Plays Directory : Cold Comfort Farm

Welcome to The Mandy Network Plays Directory.

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    Stella Gibbons (novel)
  • Written
  • Setting
  • Overview
    The heroine, Flora Poste, having been orphaned is looking for relatives with whom to live. After rejecting a number of others, she chooses the Starkadders, relatives on her mother's side, who live in the isolated Cold Comfort Farm, near the fictional Sussex village of Howling. Greeting her as "Robert Poste's child", they take her in to repay some unexplained wrong done to her father.

    Each of the extended family has some long-festering emotional problem caused by ignorance, hatred or fear; and the farm is badly run, supposedly cursed, and presided over by the unseen presence of Aunt Ada Doom, who is said to be mad through having seen "something nasty in the woodshed".

    Flora, a level-headed urban woman, applies modern common sense to their problems and helps them all adapt to the twentieth century.

    It parodies the romanticised, sometimes doom-laden accounts of rural life popular at the time, by writers such as Mary Webb.

    Although the book was published in 1932, the setting is an unspecified near future after a 1946 "Anglo-Nicaraguan War" containing developments such as video phones, aircraft postal services, and major demographic changes in London such as residential districts south of the Thames becoming fashionable.

    Notably adapted for the stage by Paul Doust. The plot was simplified a little in order to make it suitable for the stage. Many characters, including Mybug, Mrs. Beetle, Meriam, Mark Dolour and Mrs. Smiling, are omitted. Meriam's character was merged with Rennet, who ends up with Urk at the end. As a consequence, both Rennet's and Urk's roles are much bigger than in the book. Mrs. Smiling is absent because the action begins with Flora's arrival in Sussex; Charles appears only to drop her off and pick her up again at the end. Mark Dolour, though mentioned several times in the play as a running joke, never appears on stage. Finally, instead of visiting a psychoanalyst to cure her obsession, Judith leaves with Neck at the end.

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