For Services Rendered

By W.Somerset Maugham

Synopsis:

1932. The Great War had ended nearly 15 years before, but in Somerset Maugham’s compelling play the repercussions are still bitter and profound. What has the Ardsley family received “for services rendered”? How are its members coping with a changing society? Sydney, a decorated hero, was blinded in the conflict and is cared for by his sister, whose fiancé was killed. Another sister is unhappily married, whilst a third is pursued by an unscrupulous businessman. He, in turn, refuses to help a former navy veteran out of a financial crisis. Mrs Ardsley conceals the extent of an illness whilst lamenting: "I don’t understand the new ways.”

The themes of class, thwarted ambition and dashed hopes run through a play that peels back the apparently respectable surface of 1930’s England. When solicitor Leonard Ardsley is discussing the plight of a family friend who, despite a distinguished war record, is facing bankruptcy and disgrace he says: “If a certain number of individuals had to suffer, it can’t be helped.” This cold conclusion informs the events throughout the play.

As we mark the heroic sacrifice of the First World War, W.Somerset Maugham’s absorbing drama looks at the disturbing aftermath with the same deep understanding of character that he shows in his novels and short stories. Controversial at the time, this is a rare chance to see what one critic described as his “dramatic masterpiece.”

As Next Stage Theatre Company prepares to celebrate its 25th Birthday in May, don’t miss the chance to see this elegant production, showcasing many of the company’s most talented actors.

For Services Rendered
This show was performed at The Mission Theatre, Bath in January 2019.

Director/s | Cast:

Bob Constantine

Bob Constantine

Director

Vanessa Bishop

Vanessa Bishop

Ethel Ardsley

Lydia Chalmers

Lydia Chalmers

Lois Ardsley

Hayley Fitton-Cook

Hayley Fitton-Cook

Eva Ardsley

Kay Francksen

Kay Francksen

Charlotte Ardsley

Mike Harley

Mike Harley

Howard Bartlett

David Holt

David Holt

Dr Prentice

Jeff Hughes

Jeff Hughes

Leonard Ardsley

Ren Leming

Ren Leming

Wilfred Cedar

Richard  Matthews

Richard Matthews

Sydney Ardsley

Nanouri Winchester

Nanouri Winchester

Gertrude

Judy Brett

Judy Brett

Gwen Cedar

Brian Fisher

Brian Fisher

Collie Stratton

Review/s of For Services Rendered:

Review 1: A seriously good production where the action never flags.

Set in 1932, also the year of its first performance, this play concerns the effect of the WW1 and the following Great Depression on the Ardsley family. Having been an ambulance driver, and subsequently a member of the Secret Intelligence Service, Maugham certainly knew whence he came. However, the play did not prove initially popular being somewhat anti-war, lasting for only 78 performance in the West…click here to read the whole review.

By Philip Horton, Bath Chronicle

Show and rehearsal photographs: