The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company, which specialises in iconic outdoor theatre, will be returning to Haslemere Museum garden this year, with a brand new play – The Commercial Traveller.
Set in London in 1924, the play tells the story of a rich and powerful tycoon and former East End barrow boy, Sir Arthur Cattermole, who is not happy. His son, Gerald, whom he has spent his hard-earned brass on to go to Eton, is in love with the girl next door, the beautiful Isabelle and daughter of hard-up doctor, Cornelius Truss. Love is a bunch of roses! Money is the thing!
So he sends Gerald to Africa to look after his cocoa business. The young lovers, of course, are heartbroken. The days pass like falling leaves and after a year no letters have come from Gerald. Isabelle is convinced he doesn’t love her anymore, or has found someone else, so decides she will become a nun and live in Bexhill-on-Sea.
But the widowed doctor’s housekeeper, Elsie, who has virtually mothered Isabelle, has a plan. She knows a kind, good, gentle man, a commercial traveller, who will marry Isabelle and once married Sir Arthur will have no reason to keep Gerald away. Of course, Isabelle will have none of it at first, but Elsie persuades her mistress to trust her – that this complex knot of impossibilities will be unravelled. She will eventually be happy.
Then shockingly Elsie disappears into the London fog and is apparently found dead. Her devoted husband, Albert, Sir Arthur’s butler, is devastated. A month passes and the commercial traveller, Cecil Cornford, does indeed turn up and marries Isabelle – and then, apparently too late to marry her himself, Gerald returns from Africa, incognito. His letters had been intercepted and he does still love her. Albert sets about unpicking the knot and bit by bit it is unravelled.
Funny, romantic and moving the play demonstrates the gritty determination to overcome an apparently unassailable problem through absolute love.
Come along and enjoy a highly entertaining evening set in the beautiful gardens of Haslemere Museum. Theatregoers are welcome to bring their own picnics, rugs and low backed chairs from 6.00pm on Saturday 10 June.