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Billy Liar
by Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall

Cast & Crew

Florence Boothroyd Barbara de Zutter
Geoffrey Fisher Keith Earnshaw
Alice Fisher Ann West
Billy Fisher Richard Walker
Arthur Crabtree Barry Page
Barbara Susan Dunstall
Rita Susan Swann
Liz Liz Douglas

Director Joan Fisher
Stage Manager Jean McNamara
Assistant Stage Managers Jean Slarke, Stan Slarke, Denise Swann
Setting Jen Earnshaw
Set Construction John Knutton
Lighting Ian Lovett

Susan Dunstall as Barbara, Richard Walker as Billy and Barry Page as Arthur

Production No. 188

More images from Billy Liar


Dick Murray, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 1976

One of Britain's favourite stage and film characters of the Sixties will be recreated in the Masque Theatre's first major production of the season.

He is Billy Liar, who has the habit of projecting himself into hilarious fantasies.

Billy's misadventures will be depicted in the popular comedy by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall from November 16 to 21 at the Arts Theatre, Pytchley Street, Northampton, at 7.45pm.

Richard Walker will play the title role of Billy Liar. Richard has appeared in several of the Masque summer productions in Abington Park and also in "The Lovers" and "Angel in Love".

Billy's mother and father, Alice and Geoffrey, will be played by Ann West and Keith Earnshaw.

Bill has three girlfriends in the play, each of a different temperament.

Barbara, played by Sue Dunstall, is the homebody type who is eager to get married and raise a family.

Rita is described as earthy and common. Sue Swann has that role.

Liz Douglas will be seen as Liz, whose own fantasies seem to match Billy's. Barbara de Zutter will play Billy's grandma, Florence Boothroyd and Barry Page Billy's friend Arthur.

Albert Finney, who is now portraying the wicked Tamburlaine at the new National Theatre, was the original Billy Liar.

The Masque production is being directed by Joan Fisher and the stage manager is Jean McNamara.

16 - 21 November 1976 at 7.45pm
Arts Theatre, Pytchley Street, Northampton

Page last updated: 14/04/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

A scene from Billy Liar

Dick Murray, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 1976

We all have our own fantasies - but some of us spend more time in them than others.

Billy Liar seems to spend most of his life in fantasies, as we discover in the Masque Theatre's fine production of that popular comedy of the Sixties.

Billy, played with expressive elan by Richard Walker, concocts so many lies that he lives in a continuous fog of make-believe. And the subsequent mist enshrouds his family and friends.

Billy has a lowly clerical job with an undertaker, but his big ambition is to be a script-writer. He says he has an offer from a comedian in London. Is it true or just another daydream?

He has three girlfriends on the string, two of whom lay claim to an engagement ring.

Barbara (Susan Dunstall) is a nice girl; she refuses to go on "a mixed holiday" to Blackpool. Her modest aim is to marry Billy and raise a family.

Susan has a funny scene with Walker when Billy dopes Barbara's drink with a "passion pill" and tries to make advances. He fails: the supposed aphrodisiac is nothing more than asprin!

Gum-chewing, gutter-tongued Rita (Susan Swann) is determined to get the ring Barbara is wearing. She dominates the close of the second act when she confronts Billy, Barbara and his parents with her aggressive demands.

As Billy's explosive tempered father, Keith Earnshaw makes his farewell performance with the Masque Players a memorable one. He is moving out of Northampton.

Billy's long-suffering mother, who serves as a buffer between husband and son, is played with emotional feeling by Ann West.

Liz Douglas plays a strong single scene with Walker as Billy's third girlfriend, Liz. She is more attuned to his fantasies than her rivals.

Billy's aged and ailing grandmother (Barbara de Zotter) rambles on about the hard days - "addressing the sideboard," as Billy says. She refuses to go to the doctor because he's "a blackie" - and she dies for her prejudice!

Barry Page plays Billy's turncoat friend, Arthur with convincing nastiness.

Director Joan Fisher achieves a pleasing balance of the play's comic and serious moments.

Jean Earnshaw designed the living room of Billy's home. Jean McNamara is the stage manager.

"Billy Liar" will be performed nightly at 7.45pm for the rest of the week and Sunday at the Arts Theatre Club, Pytchley Street, Northampton.


Michael Hamilton, Northants Post, 27 November, 19

BILLY Liar came to the Arts Theatre Club, Pytchley Street, last week and what a character he is!

While most of us are content to build castles in the air. he lives in them, waiting for a psychiatrist to collect the rent.

Richard Walker took the title role in the Masque Theatre's production and breathed an air of credulity into an individual who flitted from fantasy to fantasy.

His coarse—tongued father, almost ready to disown Billy, was played by Keith Earnshaw. This was Keith's last performance for the Masque before moving on to pastures green and he was determined it would be no less memorable than any that had preceeded it.

Billy's mother, desperately trying to keep the peace, was portrayed by Ann West with a perpetual sigh in her throat and a frown on her head.

Added to her difficulties was old Granny Boothroyd who spent most of her time in deep discussion with the furniture. Barbara de Zutter displayed just the right degree of senility to make the part humorous and not pathetic.

Billy was closely abetted by Arthur Crabtree, played by Barry Page. Together they exploded with the exuberance of youth.

Three girls come in Billy's life: Barbara (Susan Dunstall), who derived more pleasure from a Jaffa than Billy's amorous advances; Rita (Susan Swann), malicious and capable of matching Billy's father word For word. And Liz (Liz Douglas) perhaps Billy's one hope of salvation.

Has he the courage to accept her help?

Joan Fisher. directing, has brought out the best in every member of the cast resulting in a strong all round production.