Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

There is quite a fair amount of real fun in this revue. It starts in a cabman's shelter on a rainy night, where various people meet and start telling stories, which form the revue. One of these people, by the way, is described as an 'improper lady', but there is nothing offensive about her. The first of the subsequent scenes is a skit on a government office and the difficulty of approaching an important official. Then there is a park scene with Peter Pan in it. There is a long and really funny scene of the production of 'Macbeth' by a regimental company, the sergeant major drilling the performers and treating the whole thing as a military manoeuvre: it ends up in an unrehearsed fight. ('Bloody' comes into this legitimately in an actual quotation from Shakespeare: I mention it in case some idiot may write and object.) The sergeant major is of course absurd, but it is of course all thoroughly good humoured. Lastly we have four little plays of a lovers' engagement in different phases of life - in Mayfair, suburbia and so on - with some clever satire in them. It should be an amusing show, and though possible a point here and there might annoy a prude I find nothing to object to. Recommended for Licence. G. S. Street. Written undertaking given that the reference referred to has been deleted. Some further material has come in. There is a clever skit on the 'Naughty Wife' and 'The Knife' the two plays being mixed up together. There is more conversation between the people in the cab shelter, and some new songs, chiefly topical. I do not think there is anything to object to, thought an allusion to Maud Allen and Billing in 'The Old Bran Pie' is unfortunate. G. S. Street.

Researcher's Summary:

The revue Tails Up, produced by André Charlot, ran at the Comedy Theatre, London, from 1 June 1918 to 31 May 1919. The People, 24 November 1918, reported that ‘A second edition of “Tails Up” at the Comedy is in active rehearsal’. Several new pieces were added, to coincide with the arrival of Allan Aynesworth in the cast, and some were dropped, However, the two war-related sketches mentioned below were retained. Although, when Tails Up closed at the Comedy Theatre, a show entitled Tails Up immediately opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, for a run from 2 June to 19 July 1919, reviews make clear that this was an amalgam of musical items from both Tails Up and another John Hastings Turner revue, Bubbly. Meanwhile a provincial tour of the full version of Tails Up, produced by Frederick G. Lloyd by arrangement with André Charlot, opened at the Opera House, Coventry, on 12 May 1919 and ran until at least 20 March 1920. The war-related, or at any rate military-related, elements in the revue (not apparently carried over to the Prince of Wales Theatre in June-July 1919 but included in the touring production) were a (in hindsight, Kafka-esque) sketch 'The Strange Tale of the Brigadier-General Who Was Never Seen', in which a man is sent from pillar to post in the attempt to see a Brigadier-General in the War Office, only to grow old in the attempt before he is turned away for having the wrong form; and 'The Curious Tale of the Intellectual Sergeant-major' in which the title character turns a production of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' into a drill exercise.

Licensed On: 30 May 1918

License Number: 1595

British Library Reference: LCP1918/10

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66192 H


N/A Comedy Theatre, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
1 Jun 1918 Comedy Theatre, LondonProfessional
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‘“Tails Up,” the new revue at the Comedy last night, is an ideal entertainment. It is bright, brilliant and even beautiful. There was a great ovation for Teddie Gerard and Arthur Playfair was inimitable’ (Sunday Mirror, 2 June 1918). ‘“Tails Up,” the new revue at the Comedy, is a real war tonic. It is full of life, colour, movement and melody. It has also the exceptional quality of wit’ (Daily Mirror, 3 June 1918). ‘“Tails Up” at the Comedy has an amusing skit on the elaboration of Government departments. By a clever arrangement the visitor to see a Brigadier-General is depicted as passing from floor to floor. With each re-entry, accompanied by full escort, he appears more and more tired. In the progress he grows a beard, and the beard becomes grey, and old age sets in. In the final scene he re-appears downstairs to meet the hall porter, now also an old man, and explain pathetically that he failed in the last lap because he had been given the wrong form. A sergeant-major’s idea of a new rendering of “Macbeth” with the aid of his squad is also droll, and there is a series of little scenes to bring out love comedies in Mayfair, in Suburbia, and in the East End. Mr. Hastings Turner, the author of the production, has artfully managed to connect the features by making them, as it were, the illustrations of stories told in a cab-shelter by the characters that meet there under stress of a deluge. Miss Phyllis Monkman, Miss Teddie Gerrard, Mr. Arthur Playfair, and Mr. John Buchanan ensure gaiety, and the music by Mr. Philip Braham is tuneful. The production is well away from the monotony of the revue type’ (Derby Daily Telegraph, Monday 3 June 1918). 