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1944; Gallows Glorious


The glorious fight of John, Brown and his family and followers to release from their bondage the American slaves, which is the theme of Ronald Gow's play "Gallows Glorious" performed at the Monoux Grammar School, Walthamstow, by the Dramatic Society, if it is to be sincerely depicted, requires a depth of religious feeling in some parts which constitutes no mean task for established actors.
It was not to be expected that schoolboys would achieve this, but so intelligently did the Monoux players set about their task, upheld by their more than efficient producer, Mr.H.Hyde, that the result was a very moving whole; a most satisfactory "comeback" for the Society, the activities of which have been in abeyance at the School during the war.
Donald Ridealgh not only looked the part as John Brown, but spoke his lines impressively, and a matching performance was that of Walter Ridgway as the son, Owen Brown, an intense and almost fanatical follower of his father. Geoffrey Barrett made a very pretty Annie Brown. Both he and Stuart Barker as Kagi, John Brown's secretary, made a most valiant effort to appear in love! The important part of Mrs. John Brown was played by Mr Hyde, a practised player in amateur dramatics, and among the chief supporting parts Peter Dunn's portrayal of Watson Brown, a casualty of the Harper's Ferry episode, was notable. Other performances of merit were those of Anthony Risley (Ellen Brown), Charles Plouviez (Uncle Jeremiah), Raymond Hastings (Shields Green. a negro), and Kenneth Lewis as a gum-chewing reporter with a bent for fiction. Others in the cast were Keith Jefferies, Dennis Butcher, Robert Sandow, Ronald Lander, Peter Mitchell, Derek Smith, Bill Norris, Keith Pearce and John Percival.
A School orchestra played under Mr. L.C.Belchatnbcrs, and Messrs. A.C.Brobyn and. A.L.Hayes looked after the staging and lighting; one of the unlooked-for "hits" of the evening was the sang-froid of Mr. Hyde when difficulties were encountered with the "utility" lighting.
[The above account is reproduced by kind permission or the Walthamstow Guardian - ED.].