Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

The first three scenes of this revue are nearly the same so far as the plot goes, as part of a Revue read by me some time ago. The rest however, is new. German spies are on the lookout for a new explosive invented by the hero. They steal 'plans' and put them in his pocket, thus getting him arrested. There is a reception at the 'palace of peace' at which the spies pursue their machinations which are defeated chiefly by the comic man disguised as an admiral. After this we have a comic scene of a provision shop; a scene in a munitions' works, in which a German spy incites the workers to strike and is discomfited by the comic man; a scene in a British trench with the usual comic business; a scene in the German trenches with the comic mana and the heroine at the mercy of the German villains and of course rescued; a scene on the road to Calais in which the villain is arrested and a triumphal scene in Piccadilly. The dialogue is inoffensive and the only objection to the production is the comic man being in uniform: that, of course, however, has been the case in countless revues and is quite well meant. In this case, however, the funny man is made up as an admiral in the first three scenes, and that may be thought to be going too far. No disrespect is intended and the plot, such as it is, hinges on the circumstance. But I fear it would annoy the naval authorities. Otherwise the piece is, Recommended for Licence, G. S. Street. Ps the songs are not given and must be sent if new. [The following is written in black ink below] Written understanding that comedian although referred to as the admiral will be in mufti. [The following is written in red ink below] Yes there is danger here the military uniform must not be made ridiculous and the naval uniform of the admiral should be a something, not a something with only a slight change.

Researcher's Summary:

The show was produced by the Vaudeville Enterprising Company Ltd., also known as the G. P. Vaudeville Enterprises Company. Khaki and Blue referred to the uniforms worn by people serving in the army and the navy. The show was said to have a cast of over 30 plus a full chorus. It was also advertised as 'London’s latest sensation' even though it was not apparently put on there. The music was composed by Lawrence Wright with lyrics by Alfred Parker. Songs by Lawrence Wright, including one sung by Lily Vine called variously 'Khaki and Blue' and 'Khaki or Blue' which presumably came from the show of that name, were performed in a revue produced by John Huddlestone and John Tiller at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool in summer 1918.The Stage, 25 July, 1 August and 31 October 1918 listed ‘Lawrence Wright’s Blackpool Successes' including 'Khaki and Blue', quoting the words ‘Khaki and Blue, what shall I do? / I do love the Khaki, I do love the Blue. / I do love the Army, but I love the Navy too! / Khaki and Blue, both tried and true, / Every girlie has a cosy corner in her heart for Khaki and Blue’. The Era, 12 June 1918 reported, ‘Paul Daly writes: - “Joan of Arc” in “Khaki and Blue” revue is a tremendous success. It is a great number”’. An advertisement in The Era, 26 June 1918 sought first-class theatres or music halls for ‘the enormously successful Comedy Dramatic Revue, “Khaki and Blue,” in nine gorgeous scenes. First class London company of 33 Artistes and full staff. Wanted, July 1, 8 and 15 Lancashire or Midlands, Aug 5 and 12 Sept 23 and onward’. Nevertheless, from August 1918 actors onwards who had appeared in the show Khaki and Blue were already performing in other productions (Paul Daly, Violet Fields, Fred Ives, Fred Teriss and Nat Lewis).

