Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

There are some doubtful matters in this revue, with which I will deal after giving a general account of it. Act 1, scene 1 is a farm scene, with ‘beauty chorus’ girls, a sculptor, a bookmaker etc., come to work on the land; sundry jokes and chaff, and then an artist appears and has a rather funny interlude with the oldest inhabitant and a child. Scene II should be amusing; a greedy couple at a restaurant are prevented by the manager, in fear of the food controller, from getting anything to eat by various droll device’s scene III is a dumb-show doll scene and scene IV a sham ‘Assyrian’ play business. Act II begins with a North Country scene, a public house turned it to a coffee house, disgust of the landlady’s suitors; a policewoman; a sentimental episode of a mill girl and a rich young man; a love lesson. Scene 2 is a man in bed win a cottage; a woman, unexpectedly returning, claims it as hers; he agrees to sleep on a couch; they turn out to be separated husband and wife. Then there is an episode of an office finding that the revue girl he has fallen in love with is his batman’s daughter, a cat scene, a scene parodying a military tribunal with men run in as eligible for marriage, and lastly an encounter with an A.P.M. and a flapper. There is no suggestive dialogue worth noticing, but there are other things. 1. Act 1, scene IV, the sham Assyrian scene. ‘U-No-Hoo’ is obviously Gaby Deslys and ‘the king’ introduced as flirting with her may therefore be meant for the ex-king of Portugal. There must be no makeup like him, of course, but it is a pity that such a stupid old worn-out scandal should be revived. 2. Act II, Scene II. ‘The muddle through’ described above there is really no harm in this. The woman is supposed to have recognised her husband at once (he had grown a beard) and the proceedings are innocent. But there mere fact that it is a bedroom scene, with first one and then the other occupying the bed, is likely to annoy certain people of confused minds, and the Lord Chamberlain might think it worthwhile to avoid a fuss. I do not think, personally, that it would be reasonable to interfere. Many plays have had beds in them. Still, it is a pity to annoy people, and the thing is not amusing. 3. Act II, the last scene, pp.23 seq. An A.P.M in Staff uniform is chaffed by a flapper and ends by flirting with her, and doing the things - dancing in public, smoking a pipe, etc, which he had objected to. He is represented as an ass and A.P.M’s do occasionally act foolishly. But it is certain to offend the war office. I have marked the passages most likely to offend, but I think the Lord Chamberlain would be wise in cutting out the whole scene, to avoid trouble. It is certainly impertinent at such a time. There are a few trifling things to notice as well. In Act 1, scene 1, the book-maker is called Ladbroke, which is the name of a firm well known on the turf. Perhaps they should be protected. In act II, scene 1, a comic soldier is called Bairnsfather, which seems a liberty and pointless. Act 1, scene 4 “jema-Glov-Er” (Jimmy Glover) is introduced with a ‘gigantic nose’ (p.6) but that is perhaps ordinary chaff. The duet is omitted from this scene. The APM business is the only really important thing. Recommended for license. G. S. Street

Licensed On: 18 Jun 1917

License Number: 1012

British Library Reference: LCP1917/13

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66168 I

Performances

DateTheatreType
N/A Palace Theatre, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
21 Jun 1917 Palace Theatre, LondonProfessional
Read Narrative
The revue ran at The Palace until 29/9/1917 when a new version was written for touring. See https://www.greatwartheatre.org.uk/plays/script/2273/. Performers and creatives on the London production included: Alfred Butt (producer), Lionel Monckton and Herman Finck (music), Gertie Millar (dancer and singer), Betty Balfour (singer), Grace Leigh, John Humphries (humourist and playing the part of Old Bill), Frederick Bentley, Donald Calthrop, Jan Oyra (dancer), Rose Campbell, Fred Groves, Palace Theatre Girls. For more information see reviews in the 'Globe', the 'Sheffield Daily Telegraph', and the 'Sportsman' on 22 June 1917.