'The weak spot shows in the Curious Tale of the Intelligent Sergeant-Major, which, never very bright, is spun out inordinately. Mr Gilbert Childs got something out of nothing here, and much from better material at other times, but he and Mr Playfair, to say nothing of the other loyal workers, could not make the episode other than laboured ... “Tails Up” was rapturously received. The title has not to do with the R.A.F. specifically, if the piece is saturated with Service allusions that go to roars of laughter’ (The Sportsman, 3 June 1918). ‘Mr. John Hastings Turner will soon be as valuable an asset to London’s healthy laughter as Mr. Harry Grattan himself. “Tails Up”, his new revue, is just as gay and irresponsible and joyous as “Bubbly” was, and just as charming to the eye and ear. Altogether a notable success for everybody concerned. The revue starts in a Cabman’s Shelter, to which various people have wandered from various causes, principally from their inability to get home in any kind of public conveyance. As they sit and wait, each one begins to tell a story, and the various stories are the various scenes of the revue. Between each one, however, we return to the Cabman’s Shelter - which is somewhat boring, but can easily be altered. The scenes themselves are full of good-natured fun, wit, and cleverness. Some, of course, are better than others, but all are good, and even the dullest can quickly be brightened up. The “idea” is always there, and when the “idea” is there and it is a good one - a novice in production can soon make something of it. The scenes I laughed at the most were the one in which a poor civilian tries to see a brigadier-general at the War Office, and grows old in the process, until at last, when he does finally reach the door of his sanctum, he is turned away because the form he has had to fill is out of date. “The Curious Tale of the Intellectual Sergeant-major” is also a most amusing affair. The Sergeant-major decides to produce Macbeth at the Sergeants’ Mess Concert. His drilling of the men in Shakspere [sic] is something to laugh over, even as a remembrance. To see Mr. Arthur Playfair as this Intellectual Sergeant-major, and to see Miss Marie Hemingway as his wife, called up to play Lady Macbeth, is to see some of the cleverest foolery in London. Miss Phyllis Monkman might have a few more acting chances, but she dances quite a lot - and there isn’t a cleverer dancer on the revue stage than she. Miss Teddie Gerard has some good songs to sing. A newcomer, Miss Phyllis Titmuss, scored a success by her clever dancing and singing, and Mr. Jack Buchanan, Mr. J. M. Campbell, etc., all helped to make the revue an immense success’ (The Tatler, 12 June 1918). ‘I learn that two special matinees are to be given this week on behalf the family of the late Arthur Playfair. The first will be at the Comedy to-day, when the whole of the cast of “Tails Up” will appear …’ (Daily Mirror, 3 September 1918). ‘The 200th performance of “Tails Up,” at the Comedy takes place on Monday afternoon 4 November 1918]’ (Globe, Friday 1 November 1918). ‘Mr. André Charlot has enlisted the services of all the favourites from his Vaudeville and Comedy Theatre companies for his concert for the American Forces the Palace Theatre on Sunday night. The programme will consist of the most entertaining excerpts from “Tabs” and “Tails Up,” with a topical trifle added, entitled “Swiss Robinson”’ (Pall Mall Gazette, Saturday 9 November 1918). ‘Produced as far back as June 1 last year, John Hastings Turner and Philip Braham’s bright and lively musical entertainment Tails Up has undergone various changes in cast and items during its long and prosperous run at the Comedy. The death of Arthur Playfair led to Mr. Lennox Pawle taking up the succession to that lamented comedian, and now Mr. André Charlot has added a newcomer to the all-embracing fold of revue artists in Mr. Allan Aynesworth, for whose behoof several fresh scenes of importance have been devised, in the production of which his sense of the stage and artistic attention to detail are pleasantly noteworthy. In the first of these, styled The Strange Tale of the Historical Lecture, Mr. Aynesworth gives a clever sketch of Octavius Ferrett, a pedantic and irritable Regius Professor of Ancient History, who, at the opening of new Technical Schools at Pinminster, “500 years hence,” attempts to give to auditors inquisitive rather than in intelligent the results of light cast by excavations upon “the great German war.” The winning of this is rightly attributed to “an obscure tribe led by John Tarr and Thomas Atkin,” but more doubtful are the other items of interest collected by the archaeologist, who affirms that the great “military centres” at the time were “Aldershot, Salisbury Plain, and Leicester Square” (a palpable hit this), is less clear as to the meaning of blue and other stripes, and brings the lecture to an abrupt termination when the Mayor’s daughter fires out the awkward question, “What were war-babies?” A skull found in Whitehall proves to be that of a Brigadier-General, with “brain-pan empty”; and there is still retained that mordant skit on a more elusive Brigadier, with Mr. Gilbert Childs and Mr. J. M. Campbell yet prominent as the A.I. men and the policeman who become white-bearded in the course of an interminable quest ... other features of Tails Up remain much what they were, and include the Cab Shelter and the presentation of Macbeth as a military drama by the “Intellectual Sergeant-Major” (The Stage, 9 January 1919). ‘“Tails Up” will be done at the Comedy for the 300th time to-night’ (Globe, 20 January 1919). ‘“Tails Up” has now been played 400 times at the Comedy’ (Globe, 14 April 1919). The sketch ‘The Tale of the Butler who had seen Better Days’ was included in the programme for a matinee performance in aid of the Housing Association for Officers’ Families at the New Theatre, London on 13 May 1919 (The Stage, 15 May 1919). ‘“Fair and Warmer,” which has had a run of over a year, will finish its career at the Prince of Wales on Saturday. On Monday Mr. André Charlot will transfer “Tails Up” to that house from the Comedy’. The Stage, Thursday 29 May 1919. Tails Up was also reviewed in the Liverpool Echo, 3 June 1918; The Graphic, 8 June 1918; the Illustrated London News, Saturday 8 June 1918; The Scotsman, 4 January 1919; The Globe, 6 January 1919; The Graphic, 11 January 1919; the Illustrated London News, 18 January 1919; and The Sketch, 12 February 1919.