Licensed On: 17 May 1918

License Number: 1573

British Library Reference: LCP1918/9

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66191 L

Performances

DateTheatreType
20 May 1918 Hippodrome, MargateUnknown Licensed Performance
20 May 1918 Hippodrome, MargateProfessional
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‘Monday May 20, and during the week, The Vaudeville Enterprising Company Ltd., present their revue - Khaki and Blue’. Thanet Advertiser, 8 May 1918. Advertisement: ‘A new magnificent naval revue entitled Khaki and Blue written and produced by Charles Baldwin. Comedy. Drama. Music. Triumphant success. Laughter. Cheers. Laughter. In 9 gorgeous scenes. Success. Success. Success. All star caste [sic] of 35 people, including Nat Lewis as Jim Roberts. The success of his life. Rosalie Jacobie, Fred Ives, Fred Terris, George Belmon, etc. Wonderful music specially composed by Lawrence Wright. Lyrics by Alfred Parker. Scenery by Bull. This week, Hip., Margate. Next, Grand, Blackpool’. The Era, 22 May 1918. Also The Stage, 23 May 1918.
27 May 1918 Grand, BlackpoolProfessional
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Mentioned in an advertisement in The Era, 22 May 1918. ‘A new revue, with the engaging title “Khaki and Blue”, is the attractive fare [at the Grand, Blackpool], the company being headed by Nat Lewis, Paul Daly, Rosalie Jacobs, Violet Fields, Rosie Hart, &c., &c.’. The Era, 29 May 1918.
3 Jun 1918 Metropole Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
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Listed as ‘Reilly and Bertrand’s Khaki and Blue’ in ‘calls for next week’ in The Stage, 30 May 1918. [N.B. the Manchester Evening News, 4 June 1918 noted that Messrs Robert Reilly and Bertrand were presenting “Look Pleasant” at the Hulme Hippodrome.] Advertisement: ‘Metropole Theatre. The G. P. Vaudeville Enterprises, Ltd., present a new and original comedy dramatic review entitled Khaki and Blue’. Manchester Evening News, 4 June 1918. ‘There is another good programme at the Metropole, where the farce, “Khaki and Blue,” provides excellent fare’. Manchester Evening News, 4 June 1918.
10 Jun 1918 Hippodrome, WiganProfessional
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The Era, 12 June 1918 listed Khaki and Blue as on the road at the 'H., Wigan' from June 10. Similarly The Stage, 6 and 13 June 1918. ‘Two Russian Jews, who gave their address as 84, Morning-lane, Hackney, London, were charged at Wigan, to-day, with being deserters. They were Samuel and Charles Cohn, and both were members of the Khaki and Blue company which last week but one was at the Hippodrome. They were in possession of discharged soldiers’ badges. When questioned by the police Samuel produced a soldier’s discharge paper bearing the name Job C. Jenkins. He said he bought the badge and paper from a man in London for £10 10s. Charles told a similar story. The Chief Constable said he had not yet received any information in reply to his inquiries, and both defendants were remanded await an escort’. Liverpool Echo, 24 June 1918.
17 Jun 1918 Empire Theatre, PrestonProfessional
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Advertisement: ‘Next week. London’s latest sensation, the great military and naval revue, Khaki and Blue. A New and Original Comedy Dramatic Revue with a Punch. Production by Charles Baldwin, Alfred Parker, and Belle Davies. Special Music by Lawrence Wright. Full London cast. Nat Lewis. Freddie Ives. Fred Terris. Herbert Barrs. George Marriott. Paul Daly. Violet Fields. Rosie Hart. Constance Henderson. Sam Carter. Rosalie Jacobi. Complete London chorus. The revue of the moment in nine gorgeous scenes’. Lancashire Evening Post, 15 June 1918. ‘The popularity of revue shows no sign of waning in Preston, nor is it likely to do so long as shows of such sound quality as “Khaki and Blue” are presented. Bright and clean comedy, with Nat Lewis as the chief exponent, is well to the fore, but a strong vein of spectacular drama lends special interest to the piece. Rosalie Jacobi and Paul Daly touch first-class musical comedy standard in their new lyrics and, they are admirably supported by a strong and tuneful chorus. Among the special features in the nine scenes are a clever comedy in the trenches on the western front and a stirring fight for a “pill-box” in the German lines’. Lancashire Evening Post, 18 June 1918.
24 Jun 1918 Royal Court Theatre, WarringtonProfessional
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The Era, 26 June 1918 listed Khaki and Blue as on the road at the ‘R.V.C., Warrington’ from June 24. It also had a small notice recording that the G. P. Vaudeville Enterprises company was performing Khaki and Blue at the Royal Court, Warrington.
1 Jul 1918 Empire Theatre, BurnleyProfessional
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‘The popular military and naval revue, “Khaki, and Blue,” is at the Empire next week. It is a new and original comedy dramatic production, with a punch, and will be presented by a strong company, including Nat Lewis, Paul Daly, Rosalie Jacobi, and a full London chorus. Written by Mr. Charles Baldwin, in conjunction with Mr. Alfred Parker, with lyrics by the latter, and specially composed music, the revue is presented in nine scenes, the dressing and staging being on an elaborate scale’. Burnley News, 29 June 1918. ‘Patrons of the Empire Music Hall, Burnley, this week have an opportunity of seeing the bright and amusing new military revue, entitled “Khaki and Blue.” It furnished many side-splitting episodes, much amusing patter, and some charming dances … Of course, the “plot” is of the slenderest kind, and merely serves as a peg on which to hang some excellent comedy. Chief among the fun-makers is Nat Lewis, who, in the part of “Jim Roberts” is absolutely irresistible. “Jim Roberts” in this revue “plays many parts,” from that of an admiral of the Nary to an ordinary private in the trenches. Each part seems funnier than the last, and the fun is fast and furious. Amongst the scenes represented are the dockyard at Dover, the Palace of Peace, a munitions factory, and a German trench. Many up-to-date topics, including food control, and tribunal matters, are drawn upon for some excellent joking. The plot, such it is, deals with the prolific topic of German spying and intrigue. One of the scenes in which there is an attack on the German trenches by the British is quite exciting. Military and naval incidents form the basis of the whole structure of the piece, which is a thoroughly topical and up-to-date production'. Burnley Express, 3 July 1918. ‘The presentation of the topical comedy dramatic revue “Khaki and Blue” at the New Empire this week is affording large audiences a delightful treat. The revue certainly takes the front rank among the numerous productions of this kind which have become popular of late. It is brimful of sparkling, effervescent humour, original burlesque, winsome melody, and spectacular effect, combined with vivid touches of dramatic realism which make the revue all the more remarkable from the view point of its versatility. Its entertaining merit is beyond doubt … “Khaki and Blue” is a rollicking commentary on the times in which we live, and, carried into the sphere of burlesque, the changes for which the war has been responsible, touching many phases of our life, appear ridiculously funny before the footlights, especially when we have a comedian like Nat Lewis to entertain us. He is a master of topical allusion, and his patter is mirth-provoking all the time he is on … The revue strikes the patriotic note, of course, and the responsive chord of the audience is immediately forthcoming. There is rather more in the plot and development than many productions of a similar design. A story of German espionage, with which is interwoven the love episode of a young British naval officer, affording the audience not a few thrilling moments. Dramatic realism is achieved with lightning speed and contrast to the lighter side of the story, and two three of the war scenes are exceedingly effective … The chorus adds a charming finesse to the efforts of the principals, the dresses and staging generally giving a high tone and all-round effectiveness to the production’. Burnley News, 3 July 1918.
22 Jul 1918 Regent Theatre, SalfordProfessional
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The Stage, 18 and 25 July 1918 listed Khaki and Blue as on tour at the 'R., Salford' from 22 July.