Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is a playful revue, partly English, partly French, and wholly topical, dealing with an impromptu performance given by a refugee troupe at the provincial theatre where it takes shelter on its flight from the Continent. There is a good deal of harmless chaff of the familiar bedroom-scene comedy for lady, the lover and the burglar, of championship boxing and of various popular players, winding up with illustrations of the friendliness of French and English soldiers both in and out of the trenches. Care must be taken that the burlesque of Deslysian undress is kept within the bounds of decorum; and the words of the song and the recitation to be introduced p.9 and p.22 should be sent for approval. Under these conditions the piece is Recommended for license. Ernest A.Bendall. Additional summaries 'additional scene'- this is a brief skit upon one or two familiar scenes from 'East Lynne' including those between the unhappy heroine and her heartless lover, and between her - after she had crept back, disguised, to her home - and her dying child Willie. The latter is rather comically turned into a vulgar cockney urchin, while with less humorous results, the various dramatis personae are made to represent Japan, England, Russia, Belgium, and France. Rather pointless but quite harmless. Recommended for license, sgd. Ernest A. Bendall. Special Constable additional to 'Odds and Ends'. The merry experience of a special constable whose beat is Piccadilly Circus, and whose duties turn out to be the guidance of foreigners towards places in London that he does not know. His last experience is with a quartet of ladies who want the Piccadilly grill-room, and with Mlle Arnaud, form the 'girl in the taxi' whom he instructs in the art of the barmaid. Inconsequent but harmless fun. Recommended for license, Ernest A. Bendall. Additional act. This is a street-quarrel conducted by some gutter-snipe after the manner of classy melodrama. What point it has seems harmless. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall.

Researcher's Summary:

This play was a huge hit. On 8 April 1915 had its 200th performance at the Ambassadors, London, and was still playing to packed houses; it's 250th was on 22 May 1915.

Licensed On: 16 Oct 1914

License Number: 3011



British Library Reference: LCP1914/33

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66081 D


Date Theatre Type
16 Oct 1914 Ambassadors, London Professional Licensed Performance
Read Narrative
Performed on the first night of a 'British-French-Belgian' season produced by Charles Cochrane at the Ambassadors. A mixed programme including an English and a French play alongside 'Odds and Ends' 'in which Mr Harry Grattan, the inventor, managed to utilise the services of every member of the company - and proved an enjoyable affair' (Globe, 17 October 1914). It included dancing by Joan Carroll; a series of turns supposed to be represented by hosts and refugees at the Theatre Royal Back Drawing Room; a scene in which an old French sailor tells 'young France' what homeland and honour mean; the singing of Your King and Country Need you' by Mdlle Delysia, as La Belle France; imitations of Lily Brayton; a scene showing French and British men in the trenches; a 'disrobing' pantomime by Delysia; and 8 Grecian Maids dancing.