12 May 1919 Opera House, CoventryProfessional
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Previewed in the . Coventry Standard, Friday 9 May 1919. ‘The musical extravaganza “Tails Up,” which has passed its 400th performances at the Comedy Theatre, Landon, drew a large audience last night [at the Opera House, Coventry]. It is in two acts of 13 scenes, all of which are good, some very good. Particularly amusing was “The Curious Tale of the Intellectual Sergeant-Major” who ambitiously presents “Macbeth,” for which he coaches soldiers under his command. Mr. Edwin Adeler most cleverly takes the sergeant-major. “The Special Cop” is played by Miss Hilda Simpson and Mr. Jack Leopold, who are encored for their song and dance. Encores were numerous during the evening. “The Will of the Wisp” is another attractive turn in which Mr. W. Nixon, Miss Essie Brett, and Miss Clairette Ruane most effectively impersonate the characters. Very funny was “The Strange Tale of the Historical Lecture,” Mr. Adeler delivering the lecture. In “The Continued Tale of the Deserted Park” Miss Simpson, Mr. Leopold, and Miss Yvonne Dulac, and Mr. Leslie Ward won much applause. Mr. Leopold’s extra verse on Lady Godiva, his song being entitled “1999,” was greeted with roars of laughter. “The Strange Tale of the Butler who had seen Better Days” was well performed, and “Tails Up,” sung by Miss Ruane and Mr. Ward was loudly applauded. Mr. Phil Golding and Miss Simpson, and Mr. Leopold scored successes in “The Tuneful Tale in the Blue and Gold Room.” “The Strange Tale of the Brigadier-General who was never seen’ was very comic, being a skit on the difficult of obtaining official attention. Mr. Bert Monks was the plain man who grew old in his quest. Miss Dulac, Miss Simpson, Mr. Monks and Mr Leopold in “The Tuneful Tale Continued” in various ways make excellent contributions to the house’s pleasure. “The Strange Tale of the Charm that worked” has four scenes of its own, most of the company taking part in it. It was exceptionally well done, being a fitting conclusion to a very pleasant evening of many entertaining things - good music, songs, dances, acting, and all else. The chorus was exceptionally capable' (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 13 May 1919).
19 May 1919 Theatre Royal, Leamington SpaProfessional
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Previewed in the Leamington Spa Courier, 16 May 1919, and the Coventry Herald, 17 May 1919. ‘“Tails Up,” which has been successful at the Comedy Theatre, London, is a most amusing and entertaining musical extravaganza. Produced Mr. Frederick G. Lloyd, by arrangement with Andre Charlot, “Tails Up” is a play which appeals to almost everyone, for it is a series of short scenes, all of which are little plays in themselves, and therefore something fresh appears at every rise of the curtain, so the piece can never grow dull. It. is an excellent company, with a strong chorus, and the principals take full advantage of the opportunities they are given, to show how well they can sing some admirable lyrics, although at times the music is catchy. The orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Fred Shaw, leave nothing to be desired. There will a matinee this afternoon and performance to-night’ (Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser, 24 May 1919).
26 May 1919 Grand Theatre, SouthamptonProfessional
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Previewed in the Hampshire Advertiser, 24 May 1919. ‘[At the Grand, Southampton] Frederick G. Lloyd presents the revue, “Tails Up,” cast including Jack Leopold. Edwin Adeler, Bert Moncks, Phillis Beadon, Edith Pearson, and Hilda Simpson’. The Era, 28 May 1919.
2 Jun 1919 Prince of Wales's Theatre, LondonProfessional
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‘Amongst the plethora of revues, musical plays, or what you will, good, bad, and indifferent, which are only now beginning to “feel a slight draught” with the arrival in London of the early summer heat, “Tails Up” and “Bubbly” are amongst the best and least likely to suffer. Devotees of either will now have an opportunity of seeing the best in both, for “Tails Up” is moving to the Prince of Wales’ from the Comedy today, and will now include the pick of the “Bubbly” members. Phyllis Monkman … remains, but sprightly Teddie Gerard goes to the Pavilion’ (Dundee Courier, 2 June 1919). The Pall Mall Gazette, 2 June 1919, advertised the production at the Prince of Wales as ‘A Musical Medley of “Bubbly” and “Tails Up”’ with Phyllis Monkman and Odette Myrtle. ‘Mr. Charlot hit upon a happy idea when he decided to pick the plums from his two revues, “Bubbly” and “Tails Up,” and produced them as a medley. Certainly visitors to the Prince of Wales’ Theatre find the old scenes in the new setting much to their taste. Miss Phyllis Monkman, with her spirited acting and dancing and her infectious gaiety, is the star, but she does not shine alone, for Miss Odette Myrtil and Mr. Jack Buchanan, and, indeed, every member of the cast, are given opportunities, which they take. A very pleasant feature of the entertainment is the part taken by the orchestra, which, conducted by Mr. Philip Braham, who is responsible for most of the music, adds greatly to the gaiety and charm of the performance. With light music, pretty scenes and dresses, and an excellent chorus, the medley should enjoy the favour of the public for some time to come’ (Pall Mall Gazette, 6 June 1919). ‘The blend of the best features from “Tails Up” and “Bubbly,” which Mr Andre Charlot is presenting under the former title, turns out “the goods.” Included in the cast are gentlemen who have appeared in musical comedy in Dundee, Mr. Jack Buchanan and Mr Barry Baxter, the latter of whom will be best remembered for his neat rendering of “Piccadilly Billy” in “Mr. Manhattan.” In addition to Miss Phyllis Monkman there is also the dainty French lady, Miss Odette Myrtil, who plays the violin so skilfully’ (Dundee Courier, 9 June 1919). ‘If every revue producer would follow the excellent lead of Mr. Andre Charlot the Loudon stage might be loss boring than the man-about-town finds it at present. The show at the Prince of Wales, for example, is easily one of the best on the boards at present. By putting “Bubbly” and “Tails Up” into a mortar and hazing them well Mr. Charlot has produced a melange which will bear comparison with any revue now running in town’ (Daily Herald, 12 June 1919). The Hull Daily Mail, Wednesday 9 July 1919, included Tails Up at the Prince of Wales, with 520 performances up to Saturday 12 July, in a list of plays ‘still running uninterruptedly for more than a year’. ‘The last performance of “Bubbly” and “Tails Up” at the Prince of Wales’s took place on Saturday evening’ (The Stage, 24 July 1919).
