Our Lady's Tumbler

by Ronald Duncan
Produced by Edward Burnham

Guildford Repertory Theatre Company / Resurgent Theatre

Tour: October/ November

  • Brother Sebastian (a poet) ..... Raymond Turner
    Brother Andrew (a novice) ..... Frank Finlay
    Brother Gregory (a gardener) ..... Keith Ashley
    Father Marcellus (An Abbot) ..... James Mcloughlin
    Brother Justin (A Composer) ..... Vincent Goodman

  • Esher Old Church - Friday 14 October 1955

    One of the most moving scenes that has ever taken place in Esher Old Church was performed before an audience of about 80 people when the Resurgent Theatre presented "Our Lady’s Tumbler" by Ronald Duncan, on Friday. But it was more act of worship : prayers before and after, and the absolute sincerity in which it was acted, lifted it far above the average play.

    The story tells of a novice monk who was once a clown. He has nothing to offer Our Lady on her feast day except his art. When everybody has left the chapel after offering their gifts he gives a "gala performance" in front of the statue. .

    The novice monk was played by Frank Finlay, and his performance as he tumbled before the statue, speaking to it all the time, was one that will not be forgotten. Like the rest of the play it was sincere, simple and deeply moving. His face changed rapidly from an expression of pride as he thought of a trick or dance to one of extreme disappointment as he found he could not do them as well as he could in the past. .

    Again and again he struggled to do another turn, but steadily he grew weaker and weaker until at last he died before the statue. .

    Brother Sebastian, the poet, played by Raymond Turner gave a convincing performance, supported by Keith Ashley, James McLoughlin and Vincent Goodman. Producer was Edward Burnham. .

    Prayers were led by the Rev. John Huggins (rector), who entertained the company afterwards. .

    About £13 was raised during the evening. The company tour the East End of London and prisons, and the money will help to finance them on these tours.

    Esher News and Mail - Friday 21 October 1955