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Sabrina in 'Rattle of a Simple Man'

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Ivar Theatre, Hollywood - Previews August 2-7.
Opened August 9. Played at least until August 12.

"When a group of northern soccer fans are down in London for the Cup Final one of their number winds up with a lady of the night. As they talk, the unsophisticated and naive lad starts to believe he has found true love."
Sabrina - Rattle of a Simple Man
Sabrina - Rattle of a Simple Man
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

SABRINA Sex at the Ivar
British Star Will Debut

Sabrina, buxom British stage and screen star, will make her first Los Angeles appearance in a new production of Charles Dyer's sex comedy, "Rattle of a Simple Man," opening at the Ivar Theater Aug. 9 [1966] following a week of preview performances.

Starring with Sabrina will be British comedian Bernard Fox, last seen here in "Write Me a Murder.' Third character will be Peter Church.

11 AUG 1966

Rollicking 'Rattle' in Reprise

Times Staff Writer

It isn't often that a play gets a second chance to redeem itself under new auspices. "The Rattle of a Simple Man," an essentially two-character comedy by English playwright Charles Dyer, came a cropper earlier this season in a crude production here on the small theater circuit.

Now it's back again in a new presentation at the Ivar Theater, well cast, smoothly directed and worth touting as a delightful antidote to summertime sloth.

Sense of Comedy

Played for laughs instead of leers, this tale of a London prostitute and a male virgin from Manchester is comic and appealing. The trollop with the heart of gold and the emotionally warped Mama's boy have become cliches in the theater but they'll both be around a while. Most of us like to root for lonely misfits who suddenly find the blue bird of happiness, never mind the real-life improbability of it all.

Sabrina, the bosomy blond from Britain, surprises as a very competent performer . . .well, in spite of herself. She is not as droll as Tammy Grimes playing the vulnerable prostitute with gaudy pretensions but she has a softness and a sharp sense of comedy that gets across despite her paralyzing physical presence.

Acting Gem

But the gem of this production, presented by R. W. Reese, is Bernard Fox, an actor familiar from many English movies, and the perfect Percy if ever there was one. His excellent performance is as touching as it is funny, a timid, decent chap, middle-aged and running to fat, who has never had any success with women.

He has been lured to the trollop's flat on a dare hurled by his pub buddy, Ginger. Percy admires Ginger's style. "He has one dance with a girl, disappears and comes back looking smug and self-satisfied," Percy reports enviously. "I'm everything the French laugh at in an Eng1ishmen," he tells Cyrenne whom he accuses of "squashing" his ego.

Cyrenne, stunned yet drawn to this pathetic creature, says "You're not just old-fashioned, Percy, you're unbelievable!" Peter Church rounds out the expert cast as Cyrenne's interfering brother and all are skillfully handled by director Thomas Montgomery.

Louis Maurer's set of Cyrenne's tacky apartment is another asset of this 'revival' which could run through the rest of the summer.

Friday, August 12, 1966


(Ivar Theatre)

When the emotions of a prostie, violated by her step father at the age of 12, and a Manchester (England) bumpkin who researches for a mill and lives with his mother, meet under strange circumstances, they are bound to run the gamut of violet (sic) clashes and comedy as the man sets out to win a 50 pound bet, and the woman is completely willing to give everything to make the wager good.

That is the sum and substance of "Rattle of a Simple Man," Charles Dyer's comedy-drama which failed so disastrously here a few months ago but succeeded very well in the current production at the Ivar.

As the two characters unfold their problems and inner secrets to each other, there i s a pathos that time and again surges above the laughs and sexy situations. "There are no innuendoes in bosomy Sabrina's intentions but it is the reticence on part of Bernard Fox which give the Charles Dyer play the necessary touch to make the overall effort dramatically important despite its comedic over[t]ones.

Also, the brief interlude between Sabrina and Peter Church with its undertone of incest, was masterful in bringing about an additional development of the trollop's background.

The three principals are English, Sabrina having appeared in this country before, while Fox has had a varied career in the allied arts. The busty blonde takes a whacking from her brother in the second act when emotions are phcited [sic!] into high gear. She also has a few tense moments with Fox, all of which give her the range to show her wares to the fullest extents. Fox, in his modest, shy way captures the inner depth of his role, and the brief bit by Church could not be better.

This, "Rattle" should continue to make plenty of noise from here on in. The direction by Thomas Montgomery and Louis Maurer's setting could not be improved upon. R. W. Reese is presenting the play.

Bill Ornstein.



"Rattle of a Simple Man" is a deceptively uncomplicated play by Charles Dyer which has been seen before in local theaters, but never with quite such a cast as made a formal bow last night at the Ivar Theater.
It would be a simple matter, I suppose, to dispose of "Rattle" by labeling it simply as a sex farce, and letting it go at that.

