Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

Taken merely as a comedy Mr Galsworthy’s new play is an admirable piece of work, and the thought and feeling in it made it a great pleasure to read. The period is ‘some years hence’ and Mr Galsworthy contemplates, after some prosperity following the war, a great slump with consequent revolutionary movements and class bitterness. I hope he is wrong, but the ventilation of such an idea can do nothing but good in the way of warning. The scene of the first act is in the cellar of Lord William Dromondy’s house in Park Lane. Lord William, a thoroughly good fellow, and one of the footmen, served in the war together and the results in both cases are delightfully brought out. There is also a delicious little girl, Lord Williams’s daughter well, after the gas man has gone ‘a rounded metal object’ is found in a bin and taken for a bomb, put in a pail of water and so on. A pressman appears, interviews Lord William and goes on to interview the gas man, Lemmy. This he does in the second act. Lemmy is a humorous socialist and delivers himself at length. Much of what he says would of course shock old-fashioned opinion, but it is a trifle to much in Mr Shaw’s plays. He has a very dear old Mother, and the picture and talk of her are one of the most moving things Mr Galsworthy has done. Then the pressman takes Lemmy and his mates back to Lord William’s house, where an anti-sweating meeting is in progress. A mob attacks the house and Lemmy sends it away by a good humoured speech. Then for the bomb, Act III, p.30 and 31. It turns out to be no bomb but Lemmy will on whisper (in the presence of ladies) what it is, letting the child look etc. what on earth it is supposed to be I do not know. It was described as ‘a round metal object’ (Act 1, p7). One cannot suspect so fine and delicate an artist as Mr Galsworthy of any offensive joke. Perhaps, however, the Lord Chamberlain would like an enquiry made. I do not, myself, think it necessary. By the way, our old friend ‘bloody’ occurs, but only in the legitimate ‘bloody revolution’. I have not mentioned half the good things in the play. The press, for example, is very wittily if unkindly handled. Recommended for license. G. S. Street

Licensed On: 31 May 1917

License Number: 980

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British Library Reference: LCP1917/11

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66166 U

Performances

DateTheatreType
4 Jun 1917 Royalty Theatre, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
26 Jun 1917 Royalty Theatre, LondonProfessional
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Performed every evening at 8pm with a matinee at 2.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays. Also performed were 'The Magic Pipe by Dora Brights and Delacre and 'Box B' by Cosmo Gordon-Lennox. "The Sporting Times", 23 June 1917. "At the Royalty we have John Galsworthy trying to be funny and succeeding in being witty. Epigrammatic, too. The dialogue of the "The Foundations" crackles incessantly with verbal fireworks. It is cynical , satirical chatter, Shavian in tone, and the laughter it provokes is wry." "The Sporting Times", 30 June 1917. "It is disappointing know the new triple bill at the Royalty has not found favour, and that it was withdrawn last night. The Galsworthy play alone should have ensured for the entertainment a fairly long run. "The Foundations" had many qualities, and it is a matter of real regret that so few playgoers have taken the opportunity of seeing it. It is to be hoped that Mr. Galsworthy will eventually publish "The Foundations", for it should make excellent reading." "The People", 15 July 1917.
8 Oct 1917 Gaiety Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
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'John Galsworthy's play "The Foundations," judging from the reception locally accorded it, does not appeal to general playgoers.' "The Stage", 11 Oct 1917. Also on the bill "The Cat and the Cherub"
1 Nov 1917 Playhouse, LiverpoolProfessional
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'Mr Galsworthy's queer little comedy "The Foundations" has not gripped the theatre-goers of Liverpool. Last night's audience at the Playhouse was by no means a large one, but it made amends for its lack of numbers by its eager interest in the playwright's creation and its generous appreciation of the acting. Truth to tell, it is the acting, and especially that of Mr. George Dewhurst as the revolutionary plumber, that makes bearable a stage presentation of a comedy which is much less a genuinely-constructed comedy than a whimsical piece of leg-pulling, in which democracy, aristocracy, and theatre patrons are alike the victims. Of burlesque and cynicism there is plenty, but as a coherent stage story, or as a study of social conditions after the war, even in the form of comedy, "The Foundations" is disappointing.' Liverpool Daily Post, 6 November 1917.
6 Oct 1920 Leeds University, LeedsOther
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'Mr. John Galsworthy ... is to give a reading of his play "Foundations" at Leeds University this week', "Leeds Mercury" 6 October 1920. Actual date of reading not given.
21 Oct 1920 Everyman Theatre, HampsteadProfessional
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Director: Norman Macdermott. Also performed "The Little Man", by John Galsworthy. "The Stage", 28 October 1920.
3 Nov 1920 Montgomery Hall, SheffieldAmateur
4 Nov 1920 Everyman Theatre, HampsteadProfessional
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Performed alongside the "The Little Man" also by John Galsworthy for 6 nights plus a matinee on Saturday. "Hendon and Finchley Times, 29 October 1920.
20 Dec 1920 Prince's Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
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Performed by the Everyman Theatre Company. "The Stage", 16 December 1920
2 Oct 1921 Repertory Theatre, BirminghamProfessional
30 Oct 1921 Repertory Theatre, NottinghamAmateur
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'Galsworthy's "The Foundations" will be read by local amateurs at the Nottingham Repertory Theatre to-morrow night under British Drama League auspices' Nottingham Journal, 21 October 1921
27 Sep 1922 Leeds Industrial Theatre, LeedsAmateur
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Huddersfield Thespians to perform "The Foundations" as part of their 1922-1923 season. "Leeds Mercury" 27 September 1922. Date of performance not recorded.
20 Nov 1922 Circus Street Hall, NottinghamAmateur
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Nottingham Little Theatre Movement.