Rex Garner

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(****-****). Actor and director. Worked with the Academy Theatre. (SACD 1973)

GARNER, Rex (19**-) British born actor and director, who came to South Africa to work for Pieter Toerien?* in 19**. Later became a partner in the Pieter Toerien Company. Directed and acted in numerous farces for Toerien over the years, including ***, **. Also played more serious roles, winning a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award, Best Actor as "Father Tim" in Mass Appeal in 1983 and as "Dad" in Tim Plewman's Breakfast with Dad (2004). As director did inter alia Noises Off (1983, Fleur du Cap Best Director), Also did some film work and television farce, including ***. He returned to England in 2002/3?*, but still returned on occasion for a performance. In 1999 he received the Fleur du Cap Lifetime Award for his contribution to the industry.

GARNER, Rex. English actor who eventually settled here. Pieter Toerien named a theatre after him. He starred in Uproar in the House, which was staged at The Academy Theatre of Laughter in July 1967. It also starred Patricia Sanders, Gordon Mulholland, Hal Orlandini and Kenneth Baker. Together with Ray Cooney, he starred in Cooney’s Not Now, Darling. It was staged at the The Academy Theatre of Laughter in 1967 and was also directed by Cooney, He directed Chase Me Comrade and The Man Most Likely To, starring Leslie Phillips at the Academy Theatre 1969.

He directed Harvey which starred Petrina Fry and Brian Brooke and was staged at the Brooke Theatre in 1969. He directed the hit Stand by Your Bedouin in 1970. He directed The Lionel Touch, starring Joe Stewardson, Vivienne Drummond, Kenneth Baker and Diane Appleby for The Academy Theatre of Laughter at the Alexander Theatre in 1971. He later married Tammy Bonell. He directed John Hayter, Peter Elliot and Ian Drummond in The Brass Hat for the Academy at the Brooke Theatre in 1972. He directed Ken Smith, Diane Appleby and Erica Rogers in Boeing-Boeing for the Academy in 1972. He directed Till Bed Do Us Part by Louis Ife at the Little Theatre as its opening production in November 1973. It starred and was presented by Louis Ife and Barbara Kinghorn.

He starred in The Academy’s production of Birds of Paradise directed by Michael Pertwee together with George Korelin, Melody O’Brian and Pat Sanders in 1974. Together with Penny Croft he starred in the comedy Why Not Stay for Breakfast? at the Academy in 1976. He starred in Say Something together with John Hayter, George Korelin and Melody O’Brian and Fringe Benefits starring with Erica Rogers at the Academy in 1977.

He also directed a musical version of Not Now Darling called Once More, Darling with Erica Rogers, David Morton, Derek Royle and Patricia Sanders for the Academy in 1977. He presented There Goes the Bride and The Loudest Tears in Town at the Academy in 1978. He directed himself, Melody O’Brian and George Korelin in What More Could She Want at the Alexander Theatre, before taking it to the Academy in 1979. He directed the Academy Productions production of Ernest Thomson’s On Golden Pond starring Clifford Mollison, Margo Johns, Clare Marshall and Robin Dolton in 1979. He directed Doctor on the Boil starring Geoffrey Sumner at the Academy in 1979. He starred in Middle Age Spread with Helen Jessop and Eric Flynn. Pieter Toerien sponsored a tour of this play before it opened at the André Huguenet Theatre in October 1980.

He starred in Pieter Toerien’s production of Agatha Christie’s The Spider’s Web together with Shelagh Holliday, Paddy Canavan and Kenneth Baker at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1981. He starred in Pieter Toerien’s production of John Chapman and Dave Freeman’s Key for Two together with Gordon Mulholland and Moira Lister at the Alhambra Theatre in 1982. He directed Who Goes Bare starring Tim Plewman and Jonathan Rands at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1982. Pieter Toerien opened a new auditorium at the Alhambra Theatre in 1983 called the Leonard Rayne Theatre which was renamed the Rex Garner in 1994. He starred in Pieter Toerien’s production of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off together with Joy Stewart Spence, Eckard Rabe, Clare Marshall, Ralph Lawson and Kenneth Baker at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1983. It returned later that same year for another run. He directed Clarence Darrow starring Richard Haines at the Leonard Rayne in January 1984. It returned twice and played at the Grahamstown Festival.