2 Jun 1919 Theatre Royal, ChathamProfessional
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At the Theatre Royal, Chatham, ‘June 2nd. and Twice Nightly throughout the week, and Matinee on Wednesday at 2.30, Frederick G. Lloyd presents, by arrangement with Andre Charlot, the highly successful Musical Extravaganza, Tails Up, Now playing to crowded houses at the Comedy Theatre, London’. East Kent Gazette, 31 May 1919.
9 Jun 1919 Lyceum Theatre, NewportProfessional
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‘“Tails Up” is playing to crowded houses ([at the Lyceum, Newport, Mon.] In the cast are Jack Leopold, Bert Monks, Edwin Adeler, Leslie Ward, Phil Golding, Will Nixon, Clairette Ruane, Hilda Simpson, Marie Brian, Phillis Beadon, and Essie Brett’. The Stage, 12 June 1919.
16 Jun 1919 Theatre Royal, BournemouthProfessional
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Previewed in the Bournemouth Graphic, Friday 13 June 1919. ‘There is no lack of fun, frivolity, beauty and splendour at the Theatre Royal this week. “Tails Up,” fresh from its triumphs at the Comedy Theatre, is attracting crowded houses nightly. A musical extravaganza on which brains and money appear to have been bestowed with rare generosity, “Tails Up” proves a really bang up-to-date production, full of originality, sparkling wit, and a running satire that astounds one by its cleverness and ingenuity. The cast includes Claire Ruane, Phyllis Beadon, Hilda Simpson and Marie Brian, a quartette of talented ladies who, in drama or song or humour, are all that could be desired. The principal comedians are Jack Leopold, Phil Golding, William Nixon, Bert Monks and Edwin Adeler, the latter gentleman being highly successful in “The Curious Tale of the Intellectual Sergeant-Major,” “The Strange Tale of the Historical Lecture,” and “The Strange Tale of the Butler who had seen better days.” One of the most charming scenes is the finale, introducing the period 1815. The music is chiefly by Philip Braham and the lyrics by several well-known composers’ (Bournemouth Graphic, 20 June 1919). Also reviewed in the Bournemouth Guardian, 21 June 1919.
23 Jun 1919 New Theatre, CardiffProfessional
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Advertised in the Western Mail, 16 June 1919.
30 Jun 1919 Theatre Royal, PlymouthProfessional
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Previewed in the Western Morning News, 28 June 1919. ‘Described as a musical extravaganza, “Tails Up,” which is being produced at Plymouth Theatre Royal this week, might also be truthfully written down as an extravagance of mirth, for in all the widely-diversified phantasmagoria of scenes through which the onlooker is bustled. the hilarious element is never lacking. A large audience last night fairly bubbled all through with laughter which oftentimes swelled into immoderate proportions. Among the many funny items was a “tale” in the nature of a skit on a plain man’s endeavour to see a highly-placed official at the War-office, which was very ingeniously constructed and caused boundless merriment, and which, if one is to believe what appears in public print, contains at least a substratum of truth. There is a great display of Army humour, which never fails to be appreciated. A mirthful “tale” of an intellectual sergeant-major’s attempt to produce “Hamlet” [sic - in other reviews the play is 'Macbeth'] with the aid of raw recruits was a rare plum of amusement, especially Private Small’s (Mr. Bert Monks’) woebegone expressions and ejaculations. In a. historical lecture of the war, given 500 hence, Mr. Edwin Adeler caused the maximum enjoyment with his quaint interpretations of popular Army catchwords, but we fear history is too solidly written to enable citizens of the future to have such interesting researches. Many topical jokes found a true target. There are many other scenes strongly seasoned with humour, and which are too numerous to mention. On the other side of the picture is prominent a very pretty love scene, which has an especial aptitude this week through representing the Waterloo celebrations in Vauxhall Gardens. This is extremely well staged. Among the strong company of artistes Miss Phillis Beadon gained many admirers through her joyous singing and acting, her graceful dancing and her piquant style. Miss Hilda Simpson scored many successes in songs and duets, singing with commendably clear enunciation and acting with insouciance. Miss Claire Ruane’s songs were also well received. Mr. Edwin Adeler displayed rare versatility as a comedian, presenting many parts in inimitable style. Mr. Jack Leopold also speedily became a favourite, the song “N’ Everything,” which peculiarly suited the nonchalant manner he affects, being one of the biggest hits of the evening. Mr. Leslie Ward was also happy in song and dance. The many secondary rôles were very ably filed, while the dresses were handsome. The music has at least the merit of tunefulness, and the may solos, duets and choruses went with a swing. There is no matinee this week’ (Western Morning News, 1 July 1919).
