Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

Except that this play is called ‘a comedy in khaki’ and that the two young men in it are convalescent soldiers, it is very old fare indeed - the old story of transferred identities. Mrs Body invites two convalescent private form local hospitals to stay in her suburban villa. One is the Hon Robert Beauchamp, the other Robert Beecham, a linen draper’s assistant before the war. The former has saved the latter’s life and they are great friends. Beauchamp is already in love with Constance, Mrs Body’s niece, who has visited the hospital. Wishing to be loved for himself alone he persuades Beecham to change histories with him. So we have the humours of the supposed linen draper knowing nothing about the business and the supposed aristocrat talking cockney and flirting with the maidservant. At the end of act II Constance’s father arrives from India. He is an absurd snob, is dressed as a major in an antiquated volunteer’s uniform, and orders the two privates to go to the kitchen. In the third act the misunderstandings go on, Constance’s father furious with her engagement to the supposed linen draper and is in an absurd scene of making himself useful cleaning windows and so forth. Beecham is promoted lieutenant. In the end Beauchamp’s great-aunt, the countess of Castlevain, arrives and of course everything is cleared up and the lovers made happy. Some innocent fun is got out of Mrs Body’s being a eugenist. The linen draper’s ‘swanking’ as an officer (act III, p.23) might be thought a little unfortunate, but a picture of such an everyday experience now can hardly be interfered with. There is not the faintest intention of ridiculing the army; on the contrary, the play is thoroughly patriotic in tone: Constance ‘turns down’ an old admirer for not joining the colours and the housemaid insists on the butler’s doing so. It is all pleasant, if ancient, fun. Beauchamp not being Lord Beauchamp’s family name there seems to be no harm in its use. Recommended for licence. G. S. Street

Licensed On: 14 Mar 1916

License Number: 122

British Library Reference: LCP1916/5

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66126 V


31 Mar 1916 Lyric Theatre, LondonProfessional Licensed Performance
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'The Stage' reviewed the performance in the first week and noted that the author, 'well-known for her novels and other books on Canadian, American, and Indian life, has written a very amiable but rather inept play [...] its subject was one that directly appealed to the large number of convalescent soldiers - mosly brother Canadians of the author - present on Friday'. (The Stage, 6 April 1916) The cast included: Esme Hubbard (Eliza); Edgar Payne (Grimble); Frances Wetherall (Mrs Boyd); Jean Cavendish (Constance Hubbard); Forrester Harvey (Robert Beecham); and Cyril Griffiths (Robert Belchambers).
2 Oct 1916 Lyric Theatre, LondonProfessional
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Performed each evening except Friday.
7 Oct 1916 Opera House, LondonderryProfessional
24 Feb 1917 Theatre Royal, LincolnProfessional
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The play was performed twice nightly this week.
26 Mar 1917 Palace Theatre, Pembroke DockProfessional
2 Apr 1917 Palace, WatfordProfessional
24 Apr 1917 Grand Theatre, HullProfessional
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Performed evenings at 7pm with matinees on Thursday and Saturday.
30 Apr 1917 Theatre Royal, Great YarmouthProfessional
7 May 1917 Winter Gardens, BlackpoolProfessional
14 May 1917 County Theatre, ShrewsburyProfessional
2 Jun 1917 Theatre Royal, Lemington SpaProfessional
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Performed on Thursday 7th June for 3 nights then on Saturday for a matinee.
17 Aug 1917 Theatre Royal, LincolnProfessional
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Performed twice nightly.
3 Sep 1917 Pavilion Theatre, Matlock BathProfessional
10 Sep 1917 Alhambra, StourbridgeProfessional
25 Feb 1918 Theatre Royal, ExeterProfessional
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Performed Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evening and Friday matinee. A 'screamingly new topical comedy in khaki' ('Exeter and Plymouth Gazette' 25 February 1918)
18 Mar 1918 Theatre Royal, LincolnProfessional
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The play was performed all week twice nightly with a matinee on Wednesday.
6 May 1918 Palace Theatre, RamsgateProfessional
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Performed twice nightly at 6.45 and 8.45pm.