Jack & The Beanstalk – The Hippodrome Theatre – Changi POW Camp (Dec 1943)

Jack & the Beanstalk

Jack & the Beanstalk - Cast

‘There was no quality so touchingly likeable in prisoner of war psychology as the childish capacity of everyone for enjoying pantomimes. Each Christmas, without fail, thousands of haggard, misshapen, disillusioned men went galloping down to the theatre to see the pantomime and , unashamedly, to enjoy it.’

Source: Unknown Author, ‘On with the Motley: The Changi Concert Party’, in Lachlan Grant (ed.), The Changi Book, Published by New South in association with the Australian War Memorial, 2015, pg. 143

“We really got together as guests of the Japanese at Towner Road Working Camp and then Serangoon Road. There were three of us Des, Steve and myself and we formed variously The Maggoty Rice Melodymakers or the Singapore Municipal Orchestra.

Des on harmonica, Steve on guitar, and myself on the smallest piano accordion that you can imagine (I still have it). We were on working parties as team of three during the days a and we played to the troops under the stars at night.

Our greatest success was a Panto- Jack and the Beanstalk at Serangoon Road The words and music were a combined effort worked out working parties on the Des painted the back drop scenery on old tent canvas including the outside of an English Country Cottage.

Steve had a fantastic memory for the words of the songs we used. I wrote the libretto and produced the show. Because of the production, I’m afraid that I was given the credit in the Regimental history, but it was a three man affair.

After that we went to Changi, which despite what the press says was a holiday camp compared with the working camps. We were largely employed on constructing Changi Aerodrome but here the three of us were split up Although we kept in touch, we were no longer a trio.

With kind regards,