Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

[The Examiner's notes for this script are missing from the file at the British Library]

Researcher's Summary:

The play - subtitled ‘a sermon in crude melodrama’ - was to have been produced by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London. on 4 June 1909 but the Lord Chamberlain’s Office refused it a licence on the grounds that some of Blanco Posnet’s speeches were blasphemous. He had been proud of his badness and now bewails the way that God has caught him out by impelling him to do a virtuous act at great risk to himself: when escaping with a stolen horse, he gives it up to a woman who needs it to take her sick child to a doctor. He is captured and put on trial for his life as a common horse thief. The Lord Chamberlain’s authority did not extend to Ireland and, after Shaw omitted a few words, the play was produced in Dublin in August 1909, despite attempts by officials in the Lord Lieutenant’s office to prevent it. At that time a Parliamentary Committee was examining the subject of the censorship of stage plays and Shaw published his statement to the Committee in the preface to the published edition of ‘Blanco Posnet’ in 1911. The Great War Theatre database only shows performances in 1914 or later. Blanco Posnet was previously performed as follows: Abbey Theatre, Dublin, fifteen performances from 25 August 1909; Theatre Royal, Belfast, 9 September 1909, by the Dublin Abbey Theatre company; Abbey Theatre, Dublin, from 30 September and on 28-30 October and 18-20 November 1909; Aldwych Theatre, London, 5-6 December 1909, by the Dublin Abbey Theatre company under the auspices of the Stage Society (Mander & Mitchenson, p. 124); Opera House, Cork, 9-10 December 1909; Ancoats Brotherhood, Manchester, 6 or 13 February 1910 (a reading by Ben Iden Payne and members of Annie Horniman’s company); Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 28-31 March, 23-27 August and 1 December 1910; Grand Opera House, Belfast, 8-9 April 1910; Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 14 January, 27-28 April and 6-8 September 1911; Leeds, 13 May 1911, a subscription matinée by the Abbey Theatre company in aid of the Irish National Theatre Endowment Fund; Letchworth, 26 August 1911, performed in a barn by the local amateur dramatic society and repeated on 31 August 1912; People’s Theatre, Newcastle, September 1911, by the local Socialist Dramatic Club; Temperance Hall, Birmingham, 14 November 1911, a public reading by The Playgoers’ Club, formed in connection with the Birmingham branch of the Workers’ Educational Association; Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 18-23 March and 6-7 December 1912; Hampshire House Club, Hammersmith, 22 October 1912, by the Hammersmith Ethical Dramatic Society; Royal Court Theatre, London, 14 July 1913, by the Irish Players before a private audience, in aid of a scheme for the endowment and building of the Dublin Municipal Gallery of Modern Art to house the Sir Hugh Lane collection of pictures pledged to the Irish nation; the B.S.P. Rooms, Newcastle or Gateshead, 20 July 1913, by the Clarion Dramatic Club; and the Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, 16 November 1913, a dramatic reading by Hubert Humphries. The play was eventually licensed for public performance in Great Britain in 1916. A common reaction in newspapers was to wonder why it had been banned in the first place. It was often likened to something by Bret Harte and to Wild West stories, although the Middlesex County Times, 14 October 1961, thought that, ‘Unfortunately for Shaw this territory has long since been taken over by the films and cannot be effectively recovered for the stage’. Its sentiments were compared to those in the Book of Job and in Francis Thompson’s poem ‘Hound of Heaven’ (and in the Newcastle Journal, 7 October 1961, it was compared to ‘Oklahoma’ without the music and dancing). Only occasionally was there controversy: following an amateur performance in the Derbyshire village of Edale in 1933 and a letter in the Catholic Standard, 3 October 1952, after a broadcast on Radio Eireann. Sometimes ‘Blanco Posnet’ was performed as part of a professional variety bill: at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, November 1923; the Alhambra, London, and the Palace Theatre, Leicester, December 1923; the Chiswick Empire, January 1924; and the London Coliseum, October 1926 (at the end of ‘a very long programme, which ranged from the jazziest of jazz to the grace of Lola Menzeli, whose toe dancing is a joy to see’: Westminster Gazette, 19 October 1926). Pairing ‘Blanco Posnet’ with Shaw’s ‘Androcles and the Lion’ was judged a success: at the Regent Theatre, London, December 1925; the Playhouse, Halifax, May 1950; the Mermaid Theatre, London, October 1961; and the Library Theatre, Manchester, March 1970. A double bill with Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus the King’ at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in December 1926 was also well received. Sir John Martin Harvey toured the play, with other items, in 1925 and 1927, and again in 1939 at the age of 75 (mentioned in the Western Mail, 16 May 1939). The play’s length (around 45 minutes) recommended it to students in drama schools and to many amateur groups, often for performance in drama festivals. Marshaling large numbers of actors during the trial scene on often small stages was a particular production challenge. The play was several times produced on British and Irish radio but those performances are not listed below. References to Mander & Mitchenson in narratives about particular performances are to Raymond Mander & Joe Mitchenson, ‘Theatrical Companion to Shaw’ (Rockliff Publishing Corporation: 1954).

Licensed On: 1 Mar 1916

License Number: 91

Author(s):

Genre(s):

British Library Reference: LCP1916/4

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66125 O

Performances

Date Theatre Type
23 Apr 1914 ?, Newcastle Amateur
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The precise date is conjectural. From an article by Norman K Veitch, Hon. Sec., on Clarion Dramatic Societies: ‘The Newcastle Society finished their season by giving five performances to members of the club during the eight days ending April 25. The plays presented were Fynge’s [sic – J. M. Synge’s] “Shadows of the Glen,” E. Priestley’s “Ashes,” Lindon Donald’s “Recognition of the Union,” Gilbert’s “Pygmalion and Galatea,” Galsworthy’s “The Silver Box,” Shaw’s “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” and “Major Barbara,” and Neil Lyons’s “Getting at Facts.” Of this list only “Pygmalion and Galatea,” “The Silver Box,” and, I believe, “Shadows of the Glen,” have ever been played in Newcastle before except by the Clarion Dramatic Club'. Clarion, 8 May 1914.
15 Aug 1914 The Barn, Pixmore Avenue, Letchworth Amateur
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At http://www.gardencitycollection.com, object LBM3001.209, is a programme for the Letchworth Dramatic Society’s production of Three Short Plays: "Mr Sampson" by Charles Lee, "An Episode" by Arthur Schnitzler and "The Banns of Marriage", also by Charles Lee. Inside is an announcement that ‘A private performance of The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet By Bernard Shaw will be given in the Dramatic Society’s Barn, Pixmore Avenue, on Saturday, August 15, 1914, at 3.15p.m. Tickets, which are limited to 120, may be obtained on application to Mr. C. B. Purdom, Woodside Cottage, Letchworth’.
24 Nov 1914 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘Next week, at the Abbey Theatre, will find a triple bill of exceptionally varied plays occupying the boards. The first of the three is Mr. W. P. Ryan’s one-act comedy, “The Jug of Sorrow,” which was so successfully produced a week or two ago. The second of the plays to be presented is Mr. T. C. Murray’s powerful play, in two acts, “Maurice Harte,” and the third on the list is that ever-popular sermon in crude melodrama of Mr. Bernard Shaw’s, “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet.” With this bill, the excellent houses which are now the rule at the Abbey are sure to be continued’. Freeman’s Journal, Saturday 21 November 1914.
26 Apr 1915 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘[After T. C. Murray’s Maurice Harte”] “The Shewing-up Blanco Posnet,” a sermon in crude melodrama, by Mr. Geo. Barnard Shaw, was produced, and once again proved a big success. The piece is full of humour and sound logic. Chief amongst the caste was Fred O’Donovan, whose representation of Blanco Posnet was one of the features of the production. Sarah Allgood scored another success as Feemy Evans, and Sydney J. Morgan, as Sheriff Kemp, provided a good deal of humour. Mr. Arthur Sinclair, as the elder Daniels, was responsible for no small amount of mirth’ (Dublin Daily Express, Saturday 27 April 1915). ‘“Maurice Harte” and Blanco Posnet” delighted a full house [at the Abbey] on Monday night. It was a rare treat to see Sara Allgood, Sinclair and O’Donovan in the principal roles of two such interesting plays. It would be hard to say in which role Sara Allgood charmed us most … In “Blanco Posnet” she was Phemy [sic] - the woman beyond the pale, with her hand against every man, and woman too - brought there by the men whom she lived by, to do a man to death. Her assumed carelessness, her callous rages, and her great passionate outburst, when all that was good in her rushed to the surface, and her miserable life was set aside, and she, of all of them, could not kill a man - all this was real. I can find no higher praise for her. She certainly shared the laurels with the ideal Blanco - O’Donovan’ (Irish Citizen, 1 May 1915).
8 Feb 1916 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The Sport (Dublin), Saturday 5 February 1916, advertised at the Abbey Theatre on the following Tuesday-Saturday Bernard Duffy’s “The Coiner”, Shaw’s “The Shewing Up Of Blanco Posnet” and St. John G. Ervine’s “The Orangeman”. ‘“Blanco Posnet” was the whole well done, Mr. Fred O’Donovan making a fairly good Blanco of his own ... Miss Desmond might have been a little less respectable as Feemy. Mr. Sinclair and Miss Drago were as good as usual. Of the ladies, only Miss Lynd put any smack of the ranch into her part. The rest would have been ornaments to any drawingroom’ (Dublin Daily Express, 9 February 1916).
10 Apr 1916 Repertory Theatre, Liverpool Unknown Licensed Performance
10 Apr 1916 Playhouse, Liverpool Professional
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Four performances by the Irish Players (Abbey Theatre Company) (Mander & Mitchenson, p. 124). There were actually five performances, on 10, 14, 15, 19 and 22 April 1916. The cast was: Babsy, Dorothy Lynd; Lottie, Maureen Delany; Hannah, Beatrice Drury; Jessie, ?; Emma, Kathleen Murphy; Elder Daniels, Arthur Sinclair; Blanco Posnet, Fred O’Donovan; Strapper Kemp, J. M. Kerrigan; Feemy Evans, Nora Desmond; Sherriff Kemp, Sydney J. Morgan; Foreman of Jury, J. A. O’Rourke; Nestor, a Juryman, Arthur Shields; The Woman, Kathleen Drago; Waggoner Jo, H. E. Hutchinson. ‘In Liverpool … a university professor wrote to the press and organized a demonstration against one of my plays. He actually succeeded in having a banner hung over the front of the gallery. The result was 16 curtain calls at the end of Blanco Posnet, and the banner bearers totally extinguished’. Shaw’s letter to William Faversham, c. 1 August 1917, in Bernard Shaw’s ‘Collected Letters’ edited by Dan H. Laurence (Max Reinhardt: 1985), volume 3, p. 496. The Liverpool Echo, 14 April 1916, published Shaw’s letter to Professor Alexander Mair. 'There is no doubt that in describing this piece as a “sermon in crude melodrama” Mr. Shaw has hit upon a phrase that exactly describes it. The play is more human than are the majority of his, and possesses a dramatic power that grips the audience, and yet through it all runs that brilliant and biting wit that is the chief characteristic of Shavian productions. The acting was excellent, the actors realising their parts with fine power and showing themselves as capable of dramatic playing as they are of the lighter Irish comedy with which their name is so much associated ... the play is a study of the rightness of human character put to the test, and though the author quarrels in no minced phrases with the conventional ideas of law and order, and goodness and badness, yet in the end he arrives at that stage in which he is compelled to confess that “there is a great game, and a mean game” in life. (Birkenhead News, 12 April 1916).
22 May 1916 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The Dublin Daily Express, Thursday 18 May 1916, advertised at the Abbey Theatre ‘Next Week, Twice Daily, at 3 and 8 p.m.’ Bernard Duffy’s The Coiner, Shaw’s Blanco Posnet and Martin J. McHugh’s A Minute’s Wait. Also reported in the Dublin Daily Express, 18 May 1916.
29 May 1916 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The Dublin Daily Express, Monday 29 May 1916, advertised at the Abbey Theatre ‘Monday and Following Evenings, at 8 p.m. Saturday Matinee at 2.30 p.m.’ Seamus O’Brien’s Duty, Shaw’s Blanco Posnet and Martin J. McHugh’s A Minute’s Wait.
19 Mar 1917 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The Irish Independent, Monday 19 March 1917, advertised at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, that night at 6.15pm, with a matinee on Saturday, The Inca of Perusalem by a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (i.e. Bernard Shaw), followed by The Showing Up Of Blanco Posnet. Other newspapers advertised the plays throughout the week.
2 Mar 1920 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The Dublin Evening Telegraph, Monday 1 March 1920, advertised at the Abbey Theatre, on Tuesday 2 March and the following nights with a matinee on Saturday, W. B. Yeats’ The Player Queen and Shaw’s Blanco Posnet. ‘A large audience welcomed “The Player Queen,” by W. B. Yeats, at the Abbey last night. It was followed by “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” by G. B. Shaw, a piece brimful of interest. Both continue for the rest of the week’ (Irish Independent, 3 March 1920).
27 Apr 1920 Labour College, Earl's Court, London Amateur
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Performed at the Labour College, Penywen Road, Earl’s Court, London, with Shaw’s ‘The Dark Lady of the Sonnets’, by students of the Labour College and members of the Plebs League; the cast included Aneurin Bevan (Mander & Mitchenson, p. 127). ‘South Wales, Durham, and Yorkshire miners and railwaymen, with a Londoner or two as leaven, gave a remarkably spirited performance of Mr. Shaw’s “melodrama,” “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” at the Labour College, Earl’s Court, last night. “Blanco Posnet” is really a typical Wild West story, retold by a great moralist. With its sentiment watered down to sentimentality, one can easily imagine it as a popular kinema film. Therefore, the zest and sense of strenuous life which these young Labour students brought to its performance admirably conveyed the broad and simple effects, the high colours and deep shadows after which Shaw, the evangelist, was aiming' (Daily News (London), 29 March 1920). 'A great deal of interest was taken in the performances at the Labour College, Earl’s Court, during the week-end, by the students and staff, of two plays by Bernard Shaw, one the social melodrama “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” and the other “The Dark Lady of the Sonnets.” Readers of the Western Mail will no doubt like to hear of the remarkable success of the performances because the college is under the joint control of the South Wales Miners’ Federation and the National Union of Railwaymen, and because a considerable number of those who took part hail from South Wales' (Western Mail, 30 March 1920).
11 Feb 1921 Pixmore Hall, Letchworth Amateur
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At http://www.gardencitycollection.com, objects LBM3001.217 and .218, is a programme for the Letchworth Dramatic Society's Performance of "The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet" by George Bernard Shaw and "Square Pegs" by Clifford Bax, at Pixmore Hall [also referred to as the Pixmore Institute], Letchworth, on 11 and 12 February 1921, at 8pm each evening, with cast details inside. The programme also states, ‘In response to the great demand, a further Performance of the much-discussed Play, The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet By Bernard Shaw will be given by the Letchworth Players at the Pixmore Hall, On Saturday, February 26th, 1921, at 8p.m. … Proceeds to the Unemployed Fund’.
26 Feb 1921 Pixmore Hall, Letchworth Amateur
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See under Letchworth, 11-12 February 1921.
