I started to keep a diary in January 1974. The 23 January entry is my first record of visiting the theatre, although I went with my parents to see pantomimes and children’s shows before then.
This visit I’m sure was my first school trip to the theatre, an Alleyn’s School outing. I think just for my class; 1S, probably Ian Sandbrook’s initiative. It was a revival of the first production at the Young Vic Theatre, which I think therefore makes it the Young Vic’s first production as an independent theatre company. It seems the revival was a precursor to a glittering US transfer.
All the 11 year old “critic” wrote at the time was:
“Scapino v good indeed. Jim Dale good. Got to bed very late.”
Yet the evening stays quite clearly in my memory. I remember liking the patter song about Italian food and I also recall catching a plastic facsimile of a glass of wine and keeping it in a bottom drawer for years and years. It survived many clear outs, but I think it came a cropper in the end. Who knows, it might turn up in one of my junk boxes some day.
This Michael Billington piece about that production and the early days of the independent Young Vic is charming, click here.
This archive review from the Columbia Daily Spectator was written only a couple of months after our visit. The late great Ian Charleson gets an honourable mention in this piece.
I started keeping a diary on 1 January 1974. A little Letts Schoolboys Diary.
In the back of the diary, in a notes section, I wrote down the names of all the members of my class, which was 1S. Against some of those classmates’ names I also wrote a nickname.
Just in case my handwriting, scanning and Photoshop skills are inadequate for your purposes, I set the text out below – apologies for replicated spelling errors and for some of the ghastly nicknames:
Barrett – Bass, Titchbass
Candappa – Candyfloss
Dallaway – Dallers
French – Frog
Frerson – Dreary-Frery
Harley – Charley
Manhood – Manhunt
Mayne – Miles-Of-Mainline-Railway
Payne – In The Neck
Rickett – LEFT
I don’t think Guy Rickett was nicknamed “Left”, I think that is a note to say that he left the school.
Now some of the above nicknames are weaker and thinner than a pound-shop condom; I find it hard to believe that many of them had regular currency at the school, although one or two I remember did.
Further, the rest of us must have had nicknames of some sort at one time or another – frankly my juvenile nickname survey lacks quantitative as well as qualitative merit.
Surely some people out there can help fill in the blanks or put matters right, even after all these years? Comments and suggestions, please. Those from other classes are welcome to add their names and nicknames to the pile.