Written by Richard Cottrell

Directed by Garry O'Connor

Ian McKellen in the role of Harry

ADC Theatre Cambridge, Arts Theatre Club London

28 April 1959 - 11 August 1959


Words from Ian McKellen

After exploring old age disguised as Shallow, this new play had me playing my own age. I realised that in preparation for the professional theatre I needed practice in the sort of youthful parts I would hope to be cast in.

University Actors (hiring the ADC theatre) promoted new writing. Richard Cottrell based his first play on his experience in Germany during National Service. My own had been postponed till after university but others, like Richard and some of the cast had already served for two years in the armed forces. There was always a divide between the men returning to Cambridge from duties with National Service and the younger boys, like me, who were fresh from school.

Four months later we transferred to the Arts Theatre in central London for a week's exciting run. — Ian McKellen, December 2006

Comments and Reviews

One of "Five Undergraduate Plays" written by Cambridge students, Richard Cottrell's first play. Cambridge run 28 April - 2 May 1959. Opened in repertory with "Clair de Lune", London 5 August 1959.
"Mr McKellen's exploration of the emotion of disgrace when he recognises his moral inablity to stand up to the responsibilities he has incurred is a poignant climax to the second scene." — Harold Hobson, Sunday Times 9 August 1959


Banner photo: Ill send for you when everythings settled. -- Harry (Ian McKellen) and Anna (Margaret Drabble), London production
Photo by John Bulmer


Full Cast List