7 Jul 1919 Pleasure Gardens, FolkestoneProfessional
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Reviewed in the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald, 12 July 1919 (‘The War Office and the nouveaux riches are mercilessly satisfied [sic – surely satirised]’); and in the Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser, 12 July 1919.
14 Jul 1919 Theatre Royal, BrightonProfessional
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‘“Tails Up” has gained an enthusiastic reception here [Theatre Royal, Brighton]. The company is a fine one, including Hilda Simpson, Phillis Beadon. Claire Ruane, Marie Brian, Essie Brett, Edwin Adeler, Jack Leopold, Bert Monks, Leslie Ward, Phil Golding ,Will Noxon [sic – Nixon], Arthur Lawrie. Presented by Frederick G. Lloyd. Orchestra directed by Mr Fred Shaw’ (The Era, 16 July 1919). Similarly The Stage, 17 July 1919.
2 Aug 1919 Theatre Royal, BirminghamProfessional
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‘“Tails Up” opened on Saturday a seven days’ tenancy at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, in the presence of a crowded holiday audience’. The cab shelter framework remained. F. G. Lloyd’s company included Edwin Adeler as a butler fallen on lean days, Hilda Simpson, Bert Marks [sic – Monks], Jack Leopold and Essie Brett (Birmingham Daily Gazette, Monday 4 August 1919). ‘A big holiday crowd enjoyed the unusual entertainment of “Tails Up’’ at the Theatre Royal last night. The singing of Miss Hilda Simpson, the sentimental spasms of Mr. Bert Monks, and the comic burlesque of the show kept the audience on good terms with themselves. Despite the uncommon nature of the production, it proved capital entertainment, and there should be big houses this week’ (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 5 August 1919).
11 Aug 1919 New Theatre, CambridgeProfessional
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Previewed in the Cambridge Independent Press, Friday 8 August 1919. ‘Of course there may be a reason why the “highly successful musical extravaganza” running at the Now Theatre this week is called “Tails Up.” There may something profoundly witty or subtly intellectual in the title; all we can say is that we failed to perceive it. Admittedly there is a song in the piece of that name - but there are others too. However, what’s in name? Who will cavil at the title when the play is so good: - dainty lyrics, witty dialogue, catching music, graceful dancing, pretty dresses, and (last but not by any means least) a still prettier chorus. Plot there is none: the piece is a succession of separate scenes, humorous enough to make angel laugh. Most things come in for a liberal share of banter, from sergeant-majors (awful beings!) down to the Government. Even Shakespeare “gets it good and solid.” Brave author, to dare the rage of schoolmasters, which is terrible. And there is the lecture of the learned don in 2419 A.D. on the relics of the war which had been just dug up, with disquisitions on the strange and mystic religious symbols. “Rumssew”(?) and “Canteen now open.” The Swan of Avon, the Great Bard, etc., should have seen the military rehearsal of Macbeth, commencing at the stage direction, “Enter a bleeding sergeant,” and under the direction of the intellectual sergeant-major. It would have warmed his heart. And so would The Strange Tale of the Butler who had seen Better Days – a piece of somewhat war-time humour, but still funny. And The Strange Tale of the Brigadier-General who was Never Seen – a skit on Government offices with humour well-worn but not dead yet. Quite one of the most amusing and pretty of the scenes was the Strange Tale of the Charm that Worked. To smooth the course of true love the immortal shade of Henry the Eighth is raised, and gives the stony-hearted parents a lively quarter of an hour; and for the rejected modern lover, who, unfortunately proposed in the modern manner, a love-scene from 1815 was summoned from the vasty deep, probably as a punishment. The slickly sickly sentimentalism of this scene would have been quite intolerable but for the undertone of irony running through it, while the pretty dresses and the charming scenery (not to mention the chorus) made a wholly delightful picture. The company can be congratulated on their acting, and still more on the really excellent dancing of some of the principals. Miss Hilda Simpson, who took a number of different parts with complete success, was especially good, and Mr. Jack Leopold was deserving of the great enthusiasm he evoked. Mr. Bert Monks was a splendid profiteer, and Mr. Edwin Adeler as Prof. Octavius Ferrett could hardly have been surpassed. Miss Marie Brian as Mrs. Peel was very good. The rest of the company worked together well to make “Tails Up” fully justify its description – a “highly successful musical extravaganza”’ (Cambridge Daily News, 12 August 1919.