14 Mar 1921 Everyman Theatre, Hampstead Professional
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First public production in London, by Norman Macdermott, in repertory; performed with Shaw’s ‘How He Lied To Her Husband’ and ‘The Dark Lady of the Sonnets’ (Mander & Mitchenson, pp. 124, 292). The cast was: Babsy, Marjorie Gabain; Lottie, Helen Boyce; Hannah, Edith Harley; Jessie, Mimosa Valentine; Emma, Audrey Cameron; Elder Daniels, Harold Scott; Blanco Posnet, Brember Wills; Strapper Kemp, Leslie J. Banks; Feemy Evans, Muriel Pratt; Sherriff Kemp, Felix Aylmer, Foreman of Jury, George Hayes; Nestor, a Juryman, Douglas Jefferies; The Woman, Hazel Jones; Waggoner Jo, Robert Craig. ‘Mr. Shaw’s “Blanco Posnet” is one of those plays formerly censored which leave one wondering why on earth they were ever banned. The triple bill confirmed me in a feeling that Shaw is essentially a hundred yards man. His long plays get tedious towards the end, but curtain raisers like “How He Lied to Her Husband” are a pure joy from start to finish’ (Derby Daily Telegraph, 15 March 1921). 'What an extraordinary achievement it is! Mr. Shaw has stolen from Lyceum melodrama and the cinema all the familiar characters of the romantic Wild West. There is the traditional group of tough, rough, gruff cowboys, the traditional Sheriff, the traditional Bad Man and the traditional Bad Girl of the township saloon. (You will meet them all in “The Savage and the Woman.”) He has made his puppets dance, and the result is, not a W. S. Hart film, but an absorbing drama of the soul. “Blanco Posnet” is a play in which religion is truthfully represented as the thrillingly exciting emotion that it really is, a play in which good and evil, so uninspiring as mere ideas, are brought back to their strange emotional origins. How this study of religious conversion ever came to be censored is wholly incomprehensible. There is nothing in it that ought to offend the most rural of deans, much less a Lord Chamberlain. The play teaches what all the founders of religions have taught - that religion and morality are of little value unless they spring from the heart. It may be that the censors objected to Blanco’s remarks about the craftiness of God, his pertinacious slyness in running after and seizing his own. If that is so, then they should also have censored every religious poet from the author of the Psalms to Francis Thompson. But it is foolish to waste time in trying to find intelligent motives in the minds of the censors of plays' (Westminster Gazette, 15 March 1921). 'The main interest, however, was in the production of “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” for the first time in public. After it was over, the first reflection of most people was to wonder why it had ever been censored. As a play it is crude melodrama of the Wild West type; but the author puts into the mouths of his characters certain opinions on the Divine purpose which may easily have provoked the ban of the Censor; or perhaps it may have been the action and language of an unusually pronounced type of prostitute. However that may be, no one seemed to mind last night, and the play was received with complete satisfaction' (Pall Mall Gazette, 15 March 1921). '“The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” is an amusing, ridiculous torrential piece of Wild West melodrama, in which Shaw becomes as sentimental as his bitterest opponents. It might as well be called “The Showing Up of Bernard Shaw”’ (Sunday Mirror, 20 March 1921). 'This little play gives us a sermonising Mr. Shaw, employing the unusual medium of crude melodrama, in a Wild West setting with all the conventional characters of the American film – the bold bad sentimental cowboy, the painted lady of the wilds, the string silent sheriff, and the rest of them. But into this unpromising clay the author has infused the life of his brilliant dialogue, and a primitive, passionate religious feeling which carries conviction. The Everyman production was cramped by the smallness of the stage, and there was a tendency to overact which robbed it of its full effectiveness' (Truth, 23 March 1921). 'It is the Salvation Army equivalent of universal experience, and some of Blanco’s language might heard uttered by a convert in a Salvation Army barracks. It the same theme lifted to a poetic plane that Francis Thompson immortalised in “The Hound of Heaven.” Shaw’s character is a cowboy, and expresses himself in Wild West language. There was real feeling about Miss Craig’s production; a scene of crudeness and rudimentary humanity was finely conveyed, and some of the rough-and-tumble scrambling in Air court [sic] were perfectly stage-managed' (The Era, 23 March 1921). 'The Triple Bill, which comes to an end this week, is not one of the most satisfactory ventures of the season. For an evening’s entertainment one Shaw is better than three Shaws. Mr. Shaw’s evolutions in making a play are so simple and so little varied that though quite amusing and not too conspicuous if spread over a three-act play, they become a little tedious if repeated three times. The evolutions are, of course, the somersault and the sermon. One can keep one’s head if the somersault is performed slowly, once in an evening. But when it is done three times in succession, one feels at first giddy, then slightly sick. This is what happens in the Triple Bill ... Added to the somersault, in two of these plays there is the equally familiar sermon. “The Dark Lady” ends with a very Shavian and rather irritating sermon on the necessity for a national theatre, and “Blanco Posnet” with a very curious lecture on morality ... of course, the chief feature of the evening’s entertainment was “The showing up of Blanco Posnet,” which, like the wine in the parable, was kept till the last. It did not turn out to be the best wine, however. Twelve years ago the Censor did Mr. Shaw a very good turn. He refused to license “The showing up of Blanco Posnet.” The reason was that the hero, “with the fire of incipient delirium tremens in his eye, shakes his fist at the ceiling and complains of the Creator in words more colloquial,” but no stronger than those of Job which are read in Church. Mr. Shaw, of course, made the most of this opportunity to force public attention on his play. It gained all the glamour peculiar to forbidden fruit. It is true that he honestly warned us that “this little play is really a religious tract in dramatic form.” But in spite of the evidence of the text before us, we did not really believe him, and felt that if only it could be put on the stage it would make a very daring and sparkling performance. Unfortunately, it does not. It is now all too clear that it is a religious tract, and not a very good one at that. Shaw has merely tried to make morality more popular than the popular preachers have done’ (Common Cause, 8 April 1921). 'Hospitable friends ... took me to see Mr. Bernard Shaw’s greatest play. For so I esteem The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet - the most human, the most subtle of that distinguished writer’s works. What owls there must be in English officialism that such a play should ever have been banned. Not for years have I received so much stimulus from anything on the stage’ (The Sphere, 9 April 1921).
28 May 1921 ?, Welwyn Garden City Amateur
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At http://www.gardencitycollection.com, object LBM4015.44, is a flier announcing the performance at 3pm on Saturday 28 May of The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet ‘at Brickwall Farm on the Great North Road (By kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. W,C. Horn)’. The year is not specified. The website suggests a date of 1920-1925. If that is right then the year must be 1921 when 28 May was a Saturday. Is this a repeat performance by the Letchworth Dramatic Society who had performed the play three times in February 1921?
20 Jul 1921 Queen's Theatre, London Professional
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First public production in London’s West End, by Donald Calthrop (the Everyman Theatre Company), for 29 performances; performed with Shaw’s ‘The Dark Lady of the Sonnets’ and Schnitzler’s ‘A Farewell Supper’ (Mander & Mitchenson, pp. 124, 292). The cast was: Babsy, Marjorie Gabain; Lottie, Mimosa Valentine; Hannah, Edith Harley; Jessie, Henzie Raeburn; Emma, Margaret Barter; Elder Daniels, Harold Scott; Blanco Posnet, Brember Wills; Strapper Kemp, Leslie J. Banks; Feemy Evans, Muriel Pratt; Sherriff Kemp, Felix Aylmer; Foreman of Jury, George G. Carr; Nestor, a Juryman, Richard Bird; The Woman, Hazel Jones; Waggoner Jo, Douglas Jefferies. 'Playgoers who are still in town have now no excuse for missing one of the most remarkable of Mr. Shaw’s works for the theatre, and one which, thanks to the Lord Chamberlain, they have had to wait nearly a dozen years for the opportunity of seeing. It is an admirable little play, as notable for its humour and its dramatic skill as for the unimpeachability of its moral teaching, and it is performed very capably by the Everyman company (Truth, 27 July 1921). ‘… it must be given as a personal opinion that Schnitzler is bad company for Shaw. Preceded by the work of almost any writer, not even excluding Barrie, a Shaw play would preserve its brightness, but preceded by the light-hearted worldliness of Anatol, the philosophic wit of the Irishman is outshone. That, one feels sure, would he the impression of many at the Queen’s in ordinary circumstances. The reason why this is not so seems to be due to Miss Muriel Pratt’s penchant for realism. In “The Farewell Supper” her study of Mimi is extremely clever - but it is not Mimi. Thus, after all, the pitch of “The Dark Lady of the Sonnets” is not queered. And so we come to “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” which also ends with a sermon but as the sermon is part of the play we will make no bones about that, although we suspect that theatrical managers in 2021 will shamelessly cut it. “Crude melodrama,” the author calls the story, though it is not half so crude, and twice as effective, as “Bull-Dog Drummond.” That is, if efficiently performed. But what can happen when Blanco is presented as a temperamental creature, sicklied o’er with the pale cast of habitual thought? That is a fair description of Mr. Brember Wills in the part’ (Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 30 July 1921). ‘Bernard Shaw’s play, “The showing up of Blanco Posnet,” has reached the West End of London after a troublous voyage of a dozen years. It has been received with acclamation, and it is declared of it that the fierce morality that the author breathed into it has kept it a very much more live play than some of his greater works (Chelmsford Chronicle, 5 August 1921). ‘… the great triumph of the company from the Everyman Theatre was their performance of Bernard Shaw’s Showing Up of Blanco Posnet. It could scarcely have been better done. Mr. Brember Wills was extraordinarily good as Blanco Posnet. The man’s ravings against God and Fate; his exasperation in the face of the stupidity of these American pioneers; his half-anger, half-ecstasy, at the knowledge that God at last tricked him into doing an unselfish action - and by this “trick” had converted him to nobility - all these emotions Brember Wills gave with a vividness which was as convincing as reality. Miss Muriel Pratt, too, was excellent as Feemy Evans who, the harlot of the district, was “tricked” by God into committing a good action which, as it were, illuminated the ugliness of her past, just at a time when to glory in that ugliness was the only thing left for her to do if she were to live out boldly the consequences of her conduct’ (The Tatler, 10 August 1921).
1 Aug 1921 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘The Abbey Theatre reopens this week with a triple bill of exceptional merit, the plays including “The Rising of the Moon,” by Lady Gregory; “Meadowsweet,” by Seumas O’Kelly, and “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” by George Bernard Shaw, the productions playing to crowded houses nightly’. The Era, 3 August 1921.
31 Oct 1921 Albert Hall, Leeds Professional
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In the week beginning 31 October 'Shaw’s “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” will be staged, “The Doctor’s Dilemma” having been abandoned. Miss Edith Craig, daughter of Miss Ellen Terry, will have charge of the production, which will preceded by W. B. Yeats’s “Deirdre”’ (Yorkshire Evening Post, 10 September 1921). ‘The following is the cast for the production of “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet” (George Bernard Shaw), under the auspices of the Leeds Repertory Season Committee, at the Albert Hall, Leeds, during the week (Wednesday evening excluded, but Saturday afternoon included) beginning October 31:- Babsy, Kathleen Ellis; Lottie, Rose Smith; Hannah, Neenah A. Alexandre; Jessie, Hilda Marsden; Emma, F. Muriel Hague; Elder Daniels, Norman Jackson; Blanco Posnet, J Eric David; Strapper Kemp, A. G. French: The Sheriff, J. W. Glew; Feemy Evans, Eileen Allen, The Woman, Mollie Gray Heald’ (Yorkshire Evening Post, 8 October 1921). ‘There was a more gratifying attendance at the opening of the second week’s performances of the Leeds Repertory season at the Albert Hall last night, indicative of the popularity which the first series of performances had served to establish. This week’s programme is composed of two short productions, George Bernard Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” and Yeats’ “Deirdre.” The entirely contrasting features of the two productions at once precludes comparison of their respective merits, but in both the players revealed a fundamental understanding of the author’s conceptions and a pleasing facility to execute their interpretation. Mr. J. Eric David is a very real figure as Blanco Posnet, endowing the rough cowboy horse-thief with strong human appeal. Mr. J. W. Glew depicts the Town Sheriff with remarkable reality, and others who materially assist include Miss Molly Gray Heald and Mr. A. G. French’ (Leeds Mercury, 1 November 1921).
30 Jan 1923 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘The chief interest in connection with last night’s programme at the Abbey Theatre was the revival of the “Countess Cathleen,” by Mr. W. B. Yeats … George Bernard Shaw’s sermon in crude melodrama “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet” followed, and once again revived memories of a singularly characteristic and entertaining puree of work. In it Miss Hayden, Miss Gertrude Murphy, Miss Maureen Delany, Mr. Peter Nolan, Mr. Eric Gorman and others contributed to make the cast complete. There will be a matinee on Saturday’ (Dublin Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 31 January 1923).
16 Jul 1923 St Martin's Theatre, London Amateur
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‘Acting Competition. After the preliminary trials of the R.A.D.A., Lady Benson’s School, the Guildhall School, and the Central School of Speech Training in this competition, the two first named played off the final at the St. Martin’s on Monday. The better part of the day was occupied with the performances, the test pieces being the final scene from “Antony and Cleopatra,” a scene from “The Clandestine Marriage,” and Bernard Shaw’s “Blanco Posnet,” the two schools following each other selection by selection. The award went to the R.A.D.A., which thus becomes the first holder of the Critics’ Circle Shield. Mr. Robert Harris, of the R.A.D.A., who appeared as Julius Caesar, Lovewell Colman’s comedy, and Blanco Posnet, won the Reandean men’s scholarship of a three years’ engagement. The award of a similar ladies’ scholarship was deferred. The judges were Messrs. St. John Ervine, S. W. Carroll, and Basil Dean, Mrs. Searle, and Miss Haidee Wright’. The Stage, Thursday 19 July 1923. Also reported in The People, 22 July 1923.
16 Aug 1923 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘A crowded audience attended at the Abbey Theatre last night, when “Maurice Harte,” by T. C. Murray, and George Bernard Shaw’s “Blanco Posnet” were performed, and in both of which Miss Sara Allgood appeared … The “sermon in crude melodrama,” as George Bernard Shaw himself terms it, followed, and formed a striking to its predecessor. Suffice it to say that each one of the fourteen characters who make up the cast was filled to a marvel. Miss Allgood showed wonderful versatility as Feemy Evans, and Mr. Arthur Shields established once his pre-eminent powers as Blanco Posnet himself. Miss Gertrude Murphy was an excellent Lottie, and Misses Eileen Crowe, Maureen Delany, Sheila O’Sullivan and May Craig lent the greatest interest to their representations’. Freeman’s Journal, 17 August 1923.
19 Oct 1923 Guildhall School of Music, London Amateur
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‘Students from the Guildhall School of Music took part last summer in the competition for the Challenge Shield, presented by the Critics’ Circle, in which the final round was won by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art as against Lady Benson’s School. Nothing daunted by the defeat of the G.S.M., however, the all-supervising Principal, Sir Landon Ronald, and the stage manager and producer, Mr L. Cairns James, arranged for a public performance of the triple bill which their students and those from other Schools had presented, and this took place, with quite satisfactory results, in the commodious theatre of the Guildhall School of Music, on October 19. The items of the bill were given in the same order as during the summer … In the Shaw piece, with preparations for Blanc’s execution realistically shown, Mr Walter Chiesman made a great deal of the stump sermon with much-discussed blasphemy and all, delivered by the supposed horse-thief, whose brother, Elder Daniels, the Woman, with baby, whom Posnet saves, the shameless Feemy, the Sheriff, the Strapper, Waggoner Joe, and so on, were ably represented by Mr. Turner, Miss Robina. Whitefield, Miss Gwendolen Bruce Millar, Messrs. Dunn, Hamel-Smith, and George Mercer. Hence, the G.S.M. students are to be congratulated upon their work’. The Stage, 25 October 1923.
19 Nov 1923 Empire, Shepherd's Bush, London Professional
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Mander & Mitchenson, p. 335, list a partial cast ( they advertised for details of the cast in The Stage, 7 January 1954): Elder Daniels, Frank Lindo; Blanco Posnet, Philip Yale Drew; Strapper Kemp, Arthur Stratton; Feemy Evans, Dora Dare; The Woman, Rose Ralph. The names of more cast members are listed in The Stage, 15 November 1923. ‘The inclusion of a play by George Bernard Shaw in a variety bill is a thing of unusual interest. At the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on November 19 “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet" will be staged, with Young Buffalo in the principal part’ (The Stage, 18 October 1923). ‘Bernard Shaw is to be brought to London suburbs, for next week, at the head of a brilliant variety company at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, is Young Buffalo (Phillip Vale [sic – Yale] Drew) in Bernard Shaw’s sermon in crude melodrama, “The shewing up of Blanco Posnet,” presented by Andrew Melville. There are more than twenty-two characters in this play, the action of which takes place in a territory’ of the United States during the Pioneer days when, for a trial, any barn was used for a Court House. The principal character, “Blanco Posnet,” is taken by Young Buffalo, who has scored sensational successes in more than one Lyceum drama’ (West London Observer, 16 November 1923, reprinted in the Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush Gazette, 20 November 1998). ‘George Bernard Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet”, which the author describes as a sermon in crude melodrama, may not exactly fit in with the Shepherd’s Bush idea of a sermon, but there is no doubt concerning its success as an entertainment. Monday’s audience gave play and players a very hearty reception, and it surely marks progress when a Bernard Shaw playlet can hold the attention of a suburban audience for forty-five minutes or longer' (The Stage, 22 November 1923).
3 Dec 1923 Hippodrome, Bristol Professional
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‘Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing Up of. Blanco Posnet “ is the star attraction at the Hippodrome this week, and theatre-goers will be well-advised not to miss this ripe piece of Shavian fruit, more especially as the title role is played Philip Yale Drew (Young Buffalo). As the pivot of the play the part of Blanco Posnet makes exacting calls on the energy and artistic resources of the actor. Mr Drew - who, by the way, is not quite a stranger to Bristol - has the right temperament, and his performance last night was a highly accomplished piece of acting. The piece is described as a sermon in crude melodrama, and as Mr. Shaw’s originality in the matter of free speech is pretty generally apprehended, it may be imagined that the “sermon” is well pointed and barbed. Mr Frank Lindo’s rendering of Elder Daniels was a very creditable piece of work’. Western Daily Press, 4 December 1923.
10 Dec 1923 Alhambra, London Professional
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‘The daring experiment of putting on “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” at the Alhambra is a decided success. Yesterday afternoon the audience followed Mr. Shaw’s religious propaganda with breathless attention. Philip Yale Drew, alias “Young Buffalo,” of Lyceum fame, gave a fine performance as Blanco. He starts with the advantage of a real American accent and pioneer physique- His methods are broad but effective, and his acting is sincere. Mr. Arthur Stratton was particularly excellent as the Sheriff’ (Daily Herald, 11 December 1923). ‘What a Mixture! Young Buffalo is doing Shaw’s play, “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet,” at the Alhambra this week. It was Henry James, was it not, who said that everything lies in juxtaposition!’ (The Era, 12 December 1923). ‘As Bernard Shaw himself calls it crude melodrama, “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” is obviously not seen at its best when played by actors belonging to what is known as the “intellectual” type. Brawn is needed as well as brains, and that is why Young Buffalo presents this play of the wild and woolly West in such a satisfactory light. At the Alhambra his portrayal of the horse-thief who risks his life because the mother of sick child wants the horse in order to get to a doctor, has an air of reality often missed in previous productions’ (The Era, 12 December 1923). ‘It is rather significant to find a big variety theatre audience held in close attention by such a piece as Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” which comes to the Alhambra after its presentation at Shepherd’s Bush a few weeks ago. This “sermon in crude melodrama,” which had the distinction of being banned by the Censor several years back, certainly cannot be said to pander to that mental superficiality supposed in some quarters to be associated with the variety public. It is pretty heavy sustenance even for the whole-hogger Shavian steeped in, say, Samuel Butler and Anatole France, to each of whom, perhaps, it owes something of its spirit. This is not the time or the place, however, to discuss what “ Blanco” means, or should mean, to any kind of audience. The significant fact is that variety audiences are paying Shaw keen attention ... The time is now ripe for Bernard Shaw to write a piece round Ku-Klux-Klan, which is a development of the “rough justice” of pioneer days!’ (The Stage, 13 December 1923).
11 Dec 1923 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The Freeman’s Journal, Tuesday 11 December 1923, advertised at the Abbey Theatre that and the following nights Birthright by T. C. Murray and Shaw’s Blanco Posnet. ‘Some very fine acting, and an excellently realised climax, brought enthusiasm from last night’s audience at the Abbey Theatre when Mr. T. C. Murray’s two-act “Birthright,” was on a programme with Mr. G. B. Shaw’s “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet” … Arthur Shields was good as Blanco Posnet - always one of his best parts. Mr. F. J. McCormick was too sincere as his parson brother - or perhaps had the wrong sort of sincerity, a carefulness of acting which somehow missed the lusciousness of that rare character. The Strapple [sic – Strapper] Kemp of Mr. Dolan was very fine, very keen. Miss Sara Allgood should have been excellent as Feemy Evans, but instead she fell into her common fault of a most unsuitable sing-song intonation. May Craig as the Strange Woman, Peter Nolan as Sheriff Kemp, and a long cast, were all good, though all might have been a little more naturalistic. It is curious that the audience laughed most at exactly the wrong sentence in “Blanco Posnet” - which, by the way, is a play of the time when “America was too drunk to hear the voice of the tempter”’ (Freeman’s Journal, 12 December 1923).
