Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

A sincere little piece of sentiment. A young lady photographer comes to take a photograph of a soldier's mother to send him. The mother complains that the son has taken up with a girl she had had a bad report of. Enter a girl seeking the photographer, to be taken for her soldier sweetheart. Of course it is the girl in question, quite different from what the mother had supposed, and after a tiff they make friends and are photographed together. It is very prettily written. Recommended for Licence. G. S. Street.

Licensed On: 26 Jan 1917

License Number: 764

British Library Reference: LCP1917/3

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66158 A


30 Jan 1917 Queen's Theatre, LondonProfessional Licensed Performance
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This performance took place as part of a charity matinee in aid of the Bulldog and Britannia Clubs which provided free beds and meals for soldiers and sailors. The Princess Royal, Queen Amelie and Princess Maud attended. A reviewer in the Daily Mirror the following day commented on the large size of the programmes sold.
19 Feb 1917 Empire Theatre, BirminghamProfessional
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Miss Inez Bensuson [sic] presented the playlet, supported by Elaine Inesconit [sic – Inescort] and Shirley King, two well-known actresses of the Woman’s Theatrical Company. It was performed from 19-24 February twice nightly at 6.50pm and 9pm.
26 Feb 1917 King's Theatre, PortsmouthProfessional
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The play was performed here from 26 February to 3 March 1917. Under the heading ‘New programmes for Portsmouth’ the 'Hampshire Telegraph and Post' reported on 23 February 1917 that 'Inez Bensuson [sic - Bensusan] brings to the King’s Theatre next week an entirely new domestic war playlet, entitled, 'A Bit of Blighty', in which she will be supported by Elaine Inescourt [sic – Inescort] and Shirley King, two well-known actresses of the Women’s Theatrical Company’. Also on the bill were Roxy La Rocca, an Italian male harpist; Paul Gordon, an American high wire walker; the Martini Trio, musicians; the Two Tomboys, ‘the only ladies presenting a humpsi-bumpsi performance’; Shephard and Ray ‘in a pot-pourri act’; Patricia O’Connar, a classical dancer; and The Vogues, ‘in vaudeville’.
8 Mar 1917 7 Chesterfield Gardens, LondonAmateur
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This amateur performance took place in the house of Lord Londesborough in London. The 'Pall Mall Gazette' noted on 8 March 1917 that: '‘The Hon. Mrs. Godfrey Williams has issued invitations for a drawing-room meeting to-day “to meet Princess Maria Louise”. This is in aid of the general war work of the Friends the Poor, and will held at 7, Chesterfield-gardens, the house of Lord Londesborough, which Mrs. Williams has taken for the season. An excellent programme has been arranged in which Miss Eva Moore is announced to recite and Miss Evelyn Sharp’s [sic – Glover’s] clever little play, A Bit of Blighty, is to be performed’.
26 Mar 1917 Pavilion, GlasgowProfessional
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The play was staged here from 26 to 31 March 1917. The 'Daily Record' commented on 27 March 1917 that: ‘One of the most amusing of comedy sketches, 'A Bit of Blighty', is staged at the Pavilion, where incessant laughter accompanied its presentation. In the cast is Miss Ivey Bensusan. Mdlle. Hero makes a fine impression in a beautiful statuary and posing act. The illusions of the Miyako Troupe of Japanese conjurors are mystifying and pleasing, and Luvaun and Phyllis Rose submit an ideal Hawaiian scena, while uniformly excellent is the entertainment of the other artistes who contribute to the programme’.
25 Apr 1917 Victoria Hall, TringUnknown
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The 'Bucks Herald' reported on 28 April 1917 on a ‘grand entertainment’ given at the Victoria Hall, Tring on the previous Wednesday 25 April in aid of the Officer Prisoners of War Fund. One of the items in the programme was 'A Bit of Blighty' which was described as 'admirably presented, causing endless amusement with its misunderstandings between a couple of typical Cockney “ladies” and their eventual reconciliation’. The performers were Miss Inez Bensusan, Miss Inescort and Miss Shirley King.
31 Jul 1917 The Gables, SurbitonProfessional
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This was a one-off performance for soldiers which took place ‘In the cosy theatre of The Gables, Surbiton, kindly lent by Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Boret' (Surrey Advertiser 4 August 1917), on Tuesday 31 July. Two performances were given, in the afternoon and evening, in aid of the Woman’s Theatre Camps’ Entertainments, an organisation which since its inauguration in November 1914, had given about a thousand entertainments in camps, army huts and hospitals both at the front and at home. Unfortunately, the wet weather impacted on attendances. Among those contributing to the programmes were Mr. Ben Webster and Miss May Whitty in duologue: Mr. Harry Russon, the entertainer: Miss Inez Bensusan. Miss Evelyn Welsh-Hail and Miss Shirley King, in the humorous war sketch, A Bit of Blighty: Miss Nellie Ganthony (humorous sketches at the piano), Miss Christine Hawkes (English concertina), Mrs. Saba Raleigh and Mr. Alfred Barber (monologues), Miss Margaret Bussé (recitations), Miss Margaret Ismay (songs), Miss Gladys van der Beeck and Miss Christine Hawkes (duets for concertina and voice), Miss Helen Mar (the American storyteller), and Miss Zenie Whitehill (at the piano).
28 Oct 1917 Aeolian Hall, LondonUnknown
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This performance took place as part of the twenty-fourth free Sunday smoking concert at the Aeolian Hall for soldiers, sailors, and their friends. The characters were played as follows: Mrs Eagle (Jim’s mother), Miss Inez Bensusan; Mary Holt (Jim’s sweetheart), Miss Waldagrave; the photographer from the Home League, Miss Shirley King.