He starred in Ray Cooney’s Run for Your Wife together with Michael Richard which Pieter Toerien presented at the Alhambra Theatre in February 1984 after a run in Cape Town. He directed himself, Fiona Ramsay, Jonathan Rands and Neville Thomas in In praise of Rattigan in 1984. He directed Michael Frayn’s Benefactors for Pieter Toerien in 1985. He starred in One for the Pot for Pieter Toerien in 1985. He starred in Ray Cooney’s Two into One for Pieter Toerien at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1986. He directed Bill Flynn in The Foreigner and Tobie Cronjé in Funny Peculiar in 1986. He starred in Bernard Slade’s Tribute for Pieter Toerien in 1987. He directed Ray Cooney’s Wife Begins at Forty at the Alhambra in 1987. He directed Cahoots at the Leonard Rayne in 1988. He directed James Kirkwood’s Legends at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1988. He directed and starred in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1989. He starred in Jeffrey Archer’s Beyond Reasonable Doubt was at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1989. He directed and starred in Move Over Mrs Markham at the Alhambra in 1990. He directed Richard Harris’s The Maintenance Man at the Leonard Rayne in 1990. He starred in Pieter Toerien’s production of Lend Me a Tenor in 1990. He directed Grin and Bare It at the Victory Theatre in 1990. He starred in Never the Sinner which opened at the Leonard Rayne on 28 September 1991. He directed and starred in Ray Cooney’s Out of Order at the Alhambra in 1992. He directed Michael Pertwee’s Birds of Paradise at the Alhambra in 1992. He starred in and directed Harold Brooke and Kay Bannerman’s The Earl and the Pussycat at the Leonard Rayne in 1992. He directed Don’t Dress for Dinner in 1993. Together with Tammy Garner he directed James Sherman’s Beau Jest in 1993. He directed and starred in Ray Cooney’s It Runs in the Family in 1993. (Tucker, 1997)

GARNER, Rex. Uproar in the House (director) 1968. Not Now Darling,, 1968. Noises off, (director) Mass Appeal (best actor) (1983 – Fleur de Cap award for both). 1984 Director for Clarence Darrow. . Bill Flynn as Hercule Poirot in Black Coffee (A. Christie) Toerien production,Dir: Rex Garner, CT, PE, Dbn, Absurd Person Singular, Pieter Toerien-produksie, 1998. Visiting Mr Green, 1998.

Quoted from the programme of the production Two Into One done in 1986: 'Rex first came to South Africa in 1968 to direct and play in Uproar in the House. He then commuted between here and the UK for some years. He eventually moved here permanently, is married to Tammy Bonell, and they share their lives with three adorable small daughters. He has appeared in and/or directed some 30 plays, notably Uproar in the House, Not Now Darling, Move Over Mrs Markham, Birds of Paradise, The Brass Hat, Harvey, Chase Me Comrade. Middle Age Spread, Spider's Web, Cheaters, Moving, Who Goes Bare, Mass Appeal, Noises Off and Run For Your Wife (the last eight for Pieter Toerien). His first play in the West End was Dr Angelus, then followed The Square Ring, The Trial of Mr Pickwick, Cactus Flower and the musical Instant Marriage. He has appeared in well over 200 TV shows of all kinds including Shadow Squad and My Wife and I. Rex has also appeared in Australia and Germany as well as on Broadway and has spent some time filming in Rome. He also directed Chase Me Comrade in Holland. TV here includes The Settlers and as the subject of Profile. Moving was filmed for the small screen, and he has done a series of 13 panel games entitled Take My Word, and The First Day of Christmas in which he played Santa Claus. In 1983 Rex won two Fleur du Cap Awards (Best Director - Noises Off and Best Actor - Mass Appeal), making him the first person ever to receive two Awards. In 1984 he directed Clarence Darrow which won quarterly Vita Award for Best Production and for which Rex won Dalro's Breytenbach Epathlon Best Director

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