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French Without Tears (1974)

French Without Tears

A Cambridge Theatre Co. production of a play by Terence Rattigan, performed during a regional tour and at Cambridge Arts Theatre (opened early 1974).


Set in the South of France during summer 1936, French Without Tears is a comedy about the antics of a group of privileged tourists, who are learning French with very mixed results.  The action takes place in the living room of the villa 'Miramar', located in a small seaside town.


Kenneth Lake ... Kit Thacker
Brian Curtis ... John Green
The Hon. Alan Howard ... Trevor Bowen
Marianne ... Joan Moon
Monsieur Maingot ... Oliver Ford-Davies
Lieut.-Commannder Rogers ... Philip Donaghy
Diana Lake ... Joanna Wake
Kit Neilan ... Roger Rees
Jacqueline Maingot ... ZoŽ Wanamaker
Lord Heybrook ... Osmund Bullock


Director: Richard Cottrell
Designer: Bob Ringwood
Lighting Designer: Michael Outhwaite


French Without Tears was produced by the Cambridge Theatre Company. 

ZoŽ was among a number of young performers at the company during its 1973-4 season (a period of around eight months), in which this comedy was the final production.  As she recalled a few years later, 'We ended with French Without Tears, performed by a very relaxed company.  It was a very salutary experience, just what I needed' (see 'I Yearn To Be So Free and Comfortable on That Stage' interview).

The company's repertoire was diverse, encompassing comedy, drama, and pantomime.  In addition to French Without Tears, Zoe and her colleagues performed Twelfth Night, Aunt Sally, Jack and the Beanstalk, She Stoops to Conquer, and Fears and Miseries of the Third Reich.

The productions were performed in rotation (a week of one show, say, followed by a week of another), with the exception of Jack and the Beanstalk.


French Without Tears by Terence Rattigan

With thanks to Nadine for the theatre programme cover and some production details.

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