Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is a play within a play, the former written by the heroine of the latter, an advanced but otherwise estimable young woman who defines herself as a ‘daughter of revealment’ and who glories in shocking people by her open discussion of sex-questions, by her Rational dress, and by her view on love as ‘an erotic emotion’ caused by the ‘freeing of certain corpuscles in the blood’. Her commonplace fiancé stands all this, but grows alarmed when she confesses to having kept from him a secret which she shares with a strange man, anxious to discuss with her the hiding of a baby. The finance’s sensible parents decline to be either showed or alarmed, but go off placidly to the premiere of a play against which they have been warned as too daring, but in which which they nothing but fun. This piece turns out, of course, to be the work-anonymous - of the 'daughter of revealment’, who is all for having ‘life stripped naked’ and for shouting out truths which are generally spoken in whispers: while the strange man proves to be her colleague the producer. As in the case of ‘Fanny’s first play’ the heroine’s dramatic effort supplies the bulk of the evening’s entertainment. ‘Hush!’ as she calls it, satirizes elaborately the prudishness of forbidding an expectant young mother to allude in public to her condition, her hopes, and her disbelief in the ‘gooseberry bush’ theory of baby origin. For her exaggerated lack of reticence in these matters the newly-married life of a worthy Rector’s son is so lectured by her mother-in-law that when her baby is born she feels, air professes to feel, compelled to hide it as though it were a shameful secret, with the result that she scandalises the parish into the condition that the infant must be illegitimate. When the child’s father, a naval officer, comes home to make its acquaintances, its paternity is triumphantly proved but the other’s exhibition of the moles on the chest of both t father and infant. The rather tasteless humour of this argument on the part of the ‘shocking’ authoress is inferior to that of the trouble into which she herself gets through the secret of her authorship. The latter is very skilfully handled and the chaff is full of sound sense. The only mistake is the improbable episode act I p18 of the shock ‘administered in the Rectory dining-room by the heroine when she takes off her shoes and stockings - an indiscretion which must be committed very discreetly indeed. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall.

Licensed On: 16 Mar 1916

License Number: 136

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British Library Reference: LCP1916/6

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66127 K

Performances

DateTheatreType
18 Mar 1916 Repertory Theatre, LiverpoolUnknown Licensed Performance