Written by John Arden

Directed by Robert Chetwyn

Ian McKellen in the role of Private Sparky

Arts Theatre, Ipswich, Suffolk

24 September 1963 - 5 October 1963


Words from Ian McKellen

Another ambitious choice from Robert Chetwyn, who was always concerned to mix the light with the heavy, the merely entertaining with the more thought-provoking. I enjoyed playing the young lad. Sparky, giving my “little-boy-lost” performance. Encouraged by my new agent Elspeth Cochrane and by James Cairncross (whom she also represented), John Neville and Frank Dunlop attended the matinee performance on 1st October. They were recruiting a company for the newly-built Nottingham Playhouse. I passed muster and was invited to join them in the autumn.

Banner photo: L to R: Ian McKellen, James Cairncross, Gabrielle Hamilton, Andrew Keir, Peter Griffin, Josie Kidd, Gawn Grainger, Mark Follett.

Despite the songs and occasional jollity, this was the most depressing play to act in — we all agreed.