Androcles and the Lion

by

Bernard Shaw

The Fourth Form Play, Autumn 1959

l/r John Bows, Gerard Nosowski, John Pressley, Roger Harrison (hidden), David Cook,
Bob Hollands, Ian Johnson (hidden), Simon Mattam, Peter Grimsditch (front),
Neil Struthers (the Lion), Paul Whyman, Nicholas Jowett (back), Bernard Argent,
Martin Hall, Howard Culley (Sheffield Wednesday FC!).

L to r David Cook, John Pressley, Ian Johnson (all at the back), Nicholas Jowett,
Simon Mattam, Bernard Argent (hiding Bob Hollands and Roger Harrison), Ian Barrow.

Producer Mr. R.B.Chalmers, Photos Philip Hetherington.

 

Programme

THE FOURTH FORM

PRESENTS
"Androcles and the Lion"
BY
BERNARD SHAW

CAST

THE EMPEROR

PAUL WHYMAN

THE CAPTAIN

BERNARD Argent

ANDROCLES

PETER GRIMSDITCH

LION

NEIL STRUTHERS

LENTULUS

ASHLEY WILKS

METELLUS

HOWARD CULLEY

FERROVIUS

MARTIN HALL

SPINTHO

ALASTAIR GUNN

THE CENTURION

IAN BARROW

THE EDITOR

PETER BELL

THE CALLBOY

DAVID MEREDITH

SECUTOR

GERARD NOSOWSKI

RETIARIUS

JOHN BOWS

MENAGERIE KEEPER

STEPHEN HARSTON

MEGAERA

DAVID MINGAY

LAVINIA

NICHOLAS JOWETT

Christians, Soldiers, Servants, Gladiators, Slaves
P. G. WELLS, I. M. JOHNSON, J. S. PRESSLEY, D. B. COOK, R. A. HOLLANDS, P. S. MATTAM,
R. D. HARRISON, D. A. BOOTH, J. W. BOWS, D. W. BINGHAM, G. M. NOSOWSKI,
P. D. ROBINSON, E. V. BLACKBURN, R. AINSWORTH, D. M. MEREDITH,
C. M. DOLAN, I. W. BARROW, R. ROOK, D. V. GUNSON, J. A. TOMLINSON

The setting of the Prologue is a jungle, and the subsequent Acts take place in Imperial Rome at a time of Christian persecution.

PRODUCED BY -  MR. R. B. CHALMERS

The Producers wish to offer their thanks for the help given by the following friends of the Dramatic Society .

Additional Costumes

MRS. HAROLD  MILLER  AND  MOTHERS OF THE CAST

Stage Management

MR. P. J. WATSON-LIDDEL  AND  MR. D. RHODES, AND THEIR STAGE TEAMS

Stage Construction

MR. A. W. SURGUY, MR. D. C. JINKS AND THE CRAFT AND CONSTRUCTION SOCIETY

Lighting

MR. W. K. MACE AND THE LIGHTING TEAM

Make-up

MR. E. F. WATLING AND MR. J. C. HEMMING

Front of House

MR. P. D. C. POINTS

Tickets

MR. W. BIRKINSHAW  AND  MR. G. W. TAYLOR

(Names, programme and photos courtesy of David Cook)


KES Magazine, January 1960:

Middle School Plays

THE first thing is to applaud the choice of plays. Twelve months ago we were little more than entertained; this year, The Boy with a Cart, produced by Mr. Bridgwater, and Androcles and the Lion, Mr. Chalmers producing, provided a nicely contrasted, ambitious bill, which some schools would have been glad to attempt as their main dramatic offering of the year.

It would be easy to be patronising about The Boy with a Cart; a difficult play was attempted here which certainly justified itself on one of the performances. The main and obvious weakness was the inability of Cuthman to speak, or even to appear to understand, his verse. Siddall captured some of the vigour of the young saint, but he never convincingly portrayed his spiritual qualities, and his irritating diction showed that he has much to learn about dramatic speaking. Others were not blameless in this; indeed Fry's line "I'm always lagging a little behind your thoughts" assumed new meaning for at least one member of the audience; but Sarginson and Wilson brought dignity and life to some of the choruses.

The most notable performance came from D. D. Jones as Cuthman's mother, whose gestures, timing, and clarity built up a convincing character, and revealed a talent which should be very valuable in future productions. Amos gave a mature, even mellow rendering as Tawm, providing welcome variety in the vocal range, as did Lucas, whose Mrs. Fipps added a burst of vigour to a rather static play. No set was needed for the simple production, but by pleasing grouping, with effective costumes and properties, significant atmosphere was achieved.

Androcles and the Lion is a play of lucidity, genuine humour, and interesting ideas, with a typically Shavian mixture of the comic and the serious. The performance opened triumphantly with Grimsditch and Mingay losing no opportunity in an admirably produced prologue. Androcles here, and throughout the play, contributed a most sympathetic performance, with an intelligent mixture of pathos and brightness; Grimsditch is to be congratulated. Mingay, adding to his range, revealed an impressive potential gift for comedy. Another praiseworthy contribution came from Hall as Ferrovius. His zealous determination and energy exploited the comic possibilities of the part without ever sacrificing the audience's sympathy for his sincerity. In contrast to Ferrovius is the character of Spintho, and here Gunn, if less in control of his part than Hall, nevertheless aroused the right measure of contempt and pity in the audience.

To claim that these characters overshadowed Lavinia and the Captain is only to say that Jowett and Argent had more difficult parts, and that it is a weakness of the play rather than of the production that we were conscious of static moments between these two. Jowett's weakness is a certain monotony of voice, but he looked admirably patrician, and did well in the part, and Argent made an agreeably resolute and reasonable soldier. Whyman is to be commended for his interpretation of the various sides of Caesar's character, another performance which was all the better for being intelligently controlled. We shall also remember Barrow's harassed Centurion, Struthers' magnificent Lion, and an enthusiastic though rather unequally clad) band of soldiers, the gladiators and the Christians, all of whom contributed to a most entertaining production.

The two plays, both religious, yet so different, made a very successful evening: thanks are due to all concerned in their production. A plea might finally be added for backstage discipline in future. Less experienced actors should remember their obligations to their audience when off stage. There was, on both evenings, an audible ebullience in the wings and down the corridor.

P. D. C. P., D. E. R.