English Stage Company at The Royal Court




By Edward Bond


Directed by William Gaskill


First Performance was November 3rd, 1965


(presented only for the members of the English Stage Society)









Concerned with a group of South Londoners, Saved aroused some controversy in the Press.











Theatre World, December 1965 Review


This new play by Edward Bond, the third offering in the new repertory, is distinguished by the Lord Chamberlains cachet of dissent and has a loathly fascination. Fifty years ago, in a justification for realism, Gorki declared that truth is stronger than pity and vile fact must be voiced. Perhaps because Saved is so nasty, it is nearer to reality than any other play to be seen in London.


It is about a drab who had a baby and neglected it. Her own parents, with whom she lived, accepted no responsibility for anything. They had long ago lost respect for each other and lived together in a condition of silent animosity. Gwen Nelson brought a quant, unlikely primness to the unpleasant character of the girls mother and thus extracted comedy from some basically painful scenes.


The only person who felt concern about the baby was Len, a young man of whom Pam, its mother, had grown tired. He was not the babys father, although he could have been, but he lived in the house. He was not there to rescue the child when Pam abandoned it in its perambulator in a public park and a gang of vicious louts amused themselves by ill-treating it so that it died. Fred, the father of the child in likelihood, whom Pam desperately followed about, was one of the infanticides and, being last away, was caught and sentenced to a short term of imprisonment. After all this, Fred had to be ruthless to make Pam realize that he did not want her.


There was disgustingly realistic acting by supporting members of the cast of ten. Denunciation is advertisement but some may wonder that a company could be collected for the play. Barbara Ferris as the young whore, John Castle as her faithful but rejected follower, and Tony Selby as the man who rejected her, gave rather impressive performances. In spite of, or because of, its squalor, the play held attention riveted and was warmly applauded by members of the English Stage Society. H.G.M.




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