by George Bernard Shaw

Cast in order of appearance
Prospepine Garnett   VICKERY TURNER
Reverand James Morell  MICHAEL CRAIG
Reverend Alexander Mill   OSMOND BULLOCK
Eugene Marchbanks   JONATHON MORRIS

Review Highlights

Sutton County Herald
November 1, 1983
Pet has poise in Shaw play
     FORMER Surrey singing star Petula Clark s first "straight" stage role is remarkably well chosen
     She plays the title role in George Bernard Shaw's Candida at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford--a part that she fills impressively, oozing confidence and capability.
     Her role is largely symbolic though, and demands less than those of the men whose fight for her provides the meat of the play.
     Their battle, between preacher and poet, principles and freedom, might easily weigh the play down. But Shaw's sparkle and the performer's zest make sure that the sermon and the gaiety both come across.
     The Reverend James Morell (her husband) is a socialist reformer who spends every evening at public meetings speaking about fair wages and class reform.
     His rival is the boyish poet Eugene Marchbands, whose role is most complex. We see him first as a nervous mousy man, squeeling and unsure of himself.
     But Morell comes to see that Marchbanks 'knows everything'--he can see through the preaching to the 'windbag' beneath. And he can see that it is not his works that Candida married him for.
     But it is not poetry and 'immorality' that Candida wants either. To her both the men are mere boys--only she knows how much Morell's good deeds depend on her support. And Marchbanks comes to realise that both men have treated her as if she had to belong to one or the other, when she really belongs to herself.
     The fun comes from Jonathon Morris' over-the-top artistic sensitivity. Trained as a dancer, his body bends and springs to exaggerate his mood.
     Michael Craig as Morell is utterly complacent, unable at first to see the threat that the boyish poet is turing to confusion and despair as he realises that rhetoric is not enough to keep Candida.
     The cast succeeds in steering the play between the serious and the silly, so binging out the aspects of both which Shaw made no importance.
     Candida plays at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, until November 19.

Woking & Byfleeet Herald
November 3, 1983
Pet sparkles as witty heroine
Petula Clark, who has just completed a West End run in "The Sound of Music" plays Shaw's heroine in the title part, and those who know her best as a singer are reminded by her sparkling peformance at Guildford that she is an actress of considerable experience and enviable talent. . .

Surrey Advertiser
October 18, 1983
A gentle and serious 'Candida'
     GEORGE Bernard Shaw's Candida was a sensible choice of play for Petula Clark's first straight role in the theatre. . .Petula Clark's Candida is sweet, sincere and --safe--surrounded by a flock of the tried and tested and the refreshingly inspirational. . .The play prompted genuine emotion and pricked he hearts of everyone who recalls the frustrations of adolescence, the silent prayers repeated at the foot of the bed.

West Sussex Gazette
November 10, 1983
Petula Clark makes the step from singing to straight acting look easy as she takes the title role in "Candida. To be sure, it is not the most demanding of roles, but she handles it with firmness, total accuracy and feeling.

The Stage
PETULA CLARK is a charming Candida, playing the role in a smiling and relaxed manner in Val May's delightful production of Bernard Shaw's trifle about the clergyman's wife with a soft spot forr a young earthy poet. Her silent acting is quite as expressive as her lines, which are delivered in an interesting way with plenty of personality. Petula Clark is authoritative too in the last act as she analyses them both.

Midweek Comet
November 2, 1983
To say petula Clark, the Kingston area's own contribution to superstardom, is making her stage debut as a straight actress in CANDIDA at the Yvonne Arnaud Theare, Guildford, is correct but blurs her track record.
     She is no stranger to "straight" roles--and they require just as much technical prowess to play in films as they do on stage even if the techniques differ.
     So there is no blinding light of revelation in watching her step lively through Shaw's paces.
     Rather, confirmation of what a thorough, all-round professional she is.
     It's not just that as Candida she is a the centre of attention, courtes7y of the character and her box-office name. She brings to the role a fresh, sparky, natural good sense which more than any other element in Val May's production, lifts and lights up what is, at basics, a slight, fairly arid play.
     Indeed, she rises airily above it by very dint of appearing not to be "acting" amid colleagues, especially in the lower ranks, who are, most strenuosly. (excerpt)