One of the first Whitehall Farce’s
Dry Rot was written by John Chapman in 1954 and helped to establish the Whitehall Theatre as the home of British farce in the 1950s, under the actor-manager Brian Rix.
John Chapman – playwright
Other West End hits followed for John Chapman- Not Now Darling, My Giddy Aunt, Move Over Mrs Markham, There Goes the Bride, and Shut Your Eyes and Think of England. John wrote several light comedies including The Brides of March (1960), This is My Wife, Mr Stanniforth (Apollo 1963), Diplomatic Baggage (1964), Key for Two (written with Dave Freeman) which was voted Comedy of the Year at the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1982; and Look, No Hands (1985 with Michael Pertwee). He became one of the best television sit-com writers with programmes such as Blandings Castle (with Sir Ralph Richardson), Happy Ever After and Fresh Fields, which won him an Emmy Award in 1984. other television plays included What A Drag, Between the Balance Sheets and the comedy series Hugh and I. He also collaborated with Carla Lane on The Liver Birds.
An ambitious set
6 exits were required for the play and had to be accomaodated on the 12ft x 13ft (3.5m x 4m) stage. An apron stage was added and a stairway built on into the archway … actors had to duck before clambering down a purpose built ladder.
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