There must be an Angel…

A real moment of Brownhills Comprehensive in the 1970s, although I think they stopped public hanging on the common by then. Image kindly supplied by Brian Asbury.

Earlier this year I featured here some pictures and details from an eBay sale of a 1970s record made by Brownhills Comprehensive School that was the soundtrack to a musical theatre show called ‘The Devils and the Angels’, which was dated 1978.

The record generated a lot of interest and triggered many memories, and it seems the musical was a very well received show, expertly staged by children and staff, with music and story written by teachers – the story was indeed as I speculated originally – based on Leon Garfield’s famous novel ‘Smith’.

In recent days I’ve heard from Brian Asbury, former chemistry teacher at Brownhills Comprehensive, who performed in ‘The Devils and the Angels’ as Mr. Mansfield. Brian has shared this wonderful insight:

Hi Bob.

Earlier today I came across your blog from March 9th, in which you talked about finding a vinyl recording of the music and songs from ‘The Devils and the Angels’, a show performed at Brownhills Comprehensive School in 1977.

What a blast from the past this was.

‘The Devils and the Angels’ was an original musical by Ken Brereton, an English teacher at Brownhills Comp, with original music and songs by Rob Nunn. Ken did, indeed, base the script on ‘Smith’ by Leon Garfield, presumably with the author’s permission. I was teaching chemistry at the school at the time, and I played Mr Mansfield, an old blind magistrate who befriends Smith. I was about 24 at the time but my character was more the age I am now. I’ve got some great memories of that show.

Anyhoo, although I left a comment on the blog, I thought you might be interested in seeing the attached picture, which was the cover to the show programme (and I think we used it as a poster, too). I felt we should have used it as the album cover, but instead the pic used on that was by the head of art, whose name I forget. I didn’t personally like that picture, as no-one really knew what it was supposed to be. Typical art teacher effort! In case you were wondering, the pic in the attached jpg was drawn by yours truly, and is signed ‘BKA 77’.

I’ve often wondered if the show was ever performed again anywhere. It would be a shame if it never was – I thought it was a bloody good musical!

Brian Asbury

Thanks to Brian for that – it’s great to be able to clarify the story and record it for posterity. Like Brian, I wonder if it ever was performed again – and how many such productions like slumbering that would have maybe been hits?

The sale has now ended, and I believe the record was purchased by a reader who was in the show! You can see the original sale by seller Ocean_Amazon here.

If you have anything to add regarding the record, the performance, or any of the folk listed, please do get in tough. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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1 Response to There must be an Angel…

  1. Paul Clayton says:

    I remember watching one of the performances of this production, as I attended Brownhills Comprehensive between 1977 and 1982. It was a very enjoyable performance by Pupils and Staff and had a wonderful soundtrack which I remember having on LP. Unfortunately I lost the LP somewhere over the years and would love to hear it again, wonderful memories.

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