Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This play is a sequel to ‘The Man who Stayed at Home’ and records another achievement of Christopher Brett. This time, however, the subject matter is more ambitious. In the prologue it appears that Lord Goring, a cabinet minister, is going to Washington on a special mission to the American government. It is suspected that an attempt will be made to prevent his getting there, by murder if necessary. So he goes incognito by an earlier boat, and Brent, his cousin and exactly like him - the parts are doubled - sails by the Wilhelmina, a Dutch liner, by which Goring had intended to sail under his family name, Brent. Kit Brent is therefore under his own name, but is suspected (as was intended) of being Goring by the two German spies, Meyer and Woolfe, who are being ‘hyphenated Americans’ and pass as journalists. They devise the following plot: Ani Kiraly is incited to compromise the supposed Goring in New York, thinking it only a joke, while they are to bring her husband, whom she detests, on the scene and put pressure on Brent to give up his ‘papers’ to avoid a scandal. In Act II while Brent is in his bath, behind a curtain, she comes into his room and refuses to go away, and after much hiding etc. is discovered. But Ani, an Australian subject, is a Dalmatian and of course loathes Germans, so that when she finds the use that has been made of her she is furious and wants to help Brent. Now, by this time the real Goring is safe in Washington. Brent goes to Meyer’s rooms and pretends to do the deal, of course giving worthless papers, and then they discover he is really Brent and after a struggle shut him in a secret safe. The police arrive with a warrant and manage to catch the gang, while Ani contrives to release Brent. The play is more complicated than this, but I have given enough outline, I think. It is both dramatic and humorous and a better play than its predecessor. There are points to consider, however. With regard to the bath business, and the hiding of Ani under the bedclothes. In a revue or dubious French farce this would not do. But in an innocent piece of fun and ingenuity like this there is really no harm in it: it never really suggests anything improper: and I think it would be prudish to forbid it. The whole incident is in pp.8 to 34 in Act II and if the Lord Chamberlain has time it might be well if he read it. All that I personally suggest is that her looking over the curtain (p9) be omitted, and perhaps the joke marked on p.10 and p.14. Apart from this incident I do not think anything need be troubled about except a few passages: prologue p.6. The reflection on authority’s letting out intended missions, which may refer to Lord Kitchener’s case, is perhaps a pity in a play - still, the papers make it freely. Act 1, p.20. The remark is made by an enemy - I only mark it in case some regrettable allusion may be meant. Act II, p.60 the remarks, supposed to be made by an English secret-service man, on German influence over American state departments may be thought too strong. I do not think, however, that Americans would be sensitive. It might be toned down, and anyhow it is unnecessary. Recommended for license, G. S. Street. I have been over the alterations made in this play. The author has taken out the remarks which might have been unfortunate, in particular those reflecting on German influence over American departments. He has not altered the incident of the lady being concealed in the bed-clothes, but I understand the Lord Chamberlain does not object to the scene as it stands, and in my opinion it is merely innocent fun. G. S. Street

Licensed On: 29 Sep 1916

License Number: 485

British Library Reference: LCP1916/23

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66144 O

Performances

DateTheatreType
N/A Royalty Theatre, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
1 Mar 1917 Globe Theatre, LondonProfessional