A Bill of Divorcement
After a safe start with The Dover Road, plays with more challenging themes were selected the following year to the apparent approval of the ever-growing audience.
Feminist writer Clemence Dane’s contemporary play A Bill of Divorcement directed by Barbara Sisley in 1926 was about marriage break-down and heredity’s link with mental illness. On June 21, 1926 the Brisbane Courier reviewed it as follows:
The Brisbane Repertory Theatre Society drew a record crowd to the Theatre Royal on Saturday night to see their second performance of "A Bill of Divorcement". This speaks well for the future of the society. If it can arouse the interest of the general public in dramatic literature without frightening it by any suggestion that the work of the society is educational, it must result in financial as well as aesthetic success. The standard of the acting, on the whole, was equal to that of many professional companies that have visited the city, and above that of many stock companies. With an increasing membership, and a greater number of acting members to choose amongst when casting a play, the difficulties of the producer in each instance should become fewer. It would be foolish to pretend that the casting of "A Bill of Divorcement" was ideal. There were one or two impersonations that were weak - the actor is born but his technique has to be made. Diction and accent are all important, and though Miss Sisley was able to induce all her people to speak to be heard, she could not get all of them to speak in that ringing tone, which, without affectation is entirely free of objectionable accent. Fortunately the three principal figures in the drama were excellently cast. Miss Sisley maintained the 19th century air, the amiable, loving and pathetically played wife, consistently throughout. Mr Alan Devereux painted a convincing picture of the highly strung and recently demented husband; and Miss Silvester showed wonderful resource and ability, especially in the comedy scenes that fall to the lot of the daughter, Sydney. It is to be regretted that the play could not be staged for a longer run than two nights, but the fact that the society's next production is to be made next month may be looked forward to with pleasure and satisfaction. The
The Brisbane Courier 21 June 1926