31 Dec 1923 Palace Theatre, Leicester Professional
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Palace Theatre, Leicester, 31 December 1923 – 5 January 1924 ‘Next Monday “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” will be given as part of the variety entertainment at the Leicester Palace. Philip Yale Drew, well-known for his work as “Young Buffalo” at the Lyceum, fulfils the role of “Blanco,” and his performance is a brilliant one. Mr. Drew starts with the advantage of a real American accent and a “pioneer physique.” Arthur Stratton’s Sheriff Kemp and Dora Dare’s Feemy Evans are also in the right spirit. The whole production has the merit of presenting Shaw’s play as if it were melodrama’. Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail, Friday 28 December 1923. The Leicester Chronicle, 5 January 1924, gave some background information about 'Young Buffalo'.
26 Mar 1924 Moseley and Balsall Heath Institute, Birmingham Unknown
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‘The People’s Theatre movement in Birmingham is very young, and the performance of two Shaw plays at the Moseley and Balsall Heath Institute, last night, was not without the shortcomings that are only to be expected from a company much more possessed of enthusiasm than experience. The enthusiasm, if they keen it, will take them far: they have at hand a sufficient amount of natural aptitude to warrant hopeful expectations for the future. That there is room for such a movement, can scarcely be denied, and in attempting to awaken fresh interest in the drama in a hitherto little-explored way, this company of players deserve encouragement. Doubtless they will soon learn not to repeat last night’s too obvious error of putting on a curtain-raiser which had been far from adequately rehearsed. It was “Augustus Does His Bit,” a delightful fragment of Shavian wit and a fitting prelude to “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” a play in which Shaw, for once, is frankly insistent upon melodrama. Upon the whole, it was enjoyably done. It makes rather big demands upon a large cast, but this only served to indicate that this company should do well and go a long way toward fulfilling their ideals, provided that much bard work is accompanied with readiness to profit from early experience’. Birmingham Daily Gazette, Friday 27 March 1925.
21 Oct 1924 Everyman Theatre, York Unknown
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‘A little of Barrie and a trifle more of Shaw provided the material for the York Everyman Theatre’s first productions this season, at the Art Gallery by Bootham Bar last night. Shaw, as represented by “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” had something like justice done to his work, but whether or not one regards him as the greater dramatist, there is much more in “The Twelve Pound Look” than was evident on this occasion. The longer play had the advantage of Mr. J. Eric David’s well-tried powers in the part of Posnet, which he played in a Leeds production a couple of years ago, under the direction, as now, of Miss Edith Craig. Mr. David makes of Posnet a very delectable ruffian, and gives a sound and capable performance. The Elder Daniels proved well within the powers of Mr. Frank Savage, whose character acting is so good that the assistance of the prompter became all the more noticeable. Mrs. Doris Tate’s energetic rendering of Feemy Evans, and Mrs. Savage’s placid hopelessness as the Woman were well contrasted, and Mr. Gordon Mockett played the Sheriff with relish and assurance. Altogether, this picturesque play had a spirited and well-knit performance’. Yorkshire Evening Post, 22 October 1924.
17 Aug 1925 Unknown Theatre, Scarborough Professional
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‘In the old days provincial playgoers relied on visits from Sir Henry Irving, Sir Herbert Tree, and others for the opportunity of seeing fresh drama, so it is a good thing Sir John Martin Harvey still keeps the flag flying. He tells me that on his nine weeks’ run into the provinces which starts at Scarborough on Monday week he will present Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” and as this requires a fairly long one-act play it is to be preceded by Maeterlinck’s masterpiece, “The Death of Tintagiles”. Daily Mirror, Thursday 6 August 1925. Also the Daily News (London) and The Stage, 6 August 1925; the Marylebone Mercury, 15 and 22 August 1925; and the Sunday Post, 16 August 1925.
10 Sep 1925 Theatre Royal, Newcastle Professional
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‘Large audiences are giving Sir John and Lady Martin-Harvey a hearty welcome on their short run into the provinces, and Newcastle proved no exception when they opened at the Royal this week … To night (Thursday) an important event is the presentation by Sir John of “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet,” by Bernard Shaw, and Maeterlinck’s “The Death of Tintagiles.” In the former Lady Martin Harvey plays Fanny [sic – Feemy] Evans and Sir John Blanco. Sir John’s company includes Mr. Gordon McLeod, Mr. Fred Grove, Mr. Alfred Ibberson, Miss Marie Linden, Miss Annie Furrell, and Miss Mary Gray' (The Stage, 10 September 1925). ‘The engagement last week of Sir John Martin Harvey and Company was especially notable for the introduction on Thursday to Newcastle audiences of Maeterlinck’s short but important play, “The Death of Tintagiles,” and Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet" ... [in the Shaw play] the company entered into its spirit. In the title-rôle Martin Harvey acted with freedom the part of the scamp on trial for his life’ (The Stage, 17 September 1925).
17 Sep 1925 Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Professional
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The Scotsman, Monday 7 September, advertised at the Royal Lyceum Theatre ‘next week’ the ‘personal visit of Martin Harvey, Miss N. de Silva, and company’ in plays including on Thursday and Friday evenings Shaw’s Blanco Posnet. ‘The presentation by Sir John Martin Harvey at the Lyceum Theatre last night of “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” makes an interesting addition to the list of Bernard Shaw plays which have been given in Edinburgh. It is characteristic Shaw material, and a fresh revelation of the extraordinary range and variety of his stage creations. Here the author invades the field made familiar a generation ago in the works of Bret Harte; but he presents the “Bill Nyes” and “Truthful Jameses” and their comrades, as is to be expected, in an independent and personal aspect, and in a setting of action which is original, highly coloured, and piquant. There is perhaps a hint of the guilelessness of the Bret Harte heroes in the primitive Court scene, where the prisoner is condemned before the evidence is heard, but receives the assurance from the Sheriff that, while he will be hanged, “he will be hanged fair”; in the turn given to events by the transparent prejudices and predilections of the jury, and in the engaging potency of simple, sentimental motives that occasionally emerge. While there is some extravagance in the characters of this Western community, there is an underlying strength in the play, based on a sense of the elemental in human nature. It might be supposed that Mr Shaw, in this instance, has taken up with peculiar gusto the task of making a play from the rough and primitive material of the Now World in the making but that his analytical instinct and subtle sense of motive have given the play a deeper significance and interest than was probably at first intended' (The Scotsman, 18 September 1925).
24 Sep 1925 King's Theatre, Glasgow Professional
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‘The King’s Theatre, Glasgow, was again crowded last night, when Sr John Martin Harvey and company staged Maeterlinck’s “The Death of Tintagiles” and Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet.” Both performances were of a high standard, special recognition being won by Sir J. Martin Harvey in the rôles of Aglovale and Blanco Posnet respectively. Miss N. de Silva was also a success in both plays’. The Scotsman, 25 September 1925.
28 Sep 1925 Royal Court, Liverpool Professional
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‘Sir John Martin Harvey opened his week’s stay here with “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet.” It is a number of years since Liverpool saw the Irish Players in the work, and this revival was the more welcome on that account. Sir John’s Blanco is a particularly fine study - perfect down to the last detail, and as finished and finely-wrought as is all his work. Miss de Silva as Feemy gave one of her best efforts, and among the other excellent characterisations those of Alfred Ibberson (Elder Daniels), Gordon McLeod (Sheriff), and Mary Gray (the Woman) stand out prominently. The management of the crowd in the Court scene is a triumph of production. Blanco Posnet was preceded by Maeterlinck’s “The Death of Tintagiles”’. The Stage, 1 October 1925.
26 Dec 1925 Regent Theatre, London Professional
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Presented by the Macdona Company, with Shaw’s ‘Androcles and The Lion’, for five weeks during a repertory season at the Regent Theatre (Mander & Mitchenson, p. 294). 'It was a clever idea to put Mr. Shaw’s two early religions works together. In “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” a play at one time banned, he has as unimpeachably moral sentiments as any Rural Dean; and Posnet, with his “great game and his rotten game,” is but the forerunner of *Billy Sunday' (Daily Herald, 30 December 1925. Billy Sunday,1862-1935, was an American baseball player and evangelical preacher: Billy Sunday - Wikipedia). 'Will there be a New Year sermon preached anywhere better than “Blanco Posnet”? I saw a number of clergymen in the house sitting enthralled by the burning eloquence of Blanco’s discourse on salvation. Just the plain material of any Sunday sermon, but how transfused in this instance by imagination and the sense of spiritual beauty!' (Daily News (London), 1 January 1926). '‘By way of celebrating the holiday season and of showing the adaptability of their idol to all moods and most publics, the Macdona Players at the Regent are performing a double bill ... consisting of “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” and “Androcles and the Lion.” The first is held to be suitable, no doubt, on grounds of general colour and rough-and-tumble, and its message, of course, is unexceptionable. I shall confidently expect the introduction of “the great game” to the juvenile public to bear fruit, and on every count I think it more reasonable that this work should be placed on the recommended list for Boy Scouts’ entertainments than forbidden, as it is hard to believe that it once was, by an obdurate Censor. Incidentally, it is one of the most closely knit and genuinely felt pieces which has come from Mr. Shaw’s pen, and, in spite of some appearance of skilful improvisation, never fails to make its effect in the theatre. The Macdona Players are fairly at home in it, and although I remember the performance of the Irish Players as having a more natural abandon, there is a good deal to be said for the painstaking thoroughness of Mr. Esme Percy and his coadjutors’ (Truth, 6 January 1926). ‘“The name of Bernard Shaw does not now strike terror as it once did.” That sentence is printed on the programme of the Macdona players’ repertory company at the Regent Theatre. It seems a truism that hardly needed enunciation. “Strike terror.” There is certainly no terror among the Regent Theatre audiences. At times there is an almost antiquarian interest in recalling the “daring” of a forgotten epoch, to-day so tame. For the rest there is a keen intellectual (seldom emotional) pleasure in listening to the reflections of an intellect so brilliant that it shines even through a tattered technique. For some of Shaw, beyond any question, is “tattered.” He has suffered the fate of all innovators. His innovations have been given far more prominence than they deserved, and as a result, as soon as they cease to be innovations they be become old-fashioned … All of which is merely to say that to endow Shaw - as so many of his admirers insist - with a perpetual and divine youth is a foolish and irritating habit. He is quite big enough to bear just criticism. For if some of his work appeared on Monday like a desert - dreary stretches of talk covered with the footprints of a vanished age, it was abundantly evident that the desert is yet worth traversing. It contains oases of insight so clear and sparkling that they will never be parched, and is dotted with mountains on which human thought reaches its loftiest heights … “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet” might have been written yesterday. Why? Because it tells a simple story, because it deals with primitive human emotions. Because, in fact, it does not preach. It narrates. Shaw plunges deep into the human heart in that great scene between the mystery mother and the “loose girl” of the town. It is a tremendous exposition of an eternal antithesis. As long, too, as the English language is spoken will live the figure of Blanco Posnet himself, the sodden, blaspheming wastrel who shakes his fist in the face of God, with the searing words, “He always keeps a trick up His sleeve. He’s a mean one. He’s a sly one"' (Weekly Dispatch (London), 10 January 1925). 'The run of the present plays [at the Regent Theatre] (“Androcles and the Lion” and “Blanco Posnet”) will terminate on January 30' (The Stage, 21 January 1926).
15 Mar 1926 [No Theatre Listed], Amateur
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‘Of quite recent formation, the Lewisohn D.S., directed by Victor Lewisohn, made a brightly auspicious entry into the ranks of amateur societies on March 15 with the presentation of four one-act plays. The plays selected offered a wide range for the display of talent … “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” … revealed the real strength of the society. F. Basil Guedalla’s study of Elder Daniels stood out for its remarkable faithfulness of portrayal, and Henry Webb as Blanco Posnet struck the right note of the devil-may-care scamp, and was particularly fine in the delivery of his final lines. Constance Foljambe gave us a Feemy full of intense feeling, albeit a little over acted at times when her enthusiasm carried her beyond the bounds of restraint. Duncan Marks, H. V. Tether, and Doris Millward helped considerably in the success of this presentation’. The Stage, 18 March 1926.
11 Apr 1926 Holloway Cooperative Hall, London Amateur
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‘[Golder’s Green] had a very successful performance of “Blanco Posnet” at the Holloway Cooperative Hall, under the auspices of the North Islington Sunday-school [presumably on Sunday 11 April]. Sixpence admission was charged, but the place was packed. At the Labour Hall, Stoke Newington, on the following Sunday [18 April] many people were turned away, and the programmes were completely sold out. Last Sunday [25 April] the group was at Highfield, during the week-end school of the Inner London Federation of the I.L.P.'. Daily Herald, Thursday 29 April 1926.
18 Apr 1926 Labour Hall, Stoke Newington, London Amateur
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‘[Golder’s Green] had a very successful performance of “Blanco Posnet” at the Holloway Cooperative Hall, under the auspices of the North Islington Sunday-school [presumably on Sunday 11 April]. Sixpence admission was charged, but the place was packed. At the Labour Hall, Stoke Newington, on the following Sunday [18 April] many people were turned away, and the programmes were completely sold out. Last Sunday [25 April] the group was at Highfield, during the week-end school of the Inner London Federation of the I.L.P.'. Daily Herald, Thursday 29 April 1926.
25 Apr 1926 ?, London Amateur
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‘[Golder’s Green] had a very successful performance of “Blanco Posnet” at the Holloway Cooperative Hall, under the auspices of the North Islington Sunday-school [presumably on Sunday 11 April]. Sixpence admission was charged, but the place was packed. At the Labour Hall, Stoke Newington, on the following Sunday [18 April] many people were turned away, and the programmes were completely sold out. Last Sunday [25 April] the group was at Highfield, during the week-end school of the Inner London Federation of the I.L.P.'. Daily Herald, Thursday 29 April 1926.
5 Jun 1926 St Kilda's Hall, North Finchley, London Amateur
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‘“The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” by George Bernard Shaw, was presented at St. Kilda’s Hall, North Finchley, by the Golders Green I.L.P. Players on Saturday, in aid of the Miners’ Dependents’ Fund. The crude life in a ranching town in Western U.S.A. was realistically portrayed, all the actors showing an understanding of their parts, whilst some of the representations were nothing less than brilliant. Mr. Frank B. Hayward, as Blanco Posnet, was the sentimental bad man to perfection. He carried the audience with him in the final stage of the trial, where Blanco, the horse-thief, preaches a sermon to his accusers. His fit of madness was almost too convincing for the comfort of the audience ...' (Hendon & Finchley Times, Friday 11 June 1926).
16 Oct 1926 YMCA, Blyth Amateur
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‘With Mr J. Murray as an able and genial chairman, Blyth Adult School held a successful social in the Y.M.C.A. on Saturday night. A large gathering heard a dramatic reading of G. B. Shaw’s “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet,” by Mr Eric Barber, of Bensham Grove Settlement. The masterly characterisation captivated everyone’. Blyth News, Thursday 21 October 1926.
18 Oct 1926 Coliseum, London Professional
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The cast is listed in Mander & Mitchenson, p. 335: Babsy, Bessie Elder; Lottie, Marjorie Bassett; Hannah, Clara Biscoe; Jessie, Ann Furell; Emma, Dolly Peter; Elder Daniels, Wilfred Shine; Blanco Posnet, John Martin Harvey; Strapper Kemp, Leonard Daniels; Feemy Evans, Nell de Silva; Sherriff Kemp, Gordon McLeod; Foreman of Jury, Frederick Morgan; Nestor, a Juryman, Michaël Mackenzie; The Woman, Mary Gray; Waggoner Jo, Harold Carton. ‘Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” has a curious effect on audiences at variety theatres. When it was performed at the Alhambra some time ago by “Young Buffalo” the play was taken at first as a Wild West melodrama. This was understandable. All the characters are familiar in films, although the play was written long before the screen had made the Wild West popular, and to the eye everything happens as it should inn a self-respecting melodrama. The hero is the traditional good badman, and the worst woman of the town is discovered as being the most Christian of all. Elder Daniels is our old canting hypocrite of melodrama, and so on. But the climax of the play and the ideas leading up to the climax always puzzle popular audiences. It was so at the Alhambra, and again yesterday at the Coliseum, where Martin-Haney and his company are giving a complete performance of the play. The part of Blanco Posnet particularly suits Martin Harvey. The robustious side of the character comes easily to an actor trained as he is in holding the stage in strong drama. But he realised better than any other Blanco Posnet I have seen the spiritual conversion of the man and his half humorous contempt of his own softness. There is a good company, and Miss N. de Silva showed quite a new facet of her talent as Feemy Evans, the gay lady of the “rotten” town. This actress has always had to play colourless heroines, but she has evidently been wasted as a melodramatic puppet. She is a strong character actress’ (Daily News (London), 19 October 1926). ‘Bernard Shaw will have it that his plays are unsuitable for the variety stage unless tacked on to the end of a programme to serve as what are professionally called “house emptiers.” This, of course, may be one of Mr. Shaw’s little jokes or it may be due to the idea that a music-hall audience is in too frivolous a mode to appreciate or even desire anything that demands serious thought. I would not go so far as to deny the general accuracy of this diagnosis, but the success of Sir John Martin Harvey’s revival of “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet “ at the Coliseum yesterday was sufficient to prove that there is an “audience” for Bernard Shaw even in the music-hall. The test was not altogether a fair one, as Mr. Shaw’s “sermon in crude melodrama” did not come on until the end of a very long programme, which ranged from the jazziest of jazz to the grace of Lola Menzeli, whose toe dancing is a joy to see. But there was never any question about Shaw “getting over" ... allowance must be made for a broadening of the acting to suit such a huge auditorium. All the same, this revival is interesting and well worth seeing’ (Westminster Gazette, 19 October 1926). 'This is the first time Sir John Martin Harvey ... has played from the works of Mr. Bernard Shaw … We are, however, in no danger of forgetting – Sidney Carton alone would keep this well in our minds – his power in drama; and, as Mr. Shaw describes “Blanco Posnet” as melodrama, it obviously is to be seen to the fullest advantage when played under the direction of the brain which has brought “The Only Way” [a stage adaptation of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities] to perfection. We not only see Blanco most vividly when he is acted by Martin Harvey, but we see Martin Harvey at his best as Blanco. No burly figure of man could demonstrate the heroic soul of the horse thief so well as this dauntless but rather frail figure. Swaggering, husky-voiced, stentorian when roused, unflinching in gaze, his idea of the horse thief is more robust, as well as finer, than any have seen since the war' (The Era, 20 October 1926). ‘Sir John Martin Harvey in Bernard Shaw’s long-banned playlet, “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet,” and the appearance of Lola Menzeli, the astonishing prima ballerina, are the outstanding features of this week’s programme at the London Coliseum. The Coliseum audience was not bewildered or worried by the Shayian audacities. Why should they be when graver matters are so cunningly mingled with Wild West melodrama and such human things as the touching of a bad woman’s heart?' (Daily Mirror, 20 October 1926). ‘Sir John Martin Harvey’s revival of “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” will continue at the London Coliseum next week. In the same programme will be the Italian Fio-Reuza Sisters, who will be making their first appearance in England; Santos Casani and José Lennard, who will demonstrate the new flat Charleston dance, as well as other terpsichorean movements; Nixon Grey, Fred Duprez, and the Daros’ (The Stage, 21 October 1926).
