Monday, January 19th, 2015

A MIX of confusion, surprising disasters, eccentric characters, sexual escapades and misunderstandings form the recipe for Garrick Theatre’s first season of 2015.

Written by Derek Benfield and directed by Fred Petersen, Panic Stations follows the hapless Chester Dreadnought who becomes embroiled in one debacle after another when he unsuspectingly buys a property near an artillery range destined for demolition.

A sequence of improbable circumstances ensues with a turbulent trio of wife, newly-acquired girlfriend and mother-in-law, shotgun-wielding father-in-law, clumsy handyman and sergeant on a mission.

Constant explosions galvanise the characters into instant panic and mayhem.

Benfield wrote more than 30 comedies and farces in his lifetime and made notable appearances as an actor in First of the Summer Wine, Hetty Wainthrop Investigates and Rumpole of the Bailey.

“I have always been an avid fan of Derek Benfield,” Petersen said. “I’ve directed three of his farces before, all of which had uproarious success.

“His material is so well-knitted the actors always have a ball.

“With Panic Stations, imagine the problems created when someone tries to hide the truth and then tells misconstrued truths to get himself out of trouble – but each time only digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole.

“That’s exactly what Chester Dreadnought does when he tries to hide from his wife that their new house is going to be wiped off the surface of the planet.”

Starting out with a revue company in 1956, Petersen performed at his His Majesty’s Theatre in Oklahoma before appearing with Bobby Limb and Dawn Lake in their Tonight at Eight shows in the late ’50s.

He joined Garrick Theatre in 1976 and has been involved as an actor, director, writer and set builder on a variety of productions over the past 38 years, also directing plays at Marloo Theatre and acting at Limelight and Melville Theatres.

Peterson has received Garrick’s best play award four times and was named best director for Cash On Delivery at the annual Finley Awards. Most recently, he directed Pardon Me, Prime Minister.

“Farce in itself is very demanding with timing, characterisation and sometimes sound and special effects,” Petersen said. “It must be played straight and never try to be funny.

“The script itself stands alone and therefore the actors must discipline themselves in their portrayals.”

Panic Stations plays at 8pm January 29, 30, 31, February 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14 with 2pm matinees February 1, 8 and 14.

Tickets are $20, $17 concession, $15 children – book on (08) 9378 1990 or [email protected]

Garrick Theatre is at 16 Meadow Street, Guildford, opposite the Stirling Arms Hotel and Guildford Town Hall.



panic1: Ray Egan, left, Joy Norton, Marsha Holt and Graham Miles are appearing in the farce Panic Stations at Garrick Theatre.

panic2: Fiona Forster, left, embraces the role of a so-called “sweet young thing” in Panic Stations with Graham Miles.

panic3: Actors John Forde, left, and Graham Miles let panic and mayhem ensue in the name of comedy in Panic Stations.

panic4: Husband-and-wife Heather, left, and Keith Abbott, right with Ann Speicher, centre, in Panic Stations

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Garrick Theatre

Garrick Theatre is situated in the heritage town of Guildford, Western Australia. The club was named after the famous English actor and dramatist, David Garrick. Founded in 1932, Garrick is the longest-running community theatre in the Perth metropolitan area.

On April 16, 1932, Mrs W Dancer and a few friends met at "Riversleigh" where it was decided to form a repertory club. On May 13, 1932, Garrick Theatre Club was born. This group gathered regularly at "Riversleigh" until more permanent premises were obtained at the Mechanic's Institute in Guildford.

Later, the move to the club's present home in Meadow Street was made possible with the assistance of the local council, whose interest in Garrick's aims and activites has never waned. This home was constructed in the early days of the Swan River Colony and served initially as quarters for the Commissariat. The building is heritage-listed. Various renovations and additions have taken place over the decades - perhaps most notably a new stage with revolve in the 1990s.
Over more than eight decades, Garrick Theatre has brought to the community a wide variety of entertainment. In its turn, it has received many awards and today is one of the most respected community theatre groups in the State. The club is run entirely by members on a voluntary basis.

Fred Petersen
P: 0438 927 393


Panic Stations Garrick Theatre farce comedy stage performance Derek Benfield event what's on Guildford City of Swan Perth WA Western Australia



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