Good Riddance Mr Chips
Who's performed this show?
Ararat Theatre Company Vic
It is “Union Jack” Chipman's retirement dinner and school secretary Pat Lake is confident that she has organised a night to remember. As it turns out, she is absolutely right, but not for the reasons she had anticipated. As the play unfolds we learn there is much more to Jack's career than he would ever want known.
Jack is a long-serving woodwork and music teacher and a strong union man. But the only members of his large family who have deigned to attend the celebration are his long-suffering wife, Marilyn, who has turned to alcohol for comfort, and his tarty daughter, Fleur. At the dinner are two of Jack's past students. Invited is the brilliant woodwork artist Brian, while blind ex-student Robyn gatecrashes the affair. Also invited is the locally successful singer Delores who has sung in one of Jack's community choirs. The Guest of Honour is Jack's mate, Ted Theodore, the recently elected state MP for whom Jack was campaign manager. Ted is accompanied by his Personal Assistant, Faith. The Assistant Regional Director, Malcolm Stewart, also addresses the gathering but we find his attendance is a bungled appointment. The only one of Jack's school colleagues to attend is the PE teacher Roger Quinn who not only resents having to attend, but was the loser to Ted at the election and suspects foul play on Jack's behalf. Roger's wife Dianne further complicates Roger's role in the evening. Jack's first Principal, the elderly George Bell, has been invited to reminisce about Jack in the Mallee in the seventies, but the more he speaks, the more we suspect Jack's motives. Unexpected guests are Jack's brother Dennis and two representatives of NASA!
The whole night unravels as each character peels layer after layer off Jack's reputation, but not before many drown themselves and each other in a sea of intrigue and suppressed feelings. The end result is a very funny night out, where the show is intertwined with the meal and appropriate music.
Cast: 8 Male, 8 Female (one female role can be doubled)