Saddleworth Players

An English butler in an American play

In the days of yore which comprised my youth, there was an American singer called Harold Lloyd Watkins. As he feared that he might not rise to fame and fortune bearing the name of Harold, legend has it that he consulted a road map of the Southern states, where he found a town in Arkansas called Conway and a town in Texas called Twitty. With amazing perspicacity he twinned the two, and once Harold had become Conway Twitty he enjoyed huge success as a country singer for the next thirty years. In 1958, he enjoyed his only UK hit with a plaintive ditty entitled ‘It’s Only Make Believe’, which reached number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Now it might well be said that all drama is only make believe. After all Macbeth didn’t really meet three witches on the way to Tesco, did he? There are no witches in the next Saddleworth production, but death’s never far away, even though ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ is as unlikely a title for a play as Conway Twitty was a name for a singer.

Although I’ve never felt particularly servile, I have played a few manservants in the past, and there’s a tricky plural. Having served in the works of both Oscar Wilde and Oliver Goldsmith, I’m tackling a Fred Carmichael butler in this one. However, the plot thickens, so to speak, as not only am I a butler, but an English butler in an American play which has more than a hint of magical mystery about it.

So is it only make believe? You really must come and see. Alternatively, you could have asked Conway Twitty, but sadly he’s no longer with us.

Or is he?

‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Ian Crickett, Sep 23, 2018