Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

A simple domestic sketch, incisively written in its author’s usual manner. The ‘burglary’ is the theft of the £20 savings out of his war-work with which a worthy artisan has contemplated giving his wife a surprise-present of a piano. On discovering his loss the victim calls in a friend of his, a tailor now officiating as special constable; and much of the humour depends upon this functionary’s airs in the performance of his unaccustomed duties. Eventually it turns out that the money had been taken by the workman’s nice and invested by her for him in War-Saving post office bonds, this being the outcome of a lecture given to the girl by a War-Economy lady preaching against luxurious extravagance of the working class. Level-headed in its humour; and recommended for license.

Researcher's Summary:

The Tatler reported in an article entitled 'Patriotism by Playlet' that 'we have such tiresome things as Mr. Alfred Sutro's little playlet, 'The Great Redding Street Burglary' a playlet all about the Government's appeal to economise. Now, economy is essentially undramatic, besides being somewhat impertinent when preached at us under the guise of entertainment. One feels instinctively that it is only another and a worse form of Government poster just as uninspired, equally as dull.' (30 August 1916)

Licensed On: 28 Jul 1916

License Number: 374



British Library Reference: LCP1916/17

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66138 S


31 Jul 1916 Coliseum, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
31 Jul 1916 Coliseum, LondonProfessional
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Performed for three weeks. 'All this is amusingly portrayed by Miss Helen Haye’s company, but it seems to fall little flat on the audience, who perhaps rather resented the unexpected attack on their feelings and pockets.' (Sporting Times, 5 August 1916)
21 Aug 1916 Hippodrome, BristolProfessional
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'A very delightful sketch was presented Alfred Sutro, in which C. V. France, Helen Haye, Norman Forbes, Norman Page, and Athene Seyler appeared. was entitled The Great Redding Street Burglary," and it was full of human, interest, and had good moral pointing in the direction of helping the war loan'. (Western Daily Press, 22 August 1916)
28 Aug 1916 Hippodrome, ManchesterProfessional
4 Sep 1916 Hackney Empire, Hackney, LondonProfessional
11 Sep 1916 Empire, ChiswickProfessional
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Advertised as the 'last two performances' of the play (West London Observer, 15 September 1916)
18 Sep 1916 Alhambra, GlasgowProfessional