Versatility of Box Doctors
Many thanks for the summer issue of Box People & Places. What a blast from the past which certainly brought back memories. I remember Dr Kevin Gruffyd Jones played the Landlord of the Chequers in A Devil’s Device play which was a much better role than he played in one of the pantomimes in his early years in Box as the Village Idiot. We had to call Kevin out one Christmas Eve to our daughter Samantha who was 16 at the time and he had to give her an injection in her bottom. After he left, I asked Sam if she was okay, to which she replied "Yes but all I could think of was the Village Idiot injecting my bum". I did tell Kevin later when we got to know him better.
I was in a fortunate position doing front of house each night so I got to see the play in all its glory on each occasion. Another moment that stands out for me was Dr John Bullen as The Surgeon riding a horse. John and his horse were clearly not used to thetrical performances and judging by the look on both of their faces they both looked as if a pantomime horse might have been a much more appropriate role. I admired John's courage in the whole thing.
Kevin Gruffyd Jones in A Devil’s Device (courtesy Carol Payne)
And then of course there's the Box Revels a whole story in itself, when Kevin acted singlehandedly as the master of ceremonies from the top of the Bath Chronicle bus. Talking endlessly to keep matter going even when they were falling apart. Happy memories !!
The acting ability of Dr Kevin and Dr John may not have been “theatrical legend” status but it made a huge difference in Box. Because the doctors were local residents who joined in with local events, people thought of them as companions and showed that the doctors’ surgery was a friendly, welcoming place to come when ill. This was particularly important for those fearing they had scary symptoms. Along with the school, the churches and the Selwyn Hall, Box Surgery is a building that gives the village a real sense of community.