Written by Gabriel Chevallier
Directed for Actonians by Ann Aplin


Gabriel Chevallier's famous comic novel was first published in English in 1936 and was set in provincial France in the 1920's. Republicanism and modernity were ranged against the traditional forces of the Church and the local aristocracy when an ambitious Mayor had the idea of building an urinal.

The novel was enormously successful in its native land and was made into a film there in the 1950's. It became a best seller in English as well and in the 1970's was made into a successful BBC television series, which many people remember with great affection, but which I never saw.

It has been described as 'Rebelaisian' and ' A fine satire, filled with humorous incidents and subtle philosophy', but when it crossed my mind as a possible source for a large cast play, that might appeal to a village, I couldn't find a published version in the catalogue of plays. In the end an account of another production caught my eye in Amateur Stage and I was able to get in touch with Julian Sluggett whose play is the official English translation and he sent me his script which landed on my desk and caused me to think "Now how do we do that?"

It could have been played with a small cast all playing a multitude of parts, but with an excellent response from our members I felt it was better to direct it as a community company reflecting life in another community across the Channel - ninety years ago.

This production is how the Actonians have coped with its challenges on our small stage - and as winter draws in we hope it gives you a taste of a warm wine-scented area of France.


Justine Putet Margaret Bulmer
Judith Tourmignon Kay Sutton
Adele Torbayon Becky Sawicki-Gregg
Madame Fouache Andy Fisher
Madame Manapoux Sarah Atkins
Baroness de Courtebiche Di Pardoe
Rose Bivaque Emma Waldon
Housekeeper to Cure Pat Stimson
Housekeeper to Abbe Helen Briggs
Tine Fadet June Cross
Notary's Secretary Rona Wright
Bernadine Samothrace Di Pardoe
Translator Michelle Clare-Hudson
Madame Brodequin Helen Briggs
Madame Nicholas Jenny McDowell
Aide to Minister Luvelat Pat Stimson
Madame Manapoux Sarah Godsell
Barthemy Piechut Rob Pardoe
Ernest Tafardel Matthew Godsell
Cure Ponosse Godfrey Laundy
Francois Tourmignon Mike Schofield
Hypolite Foncimage Simon Carney
Doctor Mouraille Barrie Wright
Artur Torbayon Terry Mills
Eugene Fadet Capt Tardiveaux
Richard Stanway
Notary Girodot Alan Cross
Aristide Focart Geoff Wilkinson
Abbe Jim Sinkinson
Alexandre Boudillat Archbishop
Ray Bulmer
Claudius Brodequin Rob Creer
Brodequin Geoff Wilkinson
General Alan Cross
Oscar de St Choul Nicholas
Chris P Taylor
Fadet's gang
Nick Sharp
Rob Creer
Minister Luvelat Simon Carney
Minister's Aide Pat Stimson
Stage Manager Steve Birch
Lighting Mark Whitehouse
Lighting Assistance Kate Aplin
Sound Pete Lawry
Pyrothechnics Mark Whitehouse
Angie Croome
Rachel Taylor
Gaynor Clark
French pronunciation Di Pardoe
Set Publicity Design
Maureene Blake
Set construction Barrie Wright
Costumes Isobel Campbell
Constume Assistants
June Cross
Pat Stimson
Ann Aplin
Hair June Cross
Front of House
Malcolm Watson
Gaynor Clark
Rose Birch
Val Laundy
Publicity Alan Cross
Box Office Programme
Bob Allen
Photographs Ray Bulmer