Ian McKellen Stage
Caste, pre-cursor of kitchen-sink drama, was the first play in which a real cup of tea was brewed onstage. L to R: Jonathan Meddings, Josie Kidd, Ian McKellen
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THE BIG KILLING

CASTE

Written by T W Robertson
Directed by Robert Chetwyn
Ian McKellen in the role of Sam Gerridge
Arts Theatre, Ipswich, Suffolk
8 October 1962 - 20 October 1962

Words from Ian McKellen

T. W.Robertson was disguised as the playwright hero Tom Wrench in Pinero's Trelawny of the Wells. Caste is a precursor of the new drama of the 1960s (written 100 years earlier) and was a great discovery for us all. I was Sam Gerridge the odd-job man. It was one of those performances that just happened, without strain or much planning, convincing me that maybe I was acting better, after my year at the Belgrade Theatre.
Comments and Reviews
Producer Robert Chetwyn wrote in the programme for the previous production:

"Our next production will be "CASTE" by T. W. Robertson, and it is possibly that rare bird, a play that suits almost all tastes. To begin with it is a play that created an enormous stir when it was first produced in 1867 at the Prince of Wales Theatre. It was in fact the forerunner of all modern drama and quite revolutionary at the time. Today it is just as fresh and charming as ever but hardly revolutionary!

"However, it is amusing to know that this play surprised our great, great grandfathers, as much as "THE CARETAKER" or "TASTE OF HONEY" has surprised us! "CASTE" has been popular for nearly 100 years and we see no reason why its popularity should not last another two weeks!"

"Ian McKellen, her down-to-earth intended, somehow puts across the Victorian atmosphere in the modern idiom with remarkably good effect." Evening Star