Location: Theatre Royal Haymarket
Part: Billy Mitchell
Happy Breed is a nine-scene narration of the quiet, but absorbing
history of the Gibbons family in their Clapham Common home. Here are the
elements typical of so many of the backbone, estimable families of
"this little isle" - families that leave no mark, individually or
collectively, on recorded history, but whose strivings and aspirations
and centuries-old code of decent conduct, constantly observable even
through quarrels, contretemps and varying reactions to joy or sorrow,
have gone to form "this happy breed" which is the despair of
dictators and tyrants.
The Gibbons family is a normal one even in its departures from normality. Father is indulgent but firm; mother is loyal, stable, harassed, respectable to a fault. The children and children-in-law show the customary symptoms of growing pains. James Donald`s drawing of Billy (the faithful sailor lover of the daughter who craved for more abundant life) is a sure and restrained piece of artistry.