7 Dec 1926 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘The production of Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” at the Abbey Theatre next Tuesday will be a notable event in that theatre’s history. It will be the first Greek play produced by the Abbey Company ... The play will be followed by Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet.” There will be a matinee on Saturday’ (Evening Herald (Dublin), Saturday 4 December 1926). ‘It was a shrewd thing to combine on one programme two plays so remotely removed from each other as “Oedipus the King” and “The Shewing lip of Blanco Posnet,” staged at the Abbey last night. Ancient and modern philosophers had created both dramas, and the points of similarity, in so far as the ideas of the Deity were concerned, were truly remarkable. The gods of Thebes and the God of the American Town Hall seem to be, according to these philosophers, little different in their revenges. That the gods will let us humans carry on with our own sweet will for a while, but they will get us in the end, appears to have been the accepted religion of Oedipus and Blanco Posnet. The pagan gods had spoken through their oracles and soothsayers to the King, who was unconscious of his crimes, just as the God of the Christians had spoken through the mouths of Elders to the cowboy who was going to be hanged for unconscious horse stealing … “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” was a good performance, with Arthur Shields and Maureen Delany at their best. Its production took away the twang of the previous tragedy’ (Evening Herald (Dublin), 8 December 1926.)
9 Dec 1926 Queen's University, Belfast Amateur
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‘The Queen’s University Dramatic Society, adventurous enough to gratify Toc H, are running a little season of no fewer than five plays, of which last night’s share was Gordon Bottomley’s “King Lear’s Wife,” Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” and “Local News,” by Mr. R. C. Calvert … Curiously, it never struck us before that the “Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” is another version of the “Hound of Heaven,” and that, here anyhow, Shaw and Francis Thompson are akin. It, too, was exceedingly well played, and how pleasant it was, after the first few words had proved these people were to speak out, to sink back in the chair, able to absorb its humours, its irony, and its teachings' (Northern Whig, 10 December 1926).
20 Dec 1926 Guildhall, Gloucester School
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'Present and past members of the Crypt Grammar School, Gloucester, gave a concert and entertainment in the Guildhall on Monday evening … In the second part the programme the School Dramatic Society presented “The Showing-Up Blanco Posnet,” by G. Bernard Shaw. Though the Wild West element of the play makes a certain superficial appeal, the psychological issues with their crude emotionalism and still cruder mysticism make considerable demands on the actors, and the admirable nature of the performance from beginning to end reflected the highest credit not only on the actors themselves but also on Messrs. E. C. White and It. W. Crammer, who were responsible for the preparation of the play' (Gloucester Citizen, 22 December 1926).
22 Dec 1926 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Amateur
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‘The success of the Ulster Players on their recent visit to Dublin tends to increase the interest attached to the visit of another Northern dramatic society to the metropolis next week, when the Queen’s University (Belfast) Dramatic Society open a short season at the Abbey Theatre. Abbey patrons are familiar with most of the plays to be produced, but this does not lessen the interest in the students’ visit. On the contrary, it will afford a unique opportunity of comparing their merits with those of the famous Abbey Players … The programme arranged for the week is as follows … Wednesday, “Magic” [by G. K. Chesterton] and “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” by G. B. Shaw …Thursday night, “The Lover” [by Martinez Sierra],” “Local News” [by R. C. Calvert], “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” “King Lear’s Wife” [by G. Bottomley]’. Evening Herald (Dublin), Saturday 18 December 1926.
17 Jan 1927 Theatre Royal, Brighton Professional
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‘Sir John Martin-Harvey opened a tour on Monday at the Royal, Brighton, where he will revive “The Lyons Mail,” using the version made popular by Sir Henry Irving. His programme will include “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet,” “Ib and Little Christina,” “A Cigarette Maker’s Romance,” and “The Burgomaster of Stilemonde.” Miss N. de Silva, Mr. Gordon McLeod, Mr. Fred Grove, Mr. Oswald Lingard, Miss Marie Linden, and Miss Mary Gray will be in the company. The Stage, 20 January 1927.
24 Jan 1927 Theatre Royal, Bournemouth Professional
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‘“The Lyons Mail,” "David Garrick,” “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet” (preceded by “Ib and Little Christina”), “The Burgomaster of Stilemonde,” and “A Cigarette Maker’s Romance” form the attractive repertory of plays presented by Sir John Martin-Harvey and his clever company’. The Stage, 27 January 1927.
3 Feb 1927 Grand Theatre, Southampton Professional
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The Hampshire Advertiser, 29 January 1927, advertised Martin Harvey’s company at the Grand Theatre, Southampton, the following week; they would perform “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” and “Ib and Little Christina” on Thursday and Friday evenings.
11 Feb 1927 Hippodrome, Golders Green, London Professional
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The Hendon & Finchley Times, 4 February 1927, advertised Martin Harvey’s company at the Golders Green Hippodrome the following week; they would perform “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet”, preceded by “Ib and Little Christina”, on Friday 11 February.
24 Feb 1927 New Oxford Theatre, London Professional
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‘Sir John Martin Harvey, with Miss N. de Silva and his London company, will be at the [Oxford Theatre] for the week commencing February 21st. On Monday and Tuesday and at the Saturday matinee he will produce Maurice Maeterlinck’s “The Burgomeister of Stilemonde,” on Wednesday and Saturday evenings “David Garrick,” and on Thursday and Friday evenings “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” and Basil Hood’s “Ib and Little Christina”’. Banbury Guardian, 20 January 1927.
1 Mar 1927 Grand Theatre, Derby Professional
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‘Already bookings are piling up for next week, when Sir John Martin Harvey is visiting Derby again after an absence which has been prolonged far too much ... Tuesday evening will be presented a double bill, “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet,” by Bernard Shaw, and Captain Basil Hood’s charming picture “lb and Little Christina”’. Derby Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 23 February 1927. ‘George Bernard Shaw gave to the world “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” in 1909, and for the best part of 20 years the play has been “banned” on religious grounds. When at last the ban is lifted, and this masterpiece of the greatest brain of the generation is presented by one of the finest actors of the day, one might reasonably expect that any theatre in the land should be packed to overflowing on the occasion of such an intellectual treat Such was not the case at the Grand Theatre on Tuesday, for the “house” was decidedly thin when Sir John Martin Harvey presented “The Showing Up of Blanco Basnet” and Basil Hood's delightful cameo “Ib and Little Christina.” What they lacked in size, however, the audience made up in enthusiasm, and the quality of the acting was indeed of an order calculated to rouse the most indifferent … In a very different way Shaw has painted the same moral as Jerome in the “Third Floor Back,” but where Jerome uses methods of gentle persuasion, Shaw employs shock tactics upon his audience. Jerome chastens, Shaw chastises' (Derby Daily Telegraph, 2 March 1927). ‘The play is characteristic of G. B. Shaw, and interpreted by Martin Harvey and his company it gladdens the heart of “Shavians.” The story is reminiscent of the old horse-stealing days out in the Wild West. Blanco Posnet, a typical product of that period when riding, shooting, swearing, and drinking went hand in hand, is accused of horse stealing but proves his innocence before a Sheriff’s court. Life suddenly assumes a different aspect for him, he resolves to turn from the “rotten game” to the “great game"' (Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 4 March 1927).
11 Mar 1927 Theatre Royal, Newcastle Professional
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The Newcastle Journal, 28 February 1927, advertised Martin Harvey’s at the Theatre Royal the following week; they would perform “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” and “Ib and Little Christina” on Friday evening.
18 Mar 1927 Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Professional
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The Scotsman, 7 March 1927, advertised Martin Harvey’s at the Royal Lyceum Theatre the following week; they would perform “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet”, preceded by “Ib and Little Christina”, ‘by Special Request’ on Friday evening. ‘Last night’s performance of the play was marked by the supreme artistry of the players, and all did “justice” to Shaw’s wit and philosophy in a piece of familiar psychology, romantic, human and absorbing. In the part of Blanco Posnet, a Wild West ne’er-do-well, Sir J. Martin Harvey finds ample scope for his far-ranging gifts, and his outstanding presentation of the part was given with all his accustomed vigour and spontaneity. Lady Martin Harvey’s Feemy Evans was a clever study; and the other characters were admirably interpreted’ (The Scotsman, 19 March 1927).
22 Mar 1927 Friends' School, Hartshead Amateur
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‘In connection with the Hartshead Lecture and Debating Society, the members of the Adult School gave a creditable performance of G. B. Shaw’s “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet,” in the Friends’ School last night. The training of the artists was undertaken by Mrs. J. H. Doncaster, and the play was well carried out. Mr. Albert Slater as Blanco Posnet took a difficult part with praiseworthy ability, and an enjoyable entertainment was provided’. Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 23 March 1927.
5 Apr 1927 Cinema, Swaffham Amateur
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The Lynn Advertiser, 8 April 1927, reviewed a performance of Blanco Posnet by the Swaffham Amateur Players at the Cinema the previous Tuesday evening in aid of the funds of the University Extension Lectures.
3 Aug 1927 Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Professional
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The Scotsman, 25 July 1927, advertised the third and fourth (and last) weeks of the Macdona Players’ season of Shaw plays at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. On Wednesday and Thursday, 2 and 3 August, they would present ‘The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet’ followed by ‘Candida’. ‘The Macdona Players, who have been delighting large audiences with the performances of Mr Bernard Shaw’s works at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, presented two fresh plays last night, when they gave satisfying renderings of “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet” and “Candida.” Mr Esme Percy, who has been producing the plays during the present season, appeared in the part of Blanco Posnet, the horse thief who risks his neck to do a human action, and played it with much success. Mr George Merritt was an amusing Sheriff of the approved Wild West type, and Miss Margaret Rawlings was a pert and convincing Feemy Evans … Both plays were cordially received by the large audience last night’ (The Scotsman, 4 August 1927).
24 Aug 1927 King's Theatre, Glasgow Professional
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‘The Macdona Players, who are enjoying a successful season at Glasgow Theatre-Royal, delighted a large audience last night with the effective manner in which they presented “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet” and “Candida” … The dramatic situations in the first play were well treated, without being overdone, and the interest of the audience never flagged. The coarse-spoken and degenerate horse thief was powerfully drawn by Mr Esme Percy, who entered thoroughly into the spirit of the part and gave of his best. In the exacting role of Feemy, Miss Margaret Rawlings maintained her reputation. The personality of Sheriff Kemp was ably portrayed by Mr George Merritt, while Mr George E. Bancroft excelled in his delineation of Strapper Kemp. Mr Howieson Culff, as the foreman of the jury, and Mr George de Lara, as Elder Daniels, were also well cast’. The Scotsman, 25 August 1927. Noted in The Stage, 25 August 1927: that week was the third of the Macdona Players’; season and they were performing ‘The Philanderer’, ‘Blanco Posnet’ and ‘Candida’.
22 Oct 1927 Victoria Hall, Saltaire Amateur
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The Shipley Times and Express, 8 October 1927, advertised the Bradford I.L.P. Arts Guild (Dramatic Section) in ‘The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet’ and ‘The Man of Destiny’ at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire for two nights only, Saturday and Monday, 22 and 24 October 1927. ‘Followers of George Bernard Shaw were treated to two presentations by the Bradford I.L.P. Arts Guild (dramatic section) at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire, on Saturday. There was a good audience. The Arts Guild, who are affiliated to the Bradford Drama League, presented “The Man of Destiny” and “ The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet.” The part of Blanco was admirably performed by Arthur Whalley, his “don’t care a toss for God” attitude at the beginning being quite well done, while his sermon on the ways of mankind at the finish was equally impressive' (Shipley Times and Express, 29 October 1927).
21 Mar 1928 Watts Hall, Freemantle, Southampton Amateur
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The Hampshire Advertiser, 17 March 1928, advertised the Freemantle Adult School Dramatic Group in Shaw’s ‘The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet’ and Harold Brighouse’s ‘Lonesome Like’ at the Watts Hall on Wednesday 21 March 1928. ‘I could not help reflecting … in connection with the production by the Freemantle Adult Schools’ Dramatic Group of “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet.” I remember seeing, some years ago, an early attempt of a few Fremantle Adult School members to play a little dramatic version of Tolstoy’s ““Where love is God is” … “Blanco” was quite a grand performance by comparison. but it was informed by the same spirit. Curiously enough, too, by the way, “Blanco Posnet” is a sort of complement of Tolstoy’s story. It was the sincerity of the acting which gave it its value. Walter Southwell himself is an amateur actor of distinct ability, capable of being powerfully inspired by parts of a certain character. He surpassed himself in the very difficult role of Blanco, and he was the producer also. But one felt that it was the real spirit of fellowship, coupled with a common ideal, which had made so good a show possible with performers chosen from so narrow a circle’ (Hampshire Advertiser, 31 March 1928). See also an account of the group in the Hampshire Advertiser, 6 October 1934.
16 Apr 1928 Theatre Royal, Huddersfield Professional
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It is uncertain if and on what days Blanco Posnet was performed. The Leeds Mercury, 31 March 1928, reported: ‘A two weeks’ season of Bernard Shaw’s plays will be given by The Macdona Players at the Theatre Royal. Huddersfield, starting on Monday, April 16th. The two weeks’ programme will be made up to suit the wishes of playgoers, who are invited to name the plays they most wish to see from the following:- “Pygmalion,” “Man and Superman,” “The Doctor’s Dilemma,” “Fanny’s First Play,” “Major Barbara,” “The Devil’s Disciple,” “You Never Can Tell,” “The Man of Destiny,” “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” “Candida,” “John Bull’s Other Island,” “Overruled,” “Arms and the Man,” “How He Lied to Her Husband,” “Getting Married,” “ The Dark Lady of the Sonnets,” “The Philanderer,” “Widowers’ Houses,” “ The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion”’.
27 Apr 1928 St. Thomas’ Parish Hall, Acton, London Amateur
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‘Commencing at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 27th, Acton branch of the Workers’ Educational Association will hold a social, entertainment, and dance, at St. Thomas’ Parish Hall in Bromyard-avenue. The evening’s programme will include a performance of Mr. G. B. Shaw’s one-act play, “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” produced and performed by students and members of the branch' (West Middlesex Gazette, 31 March 1928). ‘The central feature [of the evening] was the performance of Shaw’s thrilling one-act play of primitive morality, “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet.” The name part in this well-known whimsical modern inversion of the old-time morality play, depicting “justice” in a remote American mining town, was played with sound insight into a complex character by Mr. Arthur Acland, who had made up well and gave good point to the cynical bitterness of the ne’er-do-well horse-thief, who had found himself betrayed by sympathy with suffering into a good action that nearly cost him his life. The lay sermon at the close was given with the downright homely elocution proper to the character. Another clever study was that of Mr. Frank H. Coxall as the sturdy sheriff, facing the blood-thirsty mob and torn by his own conflicting impulses ... The realism of a turbulent court house crowd was a feature of the good production’ (Acton Gazette, 4 May 1928).
20 Nov 1928 Pensions Issue Office, Acton Vale, London Professional
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‘For four and a quarter hours, an audience of about 2,500, which assembled in a bay of the huge canteen of the Pensions Issue Office, Acton Vale, on Tuesday night, was kept interested in a programme of song, recitation, dance, orchestral music and the drama arranged for its benefit by the Acton Workers’ Education Association and the Acton Civil Service Orchestral Society … The great triumph was, however, the appearance of a strong company in “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” which the society had given on a previous occasion, and now repeated, with only minor alterations in the cast, with increased virility, gusto and success. The play was admirably stage-managed, and the crowd of more or less boisterous characters, male and female, in court, to help in putting the rope round the neck of the horse-thief, sustained the realism of turbulent Far West “justice"' (Acton Gazette, 23 November 1928).
21 Nov 1928 Public Hall, Croydon Amateur
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The Croydon Times, 17 November 1928, advertised The Croydon Players in Shaw’s ‘How He Lied To Her Husband’ and ‘The Showing-up Of Blanco Posnet’ at the Public Hall, Croydon, on Wednesday and Thursday, 21 and 22 November. ‘Two plays by George Bernard Shaw formed the programme which the Croydon Players gave to crowded audiences at the Public Hall, Croydon, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The chief attraction was the performing of “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” a sermon in crude melodrama, which was banned by the Lord Chamberlain in 1904. Shaw is far from his best in this play, his attempt to plant a strong moral in the minds of his audience being defeated by his own construction of the play. Instead of following the undercurrent of the play, which is full of symbolism, the audience’s attention is directed to the trial of a horse-thief, and the chief interest is whether he will be lynched or not. “G.B.S.” has cloaked his moral lesson in too heavy a drama and except for well-written foreword on the Players programme, the problem of a soul in revolt would have been entirely ignored by the audience' (Croydon Times, 24 November 1928). Reviewed in The Stage, 29 November 1928, and The Era, 12 December 1928.
