Ian Richardson in Trelawny
Bristol and London, 1972
The show chosen to reopen the Bristol Old Vic after refurbishment
in 1972. It proved a great success, and transferred to London,
first to Sadler's Wells and later to The Savoy. The splendid
cast was largely intact on transferring to London, except for
Timothy West, who was replaced by Max Adrian.
Trelawny is based upon Arthur Wing Pinero's play, Trelawny
of the Wells. The 'Wells' of the title being Sadler's
Wells, there was a particularly emotional homecoming when the
show arrived there.
With a book by Aubrey Woods and music by Julian Slade, Trelawny
has charm and warmth and humour. The story portrays the
conflict between the old style theatre and the (then) new.
Ian plays the hero, Tom Wrench, a small part player who wants
to write about "real people". He has a delightfull
song lamenting his lack of scope in the company, in which he explains
that as a "Walking Gentleman" he will be forever "walking
on", whilst Rose Trelawny will go on to be a star.
Tom is in love with Rose, but she loves a young aristocrat. There
is conflict in the play between the old and new forms of theatre,
and also between the father of Rose's lover and the people of
the theatre, whom he despises as gipsies. He is finally
won over by being reminded of Kean, whom he saw in his youth and
recognized as a great actor.
The play ends with the company preparing to put on Tom's play.
The scene at the end when Tom bravely accepts that Rose can never
be his, and tells the company to get on with the rehearsal of
his play, pulled heartstrings in the theatre, and comes over powerfully
on the record.
Ian Richardson in My
To my great regret, I cannot review this, because it coincided
with a particularly penurous period of my life. If I had known
how long it would be before I could see Ian on stage again, I would
have got there if I had to swim the Atlantic. Ian received
rave notices for his performance as Professor Higgins.