All the essential ingredients are present, beginning with a magnificently constructed leading woman, quite young and very, blonde, named Sabrina. In the role of Cyrenne, she epitomizes uninhibited sexuality. This is accompanied by a characteristic usually found with it — the yearning to be once again the innocent child she was it 12, which of course she cannot be.

Sabrina, who is British and prefers to use only the single name (should I call her Miss Sabrina?) is a splendid actress. Her mood ranges between the hoyden, the comic and the tragic. In all she is captivating and convincing, fully clothed or otherwise.

But, to return to the point begun before Sabrina distracted me, "Rattle of a Simple Man" is far more than an unalloyed comedy, to be dismissed as either dirty or meaningless.

In the character of Percy, played with perception, gusto, timing and pathos by Bernard Fox, nearly every man can see a little of himself, even if it is of a somewhat different time and setting than Dyer has presented in the stuffy scoutmaster who finds himself, quite by accident, in the basement apartment of a trollop.

"Rattle" is a two-character play with the notable exception of a brief contribution in Act II by Peter Church who portrays Cyrenne's brother. The scene between brother and sister, suggesting great shared guilt and corresponding overwhelming ambivalence, is the dramatic highlight of the play.

But it is Bernard Fox, in the final essence, who makes the play well worth an evening at the lvar. He becomes unstuffed, thank heaven, and that is what makes it all worth while.

SABRINA FAIR —English actress and singer Sabrina will have starring role in "Rattle of a Simple Man' which will open on Tuesday at the Ivar Theater.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Sabrina Overcomes Frankenstein Stage

Times Staff Writer

What British-born performers seem to have in common is the candor and the matter-of-factness with which they regard themselves and their careers. This is as equally true of accomplished red- heads Samantha Eggar and Greer Garson as it is of bosomy blonde Sabrina, glamour girl of English television and internationally known night club entertainer, who is starring in "Rattle of a Simple Man," opening Tuesday at the Ivar.

"I've never taken myself seriously. I've always been content to be the dumb blonde of the BBC. It's a bit of a giggle for me to take on this part since I'm not an actress at all," says the demurely-dressed Sabrina frankly.

"When our producer, Stan Seiden, asked me if I would do 'Rattle of a Simple Man' instead of 'The Loving Couch,' which I had been touring with in the East, I told him I could never remember all those lines. But I have, and that to me is an achievement alone."

Seriously Ill

Achievement, however, is nothing new for Sabrina, whose first challenge was overcoming serious illness in her childhood.

"I was junior breast stroke champion in Manchester, my hometown. My big ambition was to swim the English Channel, so I trained by going to the baths every day. When I was 11 I contracted polio, double pneumonia, rheumatic fever and osteomyelitis all at the same time. I was paralyzed for 10 months.

"While in the hospital I knocked my leg, and it nearly had to be amputated. For the next four or five years I was in and out of hospital."

By 16, however, she had regained her health and ran away to London on money earned from jewelry she had made as part of her rehabilitation program. Her plan was to make enough money to have some skin grafts for her injured leg. Getting work as a waitress, she was soon spotted by a photographer who got her on the cover of the now-defunct Picture Post.

"With all illness I had gone through they called me 'the chin-up pin-up girl,'" recalls Sabrian [sic], who was born Norma Ann "with a terrible English last name I won't reveal." Four months after the cover picture she got the chance to audition for the BBC television show, Before Your Very Eyes .

Like Frankenstein

"I didn't know how to do anything, and they didn't know what to do with me. I was like a Frankenstein monster, but the writer had a hell of an idea — I wouldn't do anything. I'd make Ziegfeld entrances, pop out of closets, sit in bathtubs but never speak. People began stopping me on the street askin [sic] me if I really could talk."

From television Sabrina, who decided "to buy myself some talent" in the form of singing and dancing lessons, started touring music halls, doing songs and comedy sketches and eventually acted in plays and then films ("a dozen tatty English comedies").

"When they first gave me the name Sabrina at BBC [sic] I thought it was terrible. It sounded like Audrey Hepburn, who had made that movie with the same name. Sabrina became a sex symbol like Monroe or Mansfield. I said that's not me, I'm just a little girl from the sticks. It took several years for the two to merge.

"Sabrina has been very good for me. My name is like Tide — a household word at home. And now there's a Sabrina Island* off Australia near the Antarctica."

[*Sad to say, but Sabrina Island was not named after our Sabby. To quote Wapedia.mobi...

"Sabrina Island is the largest of three small islets lying 1 mile southward of Buckle Island in the Balleny Islands . Sabrina Island is located at 66.95° S 163.28° E. Sabrina Island was named after the cutter Balleny 's schooner, the Eliza Scott , when the Balleny Islands were discovered in 1839 ."]

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