"John Gielgud's first production was the Oxford University Dramatic Society's Romeo and Juliet in 1932. The youthful cast was a glittering one and the production launched several people on their theatrical careers, notably Peggy Ashcroft in the role of Juliet. For the role of the Nurse, Gielgud had the inspired idea of asking Edith Evans, already a considerable star, and she agreed to play the part.

"There were various hitches at the first performance and by the time of the final curtain Gielgud was in a state of acute nervous tension. All the flowery compliments that he had intended to pay Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft flew out of his head as he stepped to the front of the stage.

"What he actually ended up doing was thanking 'two leading ladies, the like of whom I hope I shall never meet again.'"

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