18 Aug 1919 Royal Opera House, TorquayProfessional
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Tails Up was listed in The Era, 20 August 1919, as On The Road at the O.H., Torquay from 18 August. ‘A crowded house in Torquay Theatre last greatly enjoyed the musical extravaganza, “Tails Up!” a play full of bright and entertaining incidents. The leading members the company include Messrs Edwin Adeler, Bert Monks, Jack Leopold, Leslie Ward, and Will Nixon (an able character actor), and Misses Hilda Simpson, Ellaline Thorne, Marie Brian, Essie Brett, and Dorothy Broznan. Mr. Fred Shaw is the able conductor of the orchestra. The performance is to be repeated daily daring the week’ (Western Morning News, Tuesday 19 August 1919). ‘Torquay – Royal. Despite the weather, the Torquay theatre was crowded to excess with a keenly appreciative audience., which received the quips and cranks of the smart dialogue of ‘‘Tails Up” with unrestrained hilarity. Some excellent dancing added to the enjoyment of the audience. The extremely capable cast included Wm. Nixon, Phil Golding. Bert Monk, Leslie Ward, Jack Leopold, Edwin Adeler; Isobel Brognan, Essie Brett, Hilda Simpson, Marie Brian, and Winniford Dalmaine. The piece was produced by Frederic G. Lloyd, by arrangement with André Charlot’ (The Stage, 21 August 1919).
28 Aug 1919 Kursaal Theatre, BognorProfessional
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Tails Up was listed in The Era, 20 August 1919, as On The Road at the the Kursaal, Bognor on 28, 29 and 30 August. The Chichester Observer, 27 August 1919, advertised Tails Up (‘now playing to enormous business at Comedy Theatre, London’ – sic) at the Theatre Royal, Bognor on Thursday 28 August for three nights and a Saturday matinee. Also the West Sussex Gazette, 28 August 1919.
1 Sep 1919 Gaiety Theatre, HastingsProfessional
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The Bexhill-on-Sea Observer, Saturday 30 August 1919, advertised at the Gaiety Theatre, Hastings, on Monday 1 September for three nights and a Wednesday matinee, ‘Mr. Frederick G. Lloyd presents by arrangement with M. Andre Charlot the highly successful musical extravaganza “Tails Up.” Direct from the Comedy and Prince of Wales’ Theatre, London’. ‘For the first three nights of next week Mr. F. G. Lloyd will present by arrangement with M. Andre Charlot, the highly successful Musical extravaganza “Tails Up” direct from the Comedy and Prince Males Theatres, London, where it has been running for over 500 performances. The Cast is a strong one and includes Edwin Adeler, Bert Monks, Phil Golding, Jack Leopold, Leslie Ward, Will Nixon. Arthur Laurie and Misses Hilda Simpson, Ellaline Thorne, Isobel Broznan, Marie Brian, and Essie Brett. The entire production is carried by the company with a Full Chorus and Augmented Orchestra.. The engagement is for three nights only with a matinee on Wednesday at 2.30’ (Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 30 August 1919). Performances noted in The Stage, 4 September 1919. ‘The long caste included many fine artistes who sang and danced and cracked jokes for the entertainment of their audience, and one and all worked hard to make the show a success’ (Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 6 September 1919).
4 Sep 1919 Devonshire Park Theatre, EastbourneProfessional
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At the Devonshire Park ‘On Thursday, for three nights, Frederick G. Lloyd presented “Tails Up” for the first time in Eastbourne, the company including William Nixon, Phil Golding, Bert Monks, Kitty Yorke, Leslie Ward, Essie Brett, Jack Leopold, Hilda Simpson, Edwin Adeler, Marie Brian, Ellaline Thorne, Arthur Laurie, Winifred Dalmaine, and Isobel Brognan. Henry Hawtry was the general manager, and Fredk. Shaw the musical director’ (The Stage, 11 September 1919).
8 Sep 1919 Grand Theatre, LlandudnoProfessional
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Tails Up was listed in The Stage, 4 September 1919, as On Tour from 8 September at the G., Llandudno for three days. For the Grand Theatre, Llandudno see
11 Sep 1919 The Pier, Colwyn BayProfessional
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Tails Up was listed in The Stage, 4 September 1919, as On Tour from 8 September at the G[rand], Llandudno for three days and at the Pier, Colwyn Bay for three days.
15 Sep 1919 Aquarium Theatre, Great YarmouthProfessional
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Previewed in the Yarmouth Independent, 13 September 1919. ‘The description extravaganza, aptly applies to “Tails Up,” the entertainment at the Aquarium Theatre this week. The various episodes are of a most diverting character, especially the Curious Tale of the Intellectual Sergeant-Major and the Strange Tale of the Brigadier-General who was never seen. Many tuneful songs are sung and the choruses and incidental dances are capitally rendered. Miss Hilda Simpson and Mr. Jack Leopold join in many amusing duets, “The Old Bran Pie” being specially pleasing, and the dance indulged in by the two artistes to its merry music, is clever and original and wins much applause. Miss Ellaline Thorne and Mr. Leslie Ward score in the duet, “Wild Thyme,” and in solos. Mr. Edwin Adeler plays various roles with much success and the many scenes are full of fun and frolic. It is light, bright entertainment to be much enjoyed by those in holiday mood’ (Yarmouth Independent, 20 September 1919).
