Little Malcolm & His Struggle Against The Eunuchs

The plot of David Halliwell's 1965 play is said to have been based on an incident when Halliwell was expelled from art school.

Malcolm Scrawdyke is expelled from his Huddersfield art college and persuades fellow students Ingham, Wick and Nipple to join him in forming the Party of Dynamic Erection.

Confident that the youth of the nation will rush to join them, their only worry, as expressed by Ingham, is whether they will have enough chairs.

Their first revolutionary act will be to humiliate the college's principal.

Meanwhile, Scrawdyke agonises over his complete failure to attract the attention of fellow student, Ann.

Although he is only guilty of failing to fit in with the others' ideas of how they should be, the conspirators decide that Nipple is a spy and he is tried and expelled from the party.

When she finally appears, Ann, more than anyone, ultimately falls victim to Scrawdyke's inadequacy and his desperate thirst for some kind of power.

Scrawdyke's life, we soon learn, has been all about planning the great things he will never do. He has gathered this bunch of losers around him to support his hopelessly fragile self-esteem and yet, ultimately, even they are stronger and more realistic than he is.

In the end, he is left alone, still planning one hopeless act – perhaps out of genuine remorse, more likely in a last desperate attempt to hold onto some fragment of his great plans.

The play is, in many ways, a period piece with its timely warning of how revolutionary ideals often stem from baser, selfish motives and can soon shade into fascism. It can be no accident that its student revolutionaries display, apparently unconscious, admiration for Hitler's organisational abilities

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 11:03 / 15th May 2021 / 3427

Page Ref: KK_43

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