by Evan Jones
Starring Ursula Howells, Maureen Pryor
with David Warner
and introducing Bob Dylan
See page 13
"I have decided to retire from the world. I shall leave your name with Mrs. Griggs, my landlady, who will notify you when I die. Please arrange for my burial, as I do not wish to trouble the occupants of the house more than is
necessary." The ominous letter from the brother whom she has not seen for fourteen years brings Martha Tompkins to his boarding-house in Castle Street - only to find that Walter has locked himself in his room and is slowly starving
to death. But why? Has he committed some crime? His fellow boarders, Bernard the
truck driver, Lennie the student, and Bobby the guitar-playing hobo, together with Martha and two strange visitors, try to unravel Walter's secret - and in so doing find themselves revealing the secrets of their own past.
"The Madhouse on Castle Street" is the third play for BBC-tv by Evan Jones, following "The Widows of Jaffa" and "In a Backward Country." His film scripts include "The Damned," which has yet to be released, and "Eve," which stars the outstanding French actress Jeanne Moreau in her first English-speaking part.
In Philip Saville's production, Martha Tompkins is played by Ursula Howells, while Maureen Pryor is cast as Mrs. Griggs the landlady and James Mellor as Bernard. Appearing as Bobby the hobo is Bob Dylan, brought over from America especially to play the part. Only twenty-one, he is already a major new figure in folk-music, with a reputation as one of the most compelling blues singers ever recorded. The song for which he is best known is "Talkin' New York," about his first visit to the city in 1961. A skilled guitarist, his special kind of haunting music forms an integral part of tonight's strange play.