29 Sep 1919 ?, OldhamProfessional
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Tails Up was originally scheduled for this week at the Royal Opera House, Leicester (Leicester Daily Post, Saturday 27 September 1919). However, the Leicester Daily Post, Monday 29 September 1919, carried a notice: ‘Opera House. The Railway Strike having prevented “Tails Up” Company reaching Leicester, the Opera House will be closed for this week’. The Stage, 2 October 1919, reported ‘“The Bing Boys on Broadway” was not able to reach Oldham, so the revue “Tails Up” is presented’. The theatre is not named but is not the Royal, whose stock company was not affected, and seems not to be the Palace, which is mentioned in the following paragraph as experiencing great difficulty in getting a full programme together.
20 Oct 1919 Grand, BlackpoolProfessional
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At the Grand, Blackpool, ‘Frederick G. Lloyd presents the successful musical extravaganza, “Tails Up.” Hilda Simpson is vivacious; her dances are a feature of the performance. Another clever artist is Ellaline Thorne. Edwin Adeler is a clever mirth-provoker, and is given plenty of scope for burlesque; while an excellent light comedian is Jack Leopold, who sings several good songs. Bert Monks is a versatile comedian. Others are Kitty Yorke, Marie Brian, Essie Brett, Leslie Ward, Phil Golding, Will Hixon [sic – Nixon] and Arthur Laurie’ (The Stage, 23 October 1919).
27 Oct 1919 Royal Artillery Theatre, WoolwichProfessional
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The Era, 29 October 1919, listed Tails Up as being produced from 27 October at the Art., Woolwich. And The Stage, 30 October 1919, listed Tails Up as being produced from 27 October at the Art., Woolwich.
3 Nov 1919 King's Theatre, SouthseaProfessional
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The Era, 29 October 1919, listed among calls for 3 November 1919 a rehearsal at 1.30pm for Tails Up at the King’s Theatre, Southsea. Also The Stage, 30 October 1919. Previewed in the Hampshire Telegraph, Friday 31 October 1919. At the King’s Theatre, Portsmouth ‘“Tails Up” is attracting large audiences as played by Frederick Lloyd’s company. The cast includes Edwin Adeler, Jack Leopold, Leslie Ward, Arthur Laurie. Ellaline Thorne, Kitty Yorke, Hilda Simpson, and Essie Brett’ (The Stage, 6 November 1919).
10 Nov 1919 Theatre Royal, AldershotProfessional
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The Era, 29 October 1919, listed Tails Up as On The Road from 10 November at the T. R., Aldershot.
17 Nov 1919 Royal County Theatre, ReadingProfessional
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‘On Monday next and during the week, with a matinee on Wednesday, Mr. Frederick G. Lloyd will present Mr. Andre Charlot’s highly successful musical extravaganza “Tails Up,” in two acts, written by John Hastings Turner with music by Philip Braham. This entertainment passed its 500th performance at the Comedy Theatre, London, to crowded houses. There is novelty in the idea of various persons of different grades of society taking refuge in a cab shelter during a storm and fraternising sufficiently to beguile the time with stories of episodes that are visualised. One of the funniest is the “Strange Tale of a Brigadier General who was never seen,” showing how a plain man arrives, young, gay and confident, at a government office on a quest, and is handed over to an endless succession of pert, uniformed girls. He becomes bent, whity-haired and tottering before he arrives in sight of his goal, only to be sent back to A I Depot, because his forms are incorrectly filled up. There is a strong cast’ (Reading Observer, 15 November 1919).
1 Dec 1919 Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon, LondonProfessional
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At The Wimbledon, listed among ‘London Theatres’, 'Mr. Frederick G. Lloyd presents “Tails Up” this week. Mr. William Nixon played well in the parts of the proprietor of a cab shelter, a ticket collector, Abel Norman, George Potter, a policeman, and a watchman. Mr. Leslie Ward capitally undertook an unattached gentleman, Private Tarbuck, Lord Charles Bellingham, John Mackintosh, George Blythe, and a Cornet of Horse. He was at home in all his parts. His voice showed to advantage in his duet with Miss Ellaline Thorne, “Wild Thyme.” Miss Essie Brett played vivaciously the parts allotted to her, viz., an Impoper [sic] Lady, a clerk, Flatcake, and Katherine. Miss Hilda Simpson played with zest and sang saucily “I Don’t Know” and also in a duet with Mr. Jack Leopold “Any Little Thing” and in “The Old Bran Pie,” in which she was ably assisted by Mr. Bert Monks. Miss Kitty Yorke sang prettily “Will o’ the Wisp,” in which the chorus rendered much assistance. Mr. Jack Leopold was well cast as a Low Fellow, Corporal Bain, a constable, Eustace Bacway, Maurice Rawdon, and an Ensign of the line. Miss Marie Brian depicted amusingly the Major’s Lady, Emma Bung, Lady Bacway, Mrs. Figgis, and Mrs. Peel; and Mr. Bert Monks was well suited for his parts. Other rôles were commendably impersonated by Messrs. Phil Golding, Edwin Adeler, Arthur Laurie, Misses Ellaline Thorne and Isobel Brognan’ (The Stage, 4 December 1919).
12 Jan 1920 Palace Theatre, GloucesterProfessional
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‘That highly successful musical extravaganza, “Tails Up,” has been drawing crowded audiences to the Palace Theatre this week ... In a word “Tails Up,” is one of the smartest, wittiest and most novel revues ever seen in Gloucester. The whole show abounds with fun and merriment, while the music is full of haunting refrains. The caste contains none but experienced artistes, and it is worth going many miles to see Mr. Philip Valantine [sic - Vallentine?] as the Sergeant- Major, Mr. Jack Leopold as the constable, or Mr. Bert Monks as Pte. Small. The lady principals are par excellence, and the whole production teems with novelties, war and other topical skits, and a variety of burlesque scenes provocative of continuous roars of laughter. The principals are supported by a splendid chorus, noted alike for their costumes of wonderful design, as well as their fine singing and new dances’ (Gloucestershire Chronicle, 17 January 1920). ‘“Tails Up!” is one of the smartest revues which have been seen at Gloucester for a long time ... The production is in the nature of a series of detached sketches, all of which are excellently thought out and smartly given. The opening scene picturing a cab shelter on a wet night is followed by a most amusing item “The intellectual Sergeant-Major” in which Mr. Philip Vallentine takes the name part and Mr. Bert Monks is the chief comic as Pte. Small. “Will o’ the Wisp” is a very pretty song charmingly rendered by Miss Doris Lennox, who also dances most gracefully. The sketch purporting to be a historical lecture such as will be delivered 500 years hence is screamingly funny. “The Special Cop” in which Miss Alison Maclaren is the Special, and Mr. Jack Leopold the Constable is quite good. Miss MacLaren is heard to advantage in “I don’t know,” and Miss Marie Dix and Mr. Norman Astridge sing “Wild Thyme” delightfully. A splendid take-off for the newly rich and the impoverished nobility is “The Butler who has seen better days,” in which Mr. Vallentine and Mr. Monks are the chief actors. Another smart take-off in which a Government Department is portrayed is “The Brigadier-General who was never seen,” which is followed by a novel contrast in things as they were in 1815 and as they are to-day entitled, “The Marriage Expert v. Vauxhall Gardens.”’ (Gloucester Journal, 17 January 1920).
1 Mar 1920 Theatre Royal, ExeterProfessional
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Previewed in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, Saturday 28 February 1920. ‘Like several other productions of recent years, “Tails Up” does not consist of acts and scenes each having more or less connexion with preceding scenes, but of a number of really clever sketches, most of them being a skit upon some phase or other of life in the 20th century. Some of them, like the opening scene, “The Cab Shelter,” partake somewhat of the character of the ordinary music hall turn, but the majority are really clever creations, in which rich humour and harmonious song scenas, attractive dances, and melodious choruses blend in delightful fashion. One of the most laughable is, beyond a doubt, “The Historical Lecture,” in which a lecturer gives an amusing description of the Great War, gathered from particulars gained by historians and explorers. The many topical allusions were much enjoyed by the audiences, as were those in “The Butler who has seen better days” - a skit on the “new rich and the new poor.” The satire “The Brigadier-General who was never seen” may not be appreciated by all “workers’’ in Government offices, but, judging from the manner in which the audience received it last evening, there were many present who have had unpleasant experiences of treating with Government offices. The advanced young men of the day have some curious ideas of courtship and a happy skit on this is shown in the two clever scenes with which “Tails Up” concludes. But, despite the fact that there is so much satire and humour in the production, due prominence is given to charming musical numbers, as witness “The old bran-pie,” “Wild Thyme,” and “Any little thing,” while the settings of such songs and dances as “A Will o’ the Wisp” are artistic and picturesque in the extreme. The Company which is presenting “Tails Up” is a talented one, and each and all play many very varied parts in a manner which adds to the success of the production. Among the outstanding members we may mention William Nixon, Phil Golding, and Alison McLaren, Lionel Halfpenny, Norman Astridge and Marie Dixon, Albert Wayne, Philip Vallentine, Evelyn Robson, and Jack Leopold' (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 2 March 1920).
8 Mar 1920 Theatre Royal, King's LynnProfessional
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‘Fredk. G. Lloyd’s company, in “Tails Up,” opened on Monday to a very good house. For the next three nights we have Frank Forbes Robertson’s company in “Mice and Men” announced’. The Stage, 11 March 1920.
11 Mar 1920 Shodfriar's Theatre, Boston, LincolnshireProfessional
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The Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian, Saturday 6 March 1920, carried an advertisement for the Shodfriars’ Theatre, Boston, on Thursday-Saturday, 11-13 March 1920, ‘Secured at terrific expense, and one of our star shows of the year, Frederick G. Lloyd presents, by arrangement with Andre Charlot, the highly successful Musical Extravaganza, Tails Up, in 2 acts. Direct from the Comedy and Prince of Theatres London, where it ran for over 500 nights. Caste includes - Philip Vallentine, Lionel Halfpenny, Albert Wayne, Norman Astridge, Will Nixon, Phil Golding, Arthur Laurie, Alison MacLaren, Marie Dix, Evelyn Robson, Molly Mackay. Full Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of Frederick Shaw’. ‘Last night (Thursday) Mr. Frederick Lloyd presented the highly successful musical extravaganza, “Tails Up,” a piece which has had a splendid run; the Company is a good one. and well worth a visit’ (Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian, 13 March 1920).
15 Mar 1920 Lyceum, IpswichProfessional
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The Stage, