - April 2005

The Odd Couple (Female Version)

by Neil Simon

Toured: October - November 2007

Faith Healer

by Brian Friel

Toured: July - August 2007

Memory of Water

by Shelagh Stephenson

Toured: March - April 2007

September in the Rain

by John Godber

Toured: Oct-Dec 2006

Educating Rita

by Willy Russell

Toured: July-Sept 2006

The Cemetery Club

by Ivan Menchal

Toured: March-May 2006

Duck Variations & The Problem

by David Mamet & A R Gurney Jnr

Festival: March 2006

Stepping Out

by Richard Harris

Toured: Nov-Dec 2005

Two of a Kind

by Hugh Janes

Toured: Jun-Aug 2005

Steel Magnolias

by Robert Harling

Toured: Feb-Mar 2005

Shirley Valentine

by Willie Russell

Toured: Sep-Oct 2004