Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is an intensely topical little play, and requires consideration Bill Garside, a munition worker, his wife and child, Rosie, live underneath Mrs Voschmann, a German woman whose husband is interned, and she lives under the roof with a skylight window. Mrs Garside sends Rosie off to a school treat. Mrs Voschman comes in and insists on chatting, to Mrs Garside’s disgust, from a German point of view. Bill comes home and they turn Mrs Voschman out. A raid begins and the explosions come nearer. Mrs Garside, alarmed for Rosie, goes to look for her. Bill, suspicious of Mrs Voshchman, goes with a boy scout to her room, finds her signalling - to guide the German aeroplanes to the munitions works - secures her, and guards her in his room while a policeman searches her room. Mrs Voschman gloats over the probable fate of Rosie and Mrs Garside (returned after a vain search) is with difficulty prevented from going for her. The boy scout brings Rosie’s badge, but Mrs Voschman’s horrible triumph is short-lived, as Rosie rushes in and says her badge was stolen by Mrs Voschman’s little girl whom her mother, knowing of the raid, had sent to the basement and who of course has been killed. The point for consideration is that such a play, especially one quite well done, as this ends, tends to excite violence against Germans still at large. My own opinion is that it is a natural and legitimate expression of emotion and that the Lord Chamberlain would not be wise in interfering, but I mention the point. I advise, however, a caution against the noise of bombs being made too alarming. Recommended for license. G. S. Street. Note: The noise of bombs is going to be made with a drum. The Lord Chamberlain saw Mr […] of the Holborn Empire and pointed out to him that this sketch was decidedly of a strong nature, but there was nothing for the Lord Chamberlain to object to in it and the manager must take the responsibility of any disturbances that might arise.

Licensed On: 19 Jul 1917

License Number: 1068

British Library Reference: LCP1917/15

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66170 S


23 Jul 1917 Hippodrome, PutneyUnknown Licensed Performance
Read Narrative
Performed this week by a cast including Arthur Page, Shirley Stuart, Little La Coupe, Ethel Percival, Daisy Snow, and Charles Derwent. 'It has always been something of an open question as to whether the stage, variety or dramatic, should be used as a channel for public 'complaints'. Recently we had the problem of profiteering before us in sketch form, and this week the more important question of reprisals has to be faced. Mr Horace hunter [...] has a good axe to grind, and he tells a homely and, at the same time, straightforward story.' (Stage, 26 July 1917)