7 Dec 1928 Civil Service Luncheon Club, London Amateur
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘Acton Civil Service Orchestral Society and Acton (W.E.A.) Dramatic Group joined forces in providing what must be a unique entertainment at the Civil Service Luncheon Club. An audience of 500 testified to the growing popularity of variety entertainments, comprising, on this occasion, excellent orchestral selections, well-balanced variety items, and two one-act plays … Of the plays, G. B. Shaw’s “Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” was an easy winner, the entire company sustaining the Shavian philosophy from beginning to end ... This play was preceded in the first half of the programme by A. A. Milne’s “The Man in the Bowler Hat” …’. West Middlesex Gazette, Saturday 8 December 1928.
19 Jan 1929 Q, Kew Bridge, London Amateur
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‘The “Q” Theatre was occupied last Saturday afternoon by the members of Miss Beatrice Lewisohn’s Dramatic Society. Among the items of a most successful matinee were a portion of Jerome’s “The Passing of the Third Floor Back”; Galsworthy’s “The First and the Last,” Shaw’s “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet,” and a sketch by Mabel Constanduros entitled “The Family Group"' (The Era, 23 January 1929). ‘On Saturday, January 19, Miss Beatrice Lewisohn presented an entertainment the items of which provided further proof of the versatility of some members of her company … The last playlet in the rather long programme was George Bernard Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet.” Tilly Fox was excellent as the woman, as was Ralph Lardon as Blanco Posnet. J. Jesson French was admirable as the Sheriff. Other parts in the long cast were played with vigour and sincerity’ (The Stage, 24 January 1929(. ‘… The presentation of the spectacular scene from Bernard Shaw’s play which deals with the trial in a Wild West town of Blanco Posnet, a horse thief, was a clever piece of work, and greatly impressed the audience' (West London Observer, 26 January 1929).
1 Mar 1929 The Institute, Hampstead, London Amateur
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The Hendon and Finchley Times, 1 March 1929, advertised The Play and Pageant Union in Shaw’s ‘Blanco Posnet’, J. A. Ferguson’s ‘The Scarecrow’ and Harold Chapin’s ‘Dropping The Baby’ at The Institute, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, on Friday, Saturday and Monday, 1, 2 and 4 March 1929. Reviewed in The Era, 6 March 1929, and the Hendon and Finchley Times, 8 March 1929.
11 Mar 1929 City Literary Institute, London Amateur
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The performance dates shown are conjectural. ‘City Literary Institute. Courage is good; ambition is good, but both need to be tempered with discretion and a recognition if limitations. The Players (under the direction of A. C. Ward), who recently gave a very good performance of “Heartbreak House,” last week attempted “The Showing Up Of Blanco Posnet” and “Arms and the Man … The failure on the present occasion to give the necessary atmosphere, depth and sincerity to “Blanco Posnet” was not a happy augury of success with [the planned] “Back to Methuselah”’. The Era, 20 March 1929.
15 Jul 1929 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘Kathleen O’Brennan’s fine drama “Full Measure,” has its first revival this week … Shaw’s “The showing up of Blanco Posnet” is also in the bill’. The Stage, 18 July 1929.
24 Nov 1929 Metropole, Hull Amateur
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‘On Sunday afternoon at the Metropole a reading of G. B. Shaw’s play “Blanco Posnet,” was given by the University College Dramatic Society, under the auspices of the Hull Sunday Association. The name part was read by Mr H. Wackholder, while Miss F. Jackson took the role of “Feernie” [sic – Feemy] … A discussion followed the reading’. Hull Daily Mail, Monday 25 November 1929.
28 May 1930 Playhouse, Liverpool Professional
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‘On Wednesday next the first performance of the last production at the Playhouse for this season will take place. Lonsdale’s most recent comedy, “Canaries Sometimes Sing,” will replace “Thunder in the Air.” As a curtain-raiser there will be Shaw’s sparkling “The Shewing of Blanco Posnet.” Here is variety of production indeed, and a strong test of repertory versatility. In the Shaw playlet Mr. Lloyd Pearson will be the “Blanco Posnet.” Mr. James Harcourt the Sheriff, and Mr. Alfred Sangster the Elder Daniels, whilst the Misses Catherine and Pauline Lacey will be the leading ladies’ (The Liverpool Echo, 23 May 1930). ‘The final performance of the Playhouse current season will be on Saturday, June 21. The last programme of the season, “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” (G. B. Shaw), and “Canaries Sometimes Sing “ (Frederick Lonsdale), is attracting lively attention, and the advance bookings are very heavy. There are very few seats left for the last night’ (Liverpool Echo, 6 June 1930). 'William Armstrong has given us in “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” and “Canaries Sometimes Sing,” produced on Wednesday evening, May 28, one of the best double bills for some time. It is only of course in the readiness and pungency of their wit that Shaw and Lonsdale are to be compared, yet Lonsdale has a well-developed quality of satire, and these two plays make a good contrast. One of the most interesting points in seeing Blanco Posnet to-day is the realisation that the play was originally only licensed on condition that the truly religious side of it was to be excised. Nowadays it seems almost a fiercely moral play. It was admirably produced and equally well acted' (The Stage, 12 June 1930).
6 Dec 1930 Institute Hall, Upper Tooting, London Amateur
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‘The taste of the Bec Literary Institute is as worthy as its talents … On Saturday, the Society maintained its good standard of matter and manner by performing plays by the Poet Laureate and Mr. Bernard Shaw in the Institute Hall, Beechcroft-road, Upper Tooting. Mr. John Masefield’s play was “The Tragedy of Man,” and Mr. Shaw’s, his one-act sermon in crude melodrama, “The Showing Up of Bianco Posnet.” The second production was the more spirited and entertaining. but the first was the more skilful, because of the handicap which the cast had to fight … Mr. Shaw’s love for picking foolish laws to pieces, mocking conventions and diverting us with the inconsistency of his characters, and the triumphs of the most unlikely, was interpreted with fine spirit in “Blanco Posnet.” Mr. S. W. Griffin’s boisterous and inspired treatment of Blanco, the philosophical horse thief, was a conspicuous delight. The primitive Wild West courthouse scene was well staged, and Mr. Herbert Mumford’s fool of a sheriff, Mr Alfred Swinson (Blanco’s “rotten” hypocrite of a brother), and Mr. J. Steinhart, as Blanco’s unscrupulous prosecutor, gave lively performances with rich support from some of the supers. Miss Freda Mortimer, as one of those highly-painted women who prowl vampishly around Wild West saloons with twisted lips and arms akimbo, drawled competently, but looked far too charming for such a pursuit’ (Norwood News, Friday 12 December 1930).
19 Jan 1931 Civic Playhouse, Leeds Professional
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‘For two weeks the Civic Playhouse is reviving Bernard Shaw’s “The Showing of Blanco Posnet,” a play of the author’s aggressive years’ (Leeds Mercury, 17 January 1931). ‘Bernard Shaw is always daring and always witty, but the standard by which these qualities are judged varies with the years. The wit of “Overruled,” his little extravaganza on flirtation, and the daring of his speculation on Eternal Purpose in “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet” do not strike and startle so vividly as his display of those same qualities in, say, “The Apple Cart.” Moreover, the performance at the Leeds Civic Playhouse last night left the impression that full value of this still piquant dialogue can be secured only if it is delivered by actors having the capacity to project themselves, mentally, back to the period in which the plays were written, This the quartet did not in “Overruled” … “Blanco Posnet” was much more effective because it gave the company more to bite at; but it suffered from miscasting. Graham French, as the Elder, quite failed to convince that he had ever been boozy Posnet, who had drunk until he dared drink no more, and then turned religious. His plausibility was that of a Chinese laundryman, rather than that of a sanctimonious humbug who could fool a Wild West township. Ernest Hawtin’s Blanco was a haggardly impressive “bad man”; but his “shewing up,” which in another place would have been called a revelation, had not sufficient spiritual intensity. Blanco has seen a blinding light from Heaven; his message must have the searing flame of prophecy. The oft-repeated “rotten” should have expressed all those unfathomable things for which Blanco had no words; for Mr. Hawtin it seemed merely a forceful adjective. Alfred Hartopp spoke with excellent authority as the sheriff, and Annie Bellerby showed marked ability in a vigorous character sketch of the raddled and bedizened Feemy Evans. The court house crowd rose to the elemental fury of a French Revolutionary trial, and the scene was cleverly managed. “Blanco” was well worth reviving: no knowledge of Shaw could be adequate without it’ (Yorkshire Evening Post, 20 January 1931). ‘The more one sees of Bernard Shaw, the more one is baffled by him, and the more one wonders whether he, himself, is not sometimes baffled, if not about his intentions, at least about the significance of his accomplishment. “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” is a “sermon in crude melodrama,” but that is not enough. It is a sermon preached amid the traditional hysterics of the Wild West, a kind of philosophical adventure in the world of Buffalo Bill. The Civic Players, in opening a second week at the Albert Hall, put up a stout fight against a vast improbability, and achieved a performance technically finished, but aesthetically unsatisfying … These doubts, however, are entirely of Mr. Shaw’s creating. No blame attaches to the players, several of whom gave performances of distinction’ (Yorkshire Evening Post, 27 January 1931).
2 Feb 1931 Civic Playhouse, Bradford Professional
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‘Bradford Civic Playhouse will present Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet,” together with “Overruled,” Mr. Shaw’s one-act satire. “Blanco Posnet in particular is well worth seeing’. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 31 January 1931.
26 Feb 1931 Highways Hall, Reading Professional
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‘The Reading Repertory Company present three One-Act Plays: “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” and “How He Lied to her Husband,” by Bernard Shaw. “The Vision,” by Richard Alderman. At Highways Hall, Greyfriars Road, On Thursday and Friday, February 26th and 27th, at 7.30 p.m.’. Reading Standard, 21 February 1931. ‘The major item in the programme of three one-act plays which was given by members of the Reading Repertory Company in the Highways Hall, Greyfriars Road, Reading, on Thursday and Friday of last week, was certainly the finest production the society has yet presented to the public. It was G. Bernard Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” - the play which was banned for ten years from the English stage - and the production generally was a credit to the producer, Mr. Leonard Bradbury, and to the company as a whole. The excellent dramatic work that the producer managed to get out of a cast consisting of over twenty players was only equalled by the really marvellous manner in which he manipulated a difficult scene (with all the members of the cast in) on a very restricted stage area. The play involves a scrapping fight between a man and ten feminine viragos, a rowdy and demonstrative court scene (in which the barn is used as a courthouse) as well as countless situations that could easily have degenerated into a scramble on an even larger stage. As it was, one was never conscious of muddling and over-crowding, only of the great spiritual vitality of the production from beginning to end. The play itself - consisting of the trial of Blanco Posnet for horse-thieving in U.S.A about sixty years ago - is by many people considered one of the most striking examples of Shaw’s finest qualities. In the first place it carries its message (as any play of Shaw’s must do), its drama is vivid, the whole thing original and arresting, and the dialogue almost devastatingly frank and to the point. There are character studies, also, that stand out realistically, and smatterings of genuine, if usually bitter humour. Ruthless realism and equally ruthless idealism - Blanco’s idealisms - are combined in the simple story of how a man – “a rotten one” - as he calls himself, suddenly comes up against “his better self,” or God, as one likes to call it. One hopes that the Company will not let the production fall apart. It is a work that should be witnessed by many more of the public than those who have seen it, not only because it is a Shaw play that has probably never before been produced publicly in Reading, but because it is a genuine achievement' (Reading Standard, 7 March 1931).
9 Mar 1931 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘“Money,” a new play in two acts, and “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet,” by George Bernard Shaw, are presented [at the Abbey Theatre]’. The Stage, 12 March 1931.
15 Apr 1931 St. Anne’s Hall, Caversham, Reading Professional
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‘The Reading Repertory Company presents “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” and “The Fascinating Foundling,” by Barnard Shaw, “The Paternal Instinct,” by Richard Alderman, and “Defeat,” by John Galsworthy, At St. Anne’s Hall, Washington Road, Caversham … On Wednesday and Thursday, April 15th and 16th, at 7.30 p.m.’ (Reading Standard, 11 April 1931). Noted in The Era, 22 April 1931.
16 May 1931 St Michael's Hall, Lewes Amateur
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‘On Saturday evening, at St. Michael’s Hall, where there was an excellent attendance, the Lewes players brought to a conclusion a very interesting series of performances of one act plays, two of which were by George Bernard Shaw .After the fall of the curtain Mr. J. Jeffery, who had played the part of Blanco Posnet in Shaw’s play, on behalf of the company presented to the Rev. Kenneth Rawlings a very handsome, newly-published volume, containing the whole of the plays of George Bernard Shaw. Mr. Rawlings expressed his great pleasure at the gift, and spoke a few words of appreciation of the work of the Players during the week’. Sussex Agricultural Press, 22 May 1931.
5 Apr 1932 David Lewis Theatre, Liverpool Unknown
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‘Diary for Next Week … Tuesday and Wednesday Unity Players in “The Unattainable,” by Somerset Maugham, and “The Shewing Up Of Blanco Posnet,” by Bernard Shaw, David Lewis Theatre’ (Liverpool Echo, Saturday 2 April 1932). ‘The Unity Players, who have shown a consistent improvement in their work since their beginning in 1928, have not, to my viewing, done anything better than this production of Shaw’s “sermon in crude melodrama.” It was a virile piece of work notable for its team-work and having in Denis Forsyth’s Blanco and Ernest N. Ward’s Sheriff, two outstanding personations. Mr. Ward was ideally cast, while Mr. Forsyth’s study was most forceful, and though lacking in subtlety at one or two emotional points, its genuine spirit made it very enjoyable. Ann Pearson as Feemy did not express all the blatancy of the part. but she showed a real capacity for acting. Lewis Donne’s Elder Daniels was well-studied, but over-serious. A little more melodrama and a little less oratory seemed to be needed here. Victor Kneen was a noticeable figure as the foreman of the jury on which a dozen young men from the Liverpool Collegiate School served with good effect; while Helen Miller made an excellent entry as the mystery woman in the case. A word of praise is due also to the “chorus” of women, whose opening scene, particularly, was spiritedly done’ (Liverpool Echo, 9 April 1932).
30 May 1932 Miners' Hall, Murton Amateur
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‘Bernard Shaw’s play “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet” will be produced by the newly-formed Murton Community Players Society in the Miners’ Hall, Murton, on Monday and Tuesday. The play, which is described as a sermon in melodrama, will be given under the direction of Mr Eric S. Barber, Carnegie Trust dramatic producer and organizer for Durham and Northumberland, who will also take the leading part of Blanco Posnet. The Society was formed under the auspices of the Rock House Educational Settlement, Seaham Harbour’. Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 27 May 1932. ‘In the current issue of “Drama,” the organ of the British Drama League, Mr Eric Barber, the well-known producer, has a contribution on the development of amateur play-acting in Durham and Northumberland. Mr Barber says that an interesting new growth of drama has taken place in the mining areas of Durham and Northumberland during the last two years. As a result of a grant from the Carnegie Trust Fund, a dramatic organizer and producer was appointed in November, 1931, for the purpose of creating acting groups in pit villages and towns. Eight such groups have come into existence, mostly composed of men and women who had done no acting before. Plays which have been successfully produced are “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet" ... The Carnegie grant is now exhausted and the services of a paid producer will no longer be available, but the eight centres - Seaham Harbour, Murton, Silksworth, Waterhouses, Willington, Dipton, North Seaton, and Seaton Delaval - have every intention of carrying on the good work which they have begun. They have all joined the British Drama League and are hoping to take part in future league festivals’. Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 11 July 1933.
19 Sep 1932 ?, Braithwaite Amateur
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘The British Drama League’s two weeks’ holiday drama school at Braithwaite, near Keswick, the first important school of its kind to be held in North-West England, which concluded yesterday, proved an encouraging success, despite the comparatively small number of students attending. There were students present from Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Durham, as well as from all parts of Cumberland and Westmorland. The students, after only ten short rehearsals, presented “Elizabeth Refuses,” an adaptation from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” by Miss Margaret Macnamara, schools organiser to the British Drama League, and Shaw’s “The Showing Up Blanco Posnet,” under the direction of Mr. Rupert Harvey, assisted by Miss Audrey Frere, niece of the Bishop of Truro’. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 20 September 1932.
24 Oct 1932 Curtain Theatre, Rochdale Unknown
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‘It is pleasure to report that the Rochdale Curtain Theatre has commenced another stimulating season. The pleasure of seeing the Curtain Theatre players lies in that they can be conscientiously judged for what they are, that is serious and discerning students of drama. The galling trouble to-day is that so many people appear not to have the intelligence to realise that the art of the theatre amounts to something more than the act of strutting a stage. True, it is a very elementary distinction, but none the less important for that. On this occasion the Curtain Theatre present us with two plays of strongly contrasting character. It would be difficult to select more violent opposites than “Riders to the Sea” by J. M. Synge, and the “ Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” by George Bernard Shaw … our opinion is that “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” is unquestionably the better of the two plays. Melodrama it may be, but that does not prevent its author from putting into it more solid intellectual entertainment than is found in the majority of plays that are thrice as long. It is always so easy dismiss Shaw as a clever contortionist; it saves the often painful recognition that Shaw is a great master at the art of piercing our social armour. For instance a most appropriate text for “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” would be “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone.” That even the worst of us has a sound streak is shrewdly demonstrated in a manner that is typically Shavian. There is unerring purpose behind Mr. Shaw’s Wild Western melodrama. Those who act according to the letter and not the spirit get short shrift, as indeed they deserve to do. The play is put across with commendable verve and compelling effect. There is special interest for Todmorden people in the fact that Mr. William Taylor, whose abilities are well known locally, plays very ably the important part of Sheriff Kemp. Mr. Alfred Wolstencroft gave a lively rendering of Blanco; Mr. Ernest Phillips was most convincing as the sanctimonious, hypocritical humbug. Elder Daniels’ while Miss Lillian A. Blomley gave the part of Feemy Evans, the emotional vivacity that forcibly helped to drive the moral of the play well home. The jurors, cowboys. and women (among whom was another Todmordian, Mrs. Elsie Hollows) adequately filled the minor roles’. Todmorden & District News, Friday 28 October 1932.
23 Nov 1932 ?, Walsall Amateur
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‘Members of the Walsall Co-operative Drama Class gave three one-act plays at Bridge Street, on Wednesday night, which represented a phrase of the Education Department’s activities unknown to many Walsall people, even though this was the second public performance, and the Large Hall was well filled. Those (and there are some) who despair of amateur dramatics in Walsall should have been present; they might have modified their views … The three plays chosen for presentation were suitable and deservedly appreciated … The second was “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” in which Mr. George Bernard Shaw revels in some vigorous and quite typical horseplay. The caste ... gave the impression of enjoying the performance of the play as much as Mr. Shaw must have enjoyed writing it’. Rugeley Rimes, Saturday 26 November 1932.
25 Nov 1932 ?, Leicester Unknown
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The performance date shown is conjectural. The Leicester Chronicle, Saturday 26 November 1932, published a photograph captioned, ‘A scene from Bernard Shaw’s play, “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet’ performed by the Leicester Vaughan Players’.
4 Jan 1933 Village Hall, Cambo Amateur
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‘Sir Charles Trevelyan, Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland and a former Minister of Education took a leading part in Bernard Shaw’s “The showing up of Blanco Posnet,” which was played in the village hall at Cambo, last night. The play was given by the Cambo Players, [a] troupe which includes employees on Sir Charles’s estate, and servants from his seat, Wallington Hall, and an admirable interpretation of the melodrama of the Wild West was given. Before the curtain rose, Lady Trevelyan announced that James Ovens, the village joiner, who should have taken the part of Blanco, and Oswald Graham, a railwayman, who was cast as Elder Daniels, had been laid aside by influenza, and the respective characters were taken by Neville Veitch and Leslie Anderson, of the People’s Theatre, Newcastle, from which Miss Edith Bulmer undertook the production of this play. Sir Charles Trevelyan, with a false moustache, riding breeches and a cowboy hat, was the typical Western Sheriff who tries the horse thief, and he put a lot of energy into the part, though was no more successful than the villagers, whose Northumberland dialect frequently broke through in the dialogue’. Shields Daily News, 5 January 1933.
21 Apr 1933 The School, Edale Amateur
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‘Edale is shocked and disturbed. Edale has discovered Mr. George Bernard Shaw. Mr. Shaw probably does not know that he is one of the protagonists in a grand three-cornered contest which is dividing Edale into fiercely contending factions. The opponents are the Edale Village Players, the Edale Choral Society – and Mr. Shaw. The trouble began when the Village Players introduced a strong dose of Mr. Shaw into this little Derbyshire hamlet by producing “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet.” Long ago, in the stern days before the war, the Lord Chamberlain was startled by this particular play to such an extent that he refused to allow its public performance, relenting later, when all Mr, Shaw’s works became mellowed in the sun of general approval. If the Lord Chamberlain was startled, so was Edale. Only one performance of “Blanco Posnet” was given, but that was quite enough. Edale, nestling as it does under the slopes of Kinder Scout, is used to dealing with snowstorms, rainstorms and thunderstorms, but not with Shaw-storms. Mr. Shaw was denounced as blasphemous and vulgar – especially by the Choral Society, the deadly rival of the Village Players. There were alarms and excursions among the devotees of the rival bodies; there were indignation meetings. There were rumours that Shaw was to be banned by the village; that the Village Players were to be reprimanded; that future productions would be censored. Edale was definitely perturbed. But the Village Players are sticking to their guns. Mrs. Helen Herdman, the producer and organiser of the Players, told a representative of the “Daily Independent” yesterday that she saw no reason for all the protests that had arisen. “We discussed the play very thoroughly before we decided to produce it,” she said. “We decided that it was the right length for our needs, that it was a good play, and that it was well worth performing. There is no question of blasphemy; this is, of course, an intensely religious play, and those who are objecting to it have completely missed the point. We have been congratulated by many members of the audience on our performance.” Mrs. Herdman was quite unmoved by any suggestion of censorship. The society would, she said, continue to produce the plays of which it approved without interference from outside opinion. The Vicar of Edale, the Rev. C. E. Frith, was not so sure as Mrs. Herdman of the merits of the play. “I did not see the performance and I have not read the play, he said. “I do not know much about it, and I have no wish to be drawn into any controversy. But several people have told me that it is blasphemous and that they would never go to see it again. I have not heard a single person say anything good of the play.” It has been suggested that Mr. Shaw should be asked for his opinions. The arrival of a postcard bearing a cryptic phrase will be awaited with baited [sic] breath by all the inhabitants of contentious Edale” (Sheffield Independent, 10 May 1933). ‘“It is a bare-faced lie. I am not the leader of those who are supposed to be seeking to end the activities of the village Amateur Dramatic Society. It has nothing to with me.” This was the indignant and outspoken reply the Vicar of Edale (the Rev. C. A. Frith) gave to a Derbyshire Times staff reporter in the course of an interview on Wednesday concerning reports which have appeared in some daily newspapers this week regarding the trouble purported to have arisen over the village Dramatic Society’s recent production of George Bernard Shaw’s play, “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet.” … I called upon Mrs. Heardman at the Church Hotel, who informed me she was the Society’s producer and had held the position since the organisation was formed about 12 months ago. She said that the Society had given two performances - three one-act plays last October and the play over which there has been so much controversy - on April 21st …’ (Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 13 May 1933). ‘Although he has no objection to Shakespeare, many of the works of George Bernard Shaw are not fit for a place like Edale, Derbyshire, the vicar, the Rev C A. Firth, told the “Dispatch.” Mr. Firth is chairman of Edale village school managers, who have issued in edict that all plays, sketches, and operettas to be performed in the school have to submitted to them before they can be presented. This censorship has arisen out of the Edale Village Drama Group producing Bernard Shaw’s play “Blanco Posnet” some time ago and which, according to Mr. Firth, offended a number of his parishioners. When Mrs. Heardman, the producer, thought of staging another play she was told that before the school could be booked the managers must see the play, and two of them, “John Dory, Novelist,” by Alice Halsey, and “Thirty Minutes in a Street,” by Beatrice Major, have now received their approval ... Referring to the Shaw play, Mr. Firth said: “We were grossly insulted, but we have not sought revenge. We might have asked for a public apology before we granted the use of the schoolroom, but we are more broadminded and generous than to pursue the matter. I am interested in the village life, and as the leader and conductor of the Edale Musical Society will produce in February the operetta “Duke’s Dilemma”’ (Nottingham Evening Post, 28 December 1933; also reported in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 28 December 1933).
10 May 1933 ?, Seaton Delaval Amateur
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‘Two plays, “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” and “The Miser of Rogafjord,” were presented at Seaton Delaval, last night, by the old scholars of the Astley Central School’. Shields Daily News, 11 May 1933.
12 Jan 1934 Conway Hall, London Amateur
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‘Upon my soul, I don’t think I have ever seen such badly produced student-actors as those who appeared at the Conway Hall last Friday evening. They belonged to the Lewisohn Dramatic Society, and are different from ordinary amateurs in that they pay a well-known and well-tried professional actor, Victor Lewisohn, to train them. Amateurs usually respond remarkably well to the efforts of a professional producer; these were the exceptions. The four one-act plays appeared to have been thrown on the stage at the last moment; and some of the acting was not worthy a drawing-room charade … The plays were: “Heard In Camera,” a long-winded and (so far as I could judge), far too complicated mystery, by Essex Dane; Richard Hughes’s “The Sisters’ Tragedy,” a play that has genuine irony and pathos, but should end far sooner than it does; “It’s the Poor that ‘Elps the Poor,” by Harold Chapin; and “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet,” by G.B.S. … In Shaw’s play, Hyam Gilbert played Blanco with such real fire that one forgave his occasional drying-up, while Roland Abbott, as Elder Daniels, was plausible and unctuous in the right degree. Stanley Grimes, as the Sheriff, was unfortunately buried behind a crowd’. The Era, 17 January 1934.
15 Jun 1934 Playhouse, Leicester Amateur
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘Leicester’s summer Drama School was opened at the Playhouse, Leicester, last night, when Dr. R. F. Rattray gave the inaugural address … The School has been organised by British Drama League, and will last all week … Mr. Fernald held an audition for the casting of “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet,” and Miss Frances Mackenzie, also of the B.D.L., cast “Two Gentlemen of Soho.” During the week model rehearsals of these two plays will be undertaken’ (Leicester Evening Mail, 5 June 1934). ‘Our first Summer School of Drama is over; it has been a pronounced social and artistic success … Mr. Fernald, who undertook the rehearsals of “Blanco Posnet,” conducted(?) his cast skilfully. This rehearsal certainly demonstrated to everyone at the school that there are many competent young women actresses in our midst’ (Leicester Chronicle, 16 June 1934).
13 Dec 1934 Ebury Hall, Rickmansworth Amateur
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‘That splendid little group of players, the West Herts Players’ Club, are to be heartily congratulated on the programme, which they have announced. It would serve to show societies caught in the deep groove of current farce, what I believe to be the error of their ways. The productions, of which there are four each season, are given to active and associate members of the club at their own theatre, Ebury Hall, at Rickmansworth … December 13, 14, and 15 will see a double bill, “Martine,” an idyll of French peasant life, and Bernard Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet”’ (Uxbridge and West Drayton Gazette, 5 October 1934; also Buckinghamshire Examiner, 5 October 1934). ‘[“Blanco Posnet”] was an outstanding success. What a playwright is Shaw! From the rise of the curtain to its fall there is movement, vivid colour, sudden and intense drama, shrewd and true-to-life humour, and the audience’s attention is riveted all the time. The pace of the play was terrific, and the producer, G. Ogilvie Mitchell, saw that it was kept up the whole way through ... No summary could possibly do justice to the many twists and turns of the story. The play is a perfect specimen of its type and was superbly acted throughout by the whole of a fairly large cast ... The producer has to be congratulated on one of the best amateur performances Rickmansworth has seen for a very long time' (Buckinghamshire Examiner, 21 December 1934).
10 Feb 1936 Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Amateur
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‘Mr Neil Porter ... adjudicated at the second session of the preliminary performances in the tenth annual festival of the South-East Division of the Scottish Community Drama Association at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, last night ... [The plays presented included] “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” by Bernard Shaw. This play, which was given by the Kirk o’Field College Drama Club, produced by Christine Orr and stage-managed by Elsa Davidson, was singled out by the adjudicator as the best work of the evening …Mr Porter said that “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” struck him as being a very happy choice indeed, as it was not acted too often. “Bernard Shaw,” he said, “writes a great many works, and it is possible to play these and keep an audience going, but I submit that the actor has to help him sometimes. Shaw plays will not play themselves entirely. An actor has got to bring something to them.” The production by the Kirk o’ Field College Drama Club was praised for its very good grouping, for fairly good pace and variety, for the imagination of the producer, for very good team work, for an adequate set, and for excellent costumes"' (The Scotsman, 11 February 1936; also The Scotsman, 17 February 1936).
4 Dec 1937 Little Theatre, Plymouth Amateur
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‘Sir James Barrie’s “The Twelve Pound Look” was presented by the Tamaritans at the Little Theatre, Plymouth, on Saturday night ... There was also a play reading of Shaw’s “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet.” The reading was under the direction of Mr. E. Aitken-Davies’. Western Morning News, 6 December 1937.
22 Mar 1938 Red Cow Hotel, Hammersmith Road, London Amateur
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‘Much appreciation of the humour of Bernard Shaw was shown at the meeting of the West London branch of the I.F.L. at the Red Cow Hotel, Hammersmith Road, W.14, on Tuesday evening last, when his play, “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet,” was read by some of the members, who gave excellent expression to the parts they took’. West London Observer, 25 March 1938.
12 Aug 1938 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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‘Dublin, Friday. At last the Abbey Theatre, by giving in one programme Mr. W. B. Yeats’s “On Bailes Strand” and Mr. Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” has presented a clue to the inquiring and puzzled critic. Mr. Yeats’s play of the killing by Cuchulain of his own son showed the actors at their worst: Mr. Shaw’s showed them at their best … when they came to “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” the actors sprang into life like prisoners freed from their chains. Mr. Shaw’s name cannot be enrolled on the roll-call of the Abbey Theatre dramatists: it was the ban of the English censor that handed this play to the Irish company. And no reverence, no ritual, clogged them. They rose from their knees and stood up like actors. Mr. Arthur Shields as the horse-thief, Mr. Austin Weldon most adroitly as the sheriff, Mr. Michael J. Dolan as the elder; these and half-a-dozen others gave the performances of enfranchised actors in their own right. Mr. Hugh Hunt’s direction, too, gave the play a fresh breath of theatrical life: he grouped it with liveliness and skill and set on it the briskest and wittiest pace. It was consequently the best performance that the Abbey has given so far this week'. Daily News (London), 13 August 1938.
12 Feb 1939 Playhouse, London Professional
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Mander & Mitchenson, p. 335, list the cast as follows: Babsy, Wendy Attenborough; Lottie, Monica Stirling; Hannah, Thelma Rea; Jessie, Ethel Warwick; Emma, Bunty Bruce; Elder Daniels, George Wray; Blanco Posnet, Esmé Percy; Strapper Kemp, Geoffrey Wardwell; Feemy Evans, Margaret Rawlings; Sherriff Kemp, Edmund Willard; Foreman of Jury, Edward Wheatleigh; Nestor, a Juryman, J. Lister Williams; The Woman, Catherine Lacey; Waggoner Jo, Allan Hamilton. ‘The bill of one-act plays which Miss Nancy Price is presenting at the Playhouse for three performances (profits to the funds for the distressed areas) consists of one well-known Shaw and one unknown Dunsany … Mr. Shaw’s famous melange or [sic – of?] horse-opera and higher thought was as sharp and to the point as a new pin … In “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” Mr. Esme Percy, who also directed, played Blanco with terrific gusto, and Miss Margaret Rawlings as “Feemy” and Miss Catherine Lacey as “The Woman” each had only a moment. But what good moments they both made of them!’ (Daily News (London), 15 February 1939). 'In behalf of the funds for the Distressed Areas, Nancy Price and the People’s National Theatre arranged three special performances of “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” and a new poetic playlet by Lord Dunsany entitled “The Bureau de Change.” The first performance was held on Sunday evening, February 12; the second, a matinée, on Tuesday; and the third will be given at the Playhouse to-morrow. Miss Price’s choice of plays for her charities, with the generous support of a notable company of players, was well marked by strong contrast. “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” is one of Shaw’s most effective plays. It is virile and colourful. It is also more compact than some of Mr. Shaw’s plays, and it would be difficult to point to a single line less trenchant than it should be or superfluous to the action. Thus while it is true that “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” may be called by its author “a sermon in crude melodrama” the lesson is not thrust upon one per se, and the melodrama is crude only because it is undisguisedly human and true in the little allegory (in “knee boots, breeches, Garibaldi shirts, cowboy hats” and with bronco countryside) it sets out to imprint on heart as well as mind. Some there may be who think that “Blanco” is the most human of Shaw’s plays, for what it teaches is also something most needful of being taught. It is pity ... the selection of a rough community for the expounding of this gospel of pity removes the sermon from the mock mawkishness that charity has in the spheres of a regulated philanthropy. Modern dramatic literature has little to excel the masculine quality of that last outburst by Blanco' (The Stage, 16 February 1939).
14 Feb 1939 St Margaret's Hall, Durham Amateur
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‘A performance of the one-act Shaw play, “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” by Durham Dramatic Society, gained them first place in a Northern area preliminary round of the British Drama League Festival in St. Margaret’s Hall, Durham, last night. Other contestants were Chester-le-Street Dramatic Society (“Othello”); Gateshead Progressive Players (“After All These Years”); and Bensham Settlement (“The Dark Lady of the Sonnets”). Mrs Alida Richardson, of Whickham, was adjudicator’ (Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 15 February 1939). Shaw’s play was a losing finalist in the competition: Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 20 February 1939; and see also the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 10 March 1939.
20 Oct 1939 ?, Nottingham Amateur
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‘The Nottingham Philodramatic Society begins its season on Friday with a talk on “Stage Design” by Mr. Don Finley, the Court Players’ scenic artist. At the second meeting, a fortnight later, a reading of G. B. Shaw’s “Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” will be given by members … For the ordinary meetings the Society’s rehearsal room will be used instead its fine little theatre’. Nottingham Journal, Wednesday 4 October 1939. ‘Unable to use their theatre because of the difficulty of securing a complete black-out, the Nottingham Philodramatic Society have refused to be discouraged, and retreating, so to speak, to the catacombs, last night produced one of Bernard Shaw’s most famous one-act plays, “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” in the rehearsal room of their Bluecoat-street headquarters. It was quite like the old days in Alfred-street for nobody was quite sure where the audience finished and the stage began, all entrances and exits having to be made along the centre gangway and from the rear of the spectators … Time was when this play, in which the name the Almighty is so “frequently invoked,” was on the Censor’s black list - but this was in the days when the powers that be took Bernard Shaw more seriously. Having got away with “St Joan,” a far more ticklish theological hurdle to cross, G. B. S.’s “lay sermon,” with a horse thief for its preacher, no longer shocks ... In all Bernard Shaw’s plays everyone has more than enough to say for themselves but there is more illusion and action in this piece than most. Apart from other considerations the production proved that despite the wartime conditions under which we are all living there is no need for amateur dramatic organisations to get faint-hearted and abandon their activities. Last night’s house was as full as it could possibly be, despite the fact that the performance was given during black-out hours’. Nottingham Journal, 21 October 1939.
27 Nov 1939 Little Theatre, Reading Professional
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‘“The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” was written in 1909 and banned from public performance for a number of years. It takes place in a court-room in a village in the United States in the early pioneer days. and is described by the author as a “religious tract in dramatic form.” Blanco Posnet, worthless rover and vagabond, steals a horse which he finds in the stable of his brother the Elder, and which subsequently turns out to be the sheriff’s horse. Riding away from the town he is stopped by a woman with a dying child, and to his own astonishment “goes soft,” as he puts it, and gives her the horse to ride to a doctor. The impulsive act means that his pursuers catch him before he can get far away on foot, and he is put up for trial as a horse stealer, the penalty of which is death. Glyn Morgan showed considerable talent as Blanco, in spite of getting rather tied up with his words on the first night. Bobby Fennall gave a clever character study as the pious brother, and Balfour Thompson was quite at ease in his part as the sheriff. Arthur Plowman made a formidable Strapper Kent [sic – Kemp], who accuses the thief, and Pauline Parry, as Feemy Evans, a woman of doubtful character, gave a skilful performance. A light touch was introduced by Percy Fish as Nester, the drunken member of the Jury. Linda Bridges gave a sympathetic portrayal of the woman with the dead child. The plays were produced by Miss Olwen Roose. Music was provided during the interval by Miss Edith Morgan. Picture on page 9’. Reading Standard, 1 December 1939.
25 Apr 1941 Regent Theatre, Chelmsford Amateur
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‘The Chelmsford Arts Theatre Group had a successful opening performance at the Regent Theatre on Sunday afternoon, when a fine programme was presented to the large audience. The Court scene from “The Merchant of Venice” was admirably presented by a strong cast … An excerpt from Bernard Shaw’s “Blanco Posnet” provided an effective change of subject, and was splendidly portrayed' (Essex Newsman, Saturday 1 March 1941).
8 Mar 1943 Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Unknown
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘Norwich Maddermarket. Nugent Monck’s next production will be a double bill of Bernard Shaw’s plays “Village Wooing” and “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet”’. The Stage, 4 March 1943.
21 Feb 1944 Citizens Theatre, Glasgow Professional
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‘The Citizens’ Theatre Players last night presented two plays by Bernard Shaw, “The Man of Destiny” and “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” … Eric Capon, who was responsible for the direction of both plays, did an effective piece of work in grouping and arranging the many characters in “Blanco Posnet,” which was performed in a manner creditable to all concerned’ (The Scotsman, 22 February 1944). ‘Two one-act plays by G. B. Shaw were produced at the Citizens’ Theatre last night … “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” a type of Wild West play we are more familiar with on the films, has a large cast for a one-act, and, for that reason, is seldom staged. The Citizens’ Theatre is to be congratulated on its production. Michael Warre as Blanco, gave an excellent portrayal of the bad man who wasn’t quite bad enough. The play is frank melodrama, with a somewhat unconvincing moral, but it is spectacular, and well worthy of production’ (Daily Record, 22 February 1944). ‘The two one-act plays, “The Man of Destiny” and “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” now in their final week at Citizens’ Theatre, are not the best examples of Shaw’s dramatic art, but they are interesting and stimulating’ (Daily Record, 7 March 1944).
30 Aug 1945 Nottingham Co-operative Society Hall, Nottingham Amateur
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The Nottingham Evening Post, Thursday 30 August 1945, advertised that the N.C.S. People’s Theatre was to present F. Sladen-Smith’s “St. Simeon Stylites” and Shaw’s “Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” in the N.C.S. Hall, Upper Parliament Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday that week. ‘If the two one-act plays which they chose for their first production at the Nottingham Co-operative Hall last night are a reliable indication of the future policy of the N.C.S. People’s Theatre, the new company are a welcome addition to the ranks of local amateur dramatic societies … Bernard Shaw’s “Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” is described by the author as ‘a sermon in crude melodrama.’ It is, in effect, a Saviano “Hound of Heaven,” based on the struggles of a good man to be bad. While a considerable way from being a good play, it was excellent material for the novice company, asking for little subtlety and much bold, knock-about energy ... The plays will be repeated this evening and on Saturday’ (Nottingham Journal, 31 August 1945).
16 Nov 1945 Tavistock Little Theatre, Tavistock Place, London Professional
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‘The Tavistock Repertory Company are presenting a short season of four plays at the Tavistock Little, near Russell-square, on Friday and Saturday nights between November l6 and December 1. The plays to be given are W. J. Turner’s “The Man Who Ate the Popomack,” “A Time for Silence,” a new play about occupied France by C. Denison Smith, and a double Shaw bill of “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” and “The Admirable Bashville”’. The Stage, 15 November 1945.
16 May 1947 Little Theatre, Edinburgh Unknown
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The Scotsman, 6 May 1947, advertised at the Little Theatre, Pleasance, the Edinburgh People’s Theatre in Laurence Housman’s “Possession”, Ivor Brown’s “I Made You Possible” and Shaw’s “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” on Friday and Saturday, 16 and 17 May.
26 May 1949 Village Hall, Bilton, near Hull Amateur
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‘Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society won third place in the British Drama League and Hull Music Festival (combined) with the play, “While the Circus Passes.” This play will one of three one-act plays to be presented by the society this evening, for the third night running, in the village hall. George Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing Up Blanco Posnet” and “Eldorado,” by Bernard Gilbert, complete the programme’. Hull Daily Mail, 28 May 1949.
21 Oct 1949 Methodist Sunday School, Nelson Amateur
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‘A lively discussion followed the reading of “Blanco Posnet,” by Mr. A. Hobson, M.A., at the Men’s Circle in Church Street Methodist Sunday School last Friday evening. This novel [sic] by George Bernard Shaw depicted a rough mining camp where the lives of the miners was a pattern of egotism and demoralisation. It was a rather bewildering sort of book for the Men’s Circle, but they showed great interest in the speaker’s explanation of what the writer had in mind’. Nelson Leader, Friday 28 October 1949.
16 Feb 1950 Co-operative Hall, Market Harborough Amateur
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The Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail, 3 February 1950, advertised the Apollo Players in Shaw’s The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet (preceded by Lorca’s farce The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife) at the Co-operative Hall, Market Harborough, on 16-18 February 1950. ‘The brilliant colour of sunny Spain and the drab, dirty ‘color’ of a shanty colony in the bad old Wild West were the highlights of a programme of two contrasting plays at the Co-operative Hall, Market Harborough last week … The second play is a crude melodrama by Bernard Shaw, “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet.” Both present the familiar Apollo Players in an unfamiliar setting. Particularly surprising is the Shaw play, in which they struggle gamely, but not always successfully, with the “highfalutin” drawl of the Arizona bad-men. Bernard Page, as a thick- skinned sheriff, Howard Biddlestone, a downright rotten sort of a guy, and Isabel Peake, a cow-puncher’s “hang-around saloon” moll, are in themselves a worthwhile experience. But there should be more to the play than that. It is a powerful melodrama, preaching in the most vigorous and audacious Shaw vein, but in their portrayal the players are not powerful enough and the play loses some weight and merit. The danger the players are up against is that the amusement. caused by their appearing in wild west garb, detracts from the serious aspect of a play which was originally banned because it seriously offended the religious scruples of the day. The players and the producer, Mr. Harold Jones, are to be congratulated for tackling it and in handing out the meat of Shaw’s sermon, but they lack the gravy to bring out its full flavour' (Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail, 24 February 1950).
3 May 1950 Playhouse, Halifax Unknown
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Advertised in the Halifax Evening Courier, 28 April 1950, giving the performance dates as 3-13 May. ‘A Bernard Shaw double “bill” by the Halifax Thespians at the Playhouse, last night, held the promise of an evening with much wit and some wisdom. And so it proved in the end, though it was some time before the wit really emerged. The plays were “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet” and “Androcles and the Lion,” both works dealing with aspects of Shavian views on religious themes and both of the just-before-1914 Period. There was a personal curiosity about the first play, since it was one of the Shaw works not hitherto seen in production and - let us be honest - never read. Some confession must be made to a measure of tedium before the experience was over, however. The author subtitles “Blanco Posnet” a sermon in crude melodrama; he takes a courthouse of American Pioneer days for his pulpit and a self-appointed rascal who has seen the light for his preacher and moralist. In impudence, Blanco runs true to Shavian form, but there was not much evidence of vintage Shaw. The wit was often overlaid - a combined result of the near-burlesque medium of the play, which time seems to have outmoded rather than mellowed, and a cast which often did not seem able to shed its self-consciousness' (Halifax Evening Courier, 4 May 1950).
1 Nov 1950 Bluecoat School, Nottingham Amateur
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‘There was plenty of fun, frolic and typical Shavian philosophy in last night’s programme by the Nottingham Theatre Club when three of Bernard Shaw’s one-act plays were shown in the Blue Coat School Hall. It was something new for the club to put on a bill of this kind instead of one full-length production, and the change, despite all the extra work involved, appeared well worth while. The first play, “The Man of Destiny,” produced by Alan Stabell, was rather longer than the average one-acter … Albert Appleton, producer of “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet,” showed great skill in the handling of his crowd scenes on the small stage and in keeping their agitation well within bounds ... The climax of the evening was “Passion, Poison and Petrifaction” or “The Fatal Gazogene”’ (Nottingham Journal, 2 November 1950). ‘“This little play,” writes G.B.S. in his preface to “Blanco Posnet, “is really a religious tract in dramatic form.” It is a strange, difficult, confusing play, of which I personally find it very difficult to say anything. Having seen it now for the first time I should say that the religious tract quality is rather greater than the dramatic. It was not I think, the fault of Albert Appleton’s production that the characters never seemed real and that the dialogue sounded artificial' (Nottingham Journal, 6 November 1950).
8 Jan 1951 People's Theatre, Newcastle Unknown
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The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, Saturday 6 January 1951, reported that the following week the People’s Theatre, Newcastle, would present Shaw’s “Far-fetched Fables”: ‘With the new play the theatre is presenting “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” an old Shaw play which the Censor banned entirely for many years. The reason for the ban was understood to be that in it Shaw referred to God in a way which might thought blasphemous. After several years, and a long fight by Shaw, the ban was removed’.
5 Apr 1951 Abbey Theatre, Dublin Professional
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘Mr. Shaw’s “Sermon in Crude Melodrama” is not a work theatre that has ever greatly appealed to me. I find long stretches of its exposition very boring indeed. So that it is a tribute to the large Abbey cast that I didn’t yawn once during the presentation of “The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet.” I think this was due particularly to three very fine performances, the Elder Daniels, played by Pilib O Floinn (an actor who goes from strength to strength), Maire Ni Dhomhnaill’s Feemy Evans, and Aingeal Ni Nuamain’s playing of the Woman. For the rest there was good teamwork, but I thought it a pity that Vere Dudgeon’s set hadn’t a window (above the jury-box) to let a little more light trickle in on a rather too shadowy stage. Was this due to following out Mr. Shaw stage directions? Possibly’. Catholic Standard, Friday 6 April 1951.
6 Apr 1951 Corn Exchange, Maidstone Amateur
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‘Teams have now been selected for the final rounds of the Kent Drama Festivals - youth and adult - which begin at the Corn Exchange, Maidstone, on 3rd April and continue until 7th April … Finalists in the Adult Festival, which has been organised by the Kent Council of Social Service in co-operation with the Kent Education Committee, are:- … Friday, 6th April: New Theatre Group in “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” (G. B. Shaw); Cranbrook Operatic and Dramatic Society in “We Got Rhythm” (Nora Ratcliffe); Good Companions Theatre Group in “Six Wives of Calais” (L. du Garde Peach)’. East Kent Gazette, 30 March 1951.
16 May 1951 Arts Theatre, London Professional
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Thirty-one performances according to Mander and Mitchenson (p.300) who list the cast (p.335): Babsy, Rachel Gurney; Lottie, Joy Hodgkinson; Hannah, Gabriel Ashcroft; Jessie, Dorothy Reynolds; Emma, Peggie Dear; Elder Daniels, Maurice Denham; Blanco Posnet, John Slater; Strapper Kemp, Alan MacNaughtan; Feemy Evans, Brenda Bruce; Sherriff Kemp, David Bird; Foreman of Jury, Gerald Harper; Nestor, a Juryman, Nicholas Meredith; The Woman, Vivienne Bennett; Waggoner Jo, Stuart Burge. ‘Four programmes covering 18 short plays by Bernard Shaw will be given at the Arts during the period from the end of April until the end of July ... The second programme, from [Wednesday] May 16 for three weeks and from [Tuesday] June 12 for one week, will include The Inca of Perusalem, The Fascinating Foundling, Press Cuttings, and The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet' (The Stage, 29 March 1951). ‘The second batch of 18 short plays by Shaw in the Arts Theatre’s Festival season begins tamely with two of the old master’s “tomfooleries.” Then the programme takes a sudden sweep upwards into “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet.” This strange and searching Wild West drama concerns an outlaw who escapes both a hanging and a lynching. In the process he is disconcerted to discover that he possesses an immortal soul, and is appalled to find a sneaking belief in the heart of his own blasphemies. It is exceedingly well staged on this occasion, and John Slater, Vivienne Bennett and Brenda Bruce very effectively convey that peculiar blend of wit and poignancy which makes this play quite unique in Shaw’s output’ (Daily News (London), 17 May 1951). ‘Theatre first-nighters in London are just coming up for air after one of the most intensive spells of producing activity that the Capital has ever known. Most of the big Festival productions recently mentioned in this column have been revivals. Yet another offering in this category is a new series of Shaw playlets at the Arts. Three of the four are not unamusing, but “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet,” Shaw’s only Wild West drama, cuts deeper’ (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 21 May 1951). ‘I thought the second instalment of Shaw’s short plays at the Arts Theatre much more popular than the first. How tame “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” seems now compared with the storm it caused when produced because of the unfamiliar way in which Shaw made the horse thief discuss the “tricks” of the Almighty. The Church was shocked by his references to the “cunning” one who will get you in the end’ (Western Mail, 21 May 1951). 'In “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet” we have Shaw in the throes of good old melodrama. But there is a difference, of course. Shaw thinks, while telling a tale of hate and lust and unreason against a background of Wild West crudity. He flavours it with his belief in divine goodness. “I believe” is his theme: I believe in the force of truth, the power of goodness to heal, the importance of prayer, the ultimate redemption of mankind. This, in miniature, and within the frame of melodrama, is the Shaw some of us are apt to ignore. It is produced by Stephen Murray, who makes the best of the living parts and puts some sort of life into certain dull patches' (The Stage, 24 May 1951). … In “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet” we have Shaw in the throes of good old melodrama. But there is a difference, of course. Shaw thinks, while telling a tale of hate and lust and unreason against a background of Wild West crudity. He flavours it with his belief in divine goodness. “I believe” is his theme: I believe in the force of truth, the power of goodness to heal, the importance of prayer, the ultimate redemption of mankind. This, in miniature, and within the frame of melodrama, is the Shaw some of us are apt to ignore. It is produced by Stephen Murray, who makes the best of the living parts and puts some sort of life into certain dull patches, and is played with spirit and clarity by, among others, Maurice Denham, John Slater, Alan Macnaughtan, Brenda Bruce, David Bird, Gerald Harper and Vivienne Bennett’. The Stage, 24 May 1951. ‘Of all the short-run theatres the Arts continued to offer the best value for money - Shaw’s “Blanco Posnet” was one of the outstanding productions of the year’ (West London Observer, 28 December 1951).
27 Nov 1951 Toynbee Hall, London Amateur
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‘On November 27 three one-act plays were presented by the winners of the Festival of One-Act Plays … “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” presented by the New Theatre Group, was given an effectively lively, noisy, and cheerful production. Arthur Simpson produced, and an able cast included Miller Meason. John Measures, Alan Tiptaft, and Iris Dudley’. The Stage, 29 November 1951.
8 Mar 1952 Ansford School, Castle Cary Amateur
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘Evercreech Women’s Institute Players and Pilton Players took part in the fourth preliminary round of the Somerset Drama Festival, held at Ansford (Castle Cary) Secondary Modern School last week. The adjudicator, Mr. Graham Suter, did not announce which of the four plays would go forward to the finals. The plays were “Dark Brown” (by Castle Cary Evening Institute Drama Group), “Anti-Clockwise” (by Frome Wesley Players), “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” (by Pilton Players), and “The Lustre Jug” (by the Evercreech W.I. Players). The adjudicator made these comments:- “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet.” The stage was well set, and the play quite well acted, but the proper approach was missed. The cast was not quite convincing and a bit nervous. The club was congratulated on tackling such a play more suited to older and experienced players’. Central Somerset Gazette, 14 March 1952; also the Shepton Mallet Journal, 14 March 1952.
29 Apr 1952 Central Hall, Shepton Mallet Amateur
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The Wells Journal, 18 April 1952, advertised at the Central Hall, Shepton Mallet, on Tuesday 29 April, and at the Parish Hall, Pilton, on Wednesday 30 April, the Pilton Players in Christopher Fry’s “A Phoenix Too Frequent” and Shaw’s “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet”.
30 Apr 1952 Parish Hall, Pilton Amateur
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The Wells Journal, 18 April 1952, advertised at the Central Hall, Shepton Mallet, on Tuesday 29 April, and at the Parish Hall, Pilton, on Wednesday 30 April, the Pilton Players in Christopher Fry’s “A Phoenix Too Frequent” and Shaw’s “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet”.
24 Jul 1952 Rudolf Steiner House, London Amateur
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‘A programme of plays is being presented at the Rudolf Steiner by the Preparatory Academy for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Repertory Company next week. The company is composed of students who have been trained for repertory work and have also taken courses in broadcasting, production, and stage-management. “The Confederacy” will be seen on Wednesday, “Fortunato” and “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” on Thursday, and “Blithe Spirit” on Friday’. The Stage, 17 July 1952.
17 Mar 1955 Arts Centre, Netherton, Dudley Unknown
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The Birmingham Daily Post, Monday 21 March 1955, reported that on Saturday the Dudley Little Theatre had been awarded the Dudley Corporation Challenge Cup for the best production, Shaw’s “The Showing Up on Blanco Posnet”, at Dudley’s three-day drama festival, held at Netherton Ars Centre.
15 Mar 1958 County Hall, London Amateur
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‘Evening Institute activities in London, ranging from abstract art to weight-lifting, will be on display in the first L.C.C. exhibition at County Hall from Friday, March 7, to Saturday, March 15. The exhibition is open to the public on weekdays and Saturdays daily from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and aims to show how the institutes, which cater for 100,000 men and women of all ages, spend their leisure time … On Saturday, March 15 … in the evening there will be vocal and instrumental music and a production of Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet”’. Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette, 7 March 1958.
9 Mar 1960 Guide Hall, Worthing Amateur
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‘Next Wednesday sees the first night of three plays from the Phoenix Players. Under the general heading of “Caprice,” they are presenting this play by Alfred de Musset, followed by George Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet,” and “Signarelle,” [sic] by Moliere’ (Worthing Gazette, Wednesday 2 March 1960). ‘Three plays for the price of one was the bargain offered by the Phoenix Players at the Forest-road Guide Hall on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. There was farce from Moliere, comedy from de Musset and drama from Shaw … The highspot of the evening was Shaw’s “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet” which was notable for the outstanding performance of John Smurthwaite, well backed up by Joan Child. A presentation such as this will be hard to beat in the forthcoming drama guild festival. This is a play that stands or falls on the ability of the players to put over the venom and basic cruelty of their ideas and way of life. The crowd must really hate this drunken horse thief and wish him no better fate than a lynching. Here was a crowd that did just that. The immense vigour and energy that the supporting players brought to their roles achieved a compete realism in the scenes of violence. It is hard to recall scenes played more vividly than those from this excellent production by Millicent Parsons’ (Worthing Gazette, Wednesday 16 March 1960).
24 Mar 1960 Guide Hall, Worthing Professional
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‘Winners of the Worthing and district Drama Guild’s fourth annual one-act play festival were the Phoenix Players’ “B” entry with their production of Bernard Shaw’s “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet.” Their producer, Millicent Parsons, received the Dandridge Cup at the Guide Hall, Forest-road. Worthing, at the conclusion of the three-day festival on Thursday … A special new trophy for the best individual performance, presented to the guild by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Currey, was won by John Smurthwaite, who played the name role of Blanco with both gusto and feeling.’ Worthing Gazette, Wednesday 30 March 1960.
3 Oct 1961 Mermaid Theatre, London Professional
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The cast was: Babsy, Sally Miles; Lottie, Clare Kinson; Hannah, Marjorie Laint; Jessie, Josephine Tewson; Emma, Gaynor Owen; Elder Daniels, Alan MacNaughtan; Blanco Posnet, Ronald Fraser; Strapper Kemp, Jeremy Spenser; Squinty, Roger Kemp; Feemy Evans, Jill Bennett; The Sheriff, Cal McCord; Foreman of the Jury, Frank Windsor; Nestor, Daniel Thorndike; Waggoner Jo, Peter Prowse; Woman, Anna Burden (The Stage, 5 October 1961). ‘The warming glow of true religion shines through the wit and wisdom of “Androcles and the Lion” and “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet”, which were revived at the Mermaid on Tuesday last ... The melodrama of “Blanco Posnet” calls for rich, forthright bravura acting, which it does not get here, although as Blanco, Ronald Fraser on the opening night gave an intelligent, lively performance which one feels will gain in confidence and attack. The contrast of the muddled thinking, prejudice and absurdity of the people in “Blanco Posnet” revealed as the hero is tried for horse-stealing in a little town in the wild West, becomes, in turn, the more horrifying or starkly funny, as God is called upon as witness to the base goings-on in this rotten world’ (The Stage, 5 October 1961). Perhaps the main interest of the evening was to watch the rarely-performed “Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet.” This presentation persistently reminded me of “Oklahoma” without music and dancing. Unfortunately, what should be the climax of the play – the conversion of Feemy, the town’s lady of easy virtue - did not quite come off. This, perhaps, is the fault of the playwright, rather than that of Jill Bennett, who pays the part' (Newcastle Journal, 7 October 1961). '[Blanco Posnet] is, of course, a play of abounding vitality: if it falters at the moment when we realise that Shaw is trying to pack too much into too little, it can stand up gamely to the effects of an explosion of Shavian rhetoric in a confined space. There is no need to over-value it; but, in the theatre, it makes a very good prelude to “Androcles"' (Illustrated London News, 14 October 1961). ‘Revivals of some of [Shaw's plays] show dreadful signs of dating. Among these are “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet” and “Androcles and the Lion" ... “Blanco Posnet” was at one time banned by the Lord Chamberlain, although it is difficult now to see why. It treats of the pharisee and magdalen theme in a Wild West setting. Unfortunately for Shaw this territory has long since been taken over by the films and cannot be effectively recovered for the stage’ (Middlesex County Times, 14 October 1961). ‘Bernard Shaw’s favourite joke was that a man will never be happy practising virtues that run counter to his own nature ... it is the dramatic propellent of the two religious pieces that are revived - not as stylishly as they might be but still very entertainingly - at the Mermaid. In The Shewing-up Of Blanco Posnet a horse thief in the Wild West is shown despising himself horribly for having experienced what can be called a religious conversion ... Mr. Frank Dunlop’s handling of Posnet is a little more rough and ready than his adroit handling of the more obviously difficult problems of Androcles yet I find myself more firmly held by the realistic religious drama than by the religious pantomime, perhaps because I had never seen it before' (The Tatler, 18 October 1961).
31 Mar 1966 Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, London Amateur
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‘John Scarborough is directing a triple bill, to be performed by senior students at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art at the *Chanticleer on March 31 at 2.30 and 7.30. The programme is to consist of “Sganarelle”, scenes from “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” and “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet”’. The Stage, 3 March 1966. [* The Chanticleer Theatre was the main performance space at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art: Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art (zaitseva.com).]
1 Jun 1966 London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, London Amateur
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‘The overseas students, at LAMDA for a special course, showed their paces to advantage in a Shaw triple bill on June 1. Mostly American, they were able to use their native intonations in a lively and convincing presentation of “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” while displaying the firmness of their more newly-acquired accents in “Overruled” and “Passion, Poison and Petrification” in which they also evinced an excellent grasp of the British way of wit … The outstanding performance of the evening was that of Randy Moore as a vital, credible and well interpreted Blanco Posnet. Individually and as a team the cast under Gareth Morgan’s directions, made this a rewarding performance, with David Feldshuh as the double-thinking Elder Daniels. Jon Reynolds a brash Strapper Kemp, Elizabeth Eis as Feemy Evans and Michael Lennen showing a good sense of timing as Sheriff Kemp, even though not displaying all the firmness required to control such a community’. The Stage, 9 June 1966.
4 Oct 1966 Wokingham Theatre, Wokingham Amateur
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘The Wokingham Players Theatre in Norreys Avenue is to be known as the Wokingham Theatre ... This title is one of a number of innovations and various decorations carried out at the theatre for the opening of its new season on October 4 … The Young Players, the theatre’s junior group, will have three productions - a double bill of Endgame by Samuel Becket, and a revue, “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet,” by Shaw, and Ionesco’s “Exit the King”’. Reading Evening Standard, 13 September 1966.
16 Mar 1967 Welfare Hall, Resolven, Vale of Neath Amateur
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The County Youth Drama Festival, which has in previous years taken place at the Margam College of Further Education, will be held this year at the Welfare Hall, Resolven on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 16th, 17th and 18th March, at 7.0 p.m. The Festival will consist of the finals of Senior One-Act Play competition, excerpts from full length plays and excerpts from Shakespeare competitions … Cwmgwrach C.Y.C. will open the Festival with a comedy in one act by Philip Johnson, “Orange Blossom”. On the same evening Aberkenfig C.Y.C. will present “A Husband For Breakfast,” a comedy in a Welsh setting by Ronald Elwyn Mitchell, and Trinity C.Y.C., Penarth “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet,” a sermon in crude melodrama by G. B. Shaw’. Neath Guardian, 10 March 1967.
4 Dec 1967 Bulmershe School, Woodley School
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The Reading Evening Post, Saturday 30 November 1968, noted: ‘Woodley. Bulmershe School Hall: Wednesday to Friday, The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet, by George Bernard Shaw, presented by Bulmershe School Drama Club, nightly at 7.30’.
20 Feb 1969 18 Chepstow Villas, Notting Hill, London Unknown
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‘Shaw’s once controversial “Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet”, with guest actor Tom Rutherfurd, was the most interesting part of a double bill of one-act plays presented by Studio ‘68 at 18 Chepstow Villas on Thursday last. Mr. Rutherfurd played the part of the Western bad man who has his heart wrung by a woman with a dying child and almost dies because of his momentary weakness. Mr. Rutherfurd possesses a fine stage presence and knows exactly when and how to bring out the humour in his lines, and in the hands of a less capable actor they could have been rather flat and dull. The remainder of the acting company was made up by students from the studio. Jacqui Delhaye was especially striking as the small town whore out for vengeance and managed to burrow beneath the skin of the writing and show the essential frailty of the woman, and, as The Woman, Katie Flower was admirably restrained in a part that some actresses would be tempted to elevate and make more visibly dramatic. Robert Henderson’s direction showed a good eye for stage pictures and a sensible handling of the ensemble players. The Shaw play was preceded by Robert Anderson’s “The Shock of Recognition”’. The Stage, 27 February 1969. [* At Threshold Theatre Club, 18 Chepstow Villas | Chepstow, West london, London (pinterest.co.uk) is an undated photograph showing the Threshold Theatre Club at 18 Chepstow Villas, Notting Hill, London.]
12 Mar 1969 St Mark's Church, London W11 Amateur
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‘Three additional performances of Studio ‘68’s production of “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” are to be given in St. Mark’s Church, St. Mark’s Road, W. 11 on March 12, 13 and 14. Tom Rutherford plays the lead’. The Stage, 27 February 1969.
19 Jul 1969 Shaw's Corner, Ayot St Lawrence Unknown
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For the second year, Studio ‘68 of Theatre Arts, London, has been invited to give the Birthday Performances in the grounds of Shaw’s house at Ayot St. Lawrence. The performances will be on Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20, at 7 p.m., and will present Tom Rutherfurd in the Studio ‘68 production of Shaw’s “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet”, preceded by Ellen Pollock in a scene from “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” with Sheila Steafel. Mr. Rutherfurd has played Hamlet in Robert Henderson’s American production of the play, as well as Blanco Posnet at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York City’. The Stage, 10 July 1969. ‘For the second year, Studio ‘68, which operates at St. Mary Abbot’s Theatre, Kensington, is making a summer trip to that green little Hertfordshire retreat of Ayot St. Lawrence, which, the whole world knows, was for so long the chosen home of a very great playwright. Open to the public all the year round, this modest little house, within easy reach of Old Welwyn, still has the feel of harbouring the ghost of the familiar knickerbockered figure. It is, of course, known to the world as Shaw’s Corner … It is in [the] garden that Kensington’s Studio 68 have been invited by the Shaw Society to give birthday performances, on July 19 and 20, of one of the least-known of the Shavian dramas, “The Showing up of Blanco Posnet,” or as Shaw himself, always a spelling faddist, insisted upon it, “The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet"' (Westminster & Pimlico News, 11 July 1969).
11 Feb 1970 Crosby Manor School, Liverpool School
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‘Both the senior and junior sections of the Crosby Manor School Drama Club will be presenting an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet.” The play, which is being produced by the leader of the Drama Club, Miss L Baker, will be presented to parents at the school on February 11, at 7-30 p.m.’. Formby Times, 21 January 1970; also mentioned in the Formby Times. 10 February 1971.
2 Mar 1970 Library Theatre, Manchester Professional
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The Stage, 26 February and 5, 12 and 19 March 1970, all listed Androcles and The Lion and Blanco Posnet as ‘on next week’ at the Library Theatre, Manchester. ‘Returning to Bernard Shaw after a too lengthy interval, Manchester Library’s resident company are making amends for this tardiness with a double bill, the one-act “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet,” and “Androcles and the Lion.” Both are given what might be called “hotted-up” treatment. In “The Shewing-up” for example, the play opens with something like a “hoe-down and a summary hanging, as if to set the scene. Then there is a vast amount of noise until, at times, things resemble one of those “live” recordings of American comedians in which the audience laugh so heartily that they almost drown the jokes. One doubts whether Shaw is helped very much in all this, but the action is very lively and nobody is allowed to become tired of listening to the words ... Last performance March 26’. The Stage, 26 March 1970.
9 Mar 1972 Wokingham Theatre, Wokingham Amateur
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The opening performance date shown is conjectural. The Reading Evening Post, Saturday 11 March 1972, listed among ‘What’s On’: ‘Tonight – Wokingham Theatre, Wokingham Young Players in The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet by Bernard Shaw (last night)’.
1 Apr 1972 Morrison’s Academy, Crieff School
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The performance date shown is conjectural. ‘At Morrison’s Academy Speech Day held on Friday in St. Michael’s Church … Submitting his annual report Mr J. E. G. Quick said: … “There are so many other activities going on throughout the year in the school that I cannot in the time here hope to do them all the credit which I should dearly like to give to boys and teachers alike …I may perhaps be allowed to single out … the delightful combination of the junior sections, singing appropriate American songs to set off the Dramatic Society’s accomplished production of “The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet” at *Easter in Academy Hall; because it has only just happened, was quite unpublicised and was devised at very short notice’. Strathearn Herald, 15 July 1972. [* Easter Sunday was 2 April 1972.]
28 Feb 1975 Uplands Community College, Wadhurst School
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‘Uplands Community College pupils presented a programme of drama and music on Friday and Saturday. A choir of 37 sang a biblical arrangement entitled The Daniel Jazz … This was followed by two plays under the direction of Roy Parker. The first, a Wild Western called The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet, with action taking place in a barn in use as a courtroom, was extremely well performed. with Rudi Koch giving an outstanding performance in the title role’. Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 7 March 1975.
11 Feb 1976 Arts Centre, Aberdeen Amateur
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The Aberdeen Evening Express, 6 February 1976, reported that the Longacre Players would present at the Arts Theatre on 11 February James Saunders A Slight Accident” and Shaw’s Blanco Posnet; and on 13 February Blanco Posnet and Pirandello’s Six Characters: Shaw’s play is ‘one of Shaw’s less well-known, shorter works and has its setting in America round about 1890. There’s a horse thief, vigilantes and a sheriff, all wrapped up in a story that highlights several moral points, but with melodramatic overtones that lace the serious with the comic’. Also: ‘Bernard Shaw’s “sermon in crude melodrama” – “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet” – was given an attractively rumbustious production by Douglas Porteous. The cast are not entirely successful in keeping up the pace during the last quarter of the play and Posnet’s sermon needs more punch to create a sense of climax at the final curtain, but for the rest, the action is fast and furious. Stephen Illsley makes a lively, likeable Blanco (only his laugh seems artificial), sanctimonious venom spills from the unsmiling Roddy Simpson, but a more forceful approach is required of Albert Donald to lend the sheriff sufficient “body”’ (Aberdeen Press and Journal, 12 February 1976).
27 Feb 1976 Arts Centre, Aberdeen Amateur
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The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 28 February 1976, reported that the Longacre Players’ performance of Blanco Posnet was the overall winner of the Scottish Community Drama Association [SCDA] Aberdeen District Festival. The winning cast was Gillian Young, Daphne Paxton, Morag Beattie, Anne Ross, Roderick Simpson, Stephen Illesley, Colin Harper, George Smith, Susan Bruce, Albert Donald, David Rowe, Cameron Taylor and Katie Downie, with stage manager Michael Parks and producer Douglas Porteous. The production went through to the North Division final to be held at Montrose in March. Also: ‘Congratulations to the Longacre Players on winning the SCDA’s preliminary festival, last week. Their win was a popular one, and it was particularly encouraging to see how much “The Shewing of Blanco Posnet” had improved since its first appearance in the Arts Centre a week or two previously’ (Aberdeen Evening Press, 5 March 1976).
27 Mar 1976 Town Hall, Montrose Amateur
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The Longacre Players performed Blanco Posnet in Montrose Town Hall on 27 March 1976 in the SCDA [Scottish Community Drama Association] northern area divisional final. They and the Brechin Dramatic Society went through to the national finals at Inverness on 29 and 30 April and 1 May. Aberdeen Press and Journal, 25 March 1976; Aberdeen Evening Express, 26 March 1976; Aberdeen Press and Journal, 29 March 1976.
1 May 1976 Eden Theatre, Inverness Amateur
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The Longacre Players performed Blanco Posnet at the Eden Theatre, Inverness, on 1 May in the Scottish Community Drama Association Jubilee finals. Aberdeen Press and Journal, 6 April 1976.
22 Nov 1979 Lutterworth Community College, Lutterworth Amateur
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‘Lutterworth actor and playwright Michael Lynch is to bring his third play, “Cross Petition,” to the town’s community college after its box office success at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester. Mr Lynch … is a member of the Wycliffe Drama Group in Lutterworth. The group are to present a double bill of his play and “The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet” by George Bernard Shaw, from Thursday to Saturday’. Coventry Evening Telegraph, 20 November 1979.
19 Mar 1981 De La Salle Hall, Wicklow Amateur
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The Wicklow People, 13 March 1981, advertised ‘Wicklow Arts Club Presents A Feast of Drama’, namely Brian Friel’s “Lovers”, Sean O’Casey’s “Bedtime Story” and Shaw’s “The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet”, on 19, 20 and 22 March at the De La Salle Hall, Wicklow.
11 Dec 1983 Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co. Down Amateur
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‘Amateur drama enthusiasts will be gathering in Newcastle tonight, for the opening of the All- Ireland one-act play finals. It is the first time the event has been held in the province. The nine plays in the final will be presented tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday night at the Slieve Donard Hotel, at 8.00 o’clock … Sunday night sees the … Ballyshannon Drama Club, Co. Donegal, presenting “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet”, by George Bernard Shaw’. Belfast Telegraph, 9 December 1983.
3 Jul 1985 Kensington Library Theatre, London Unknown
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Studio ‘68 advertised in The Stage, 30 May 1985, their International Theatre Season on 3-13 July in the Kensington Library Theatre, London W8. The programme would include The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet.
20 Jul 1985 Shaw's Corner, Ayot St Lawrence Unknown
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‘Shaw’s birthday celebrations, Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence, nr Welwyn. July 20, 21, 6.15 pm. Benny Green gives an account of George Bernard Shaw’s battle with the censor, as a prelude to a performance of The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet in the garden of the house Shaw lived in from 1906 until his death in 1950’. Illustrated London News, 1 July 1985.
27 Feb 1988 Questors Theatre, Ealing Amateur
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The Pinner Observer, 25 February 1988, and the Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette, 26 February 1988, listed at the Questors Studio Theatre, Mattock Lane, Ealing, W5, three one-act plays by the Questors Student Group, including Shaw’s Blanco Posnet, on 27 and 28 February and 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7-12 March.
29 Apr 1996 Prince Theatre at the Prince of Orange, London Unknown
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The opening performance date is conjectural. ‘Appearing in Shaw’s the Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet at the Prince Theatre, Prince of Orange, Greenwich High Road, SE10 until May 19 are Joanna Nolan, Bruna Box, Elinor Hunt, Richard Green, Jerome Wright, Kevin Merchant, Gilly Cohen, Andrew Potts and Helen Buck’. The Stage, 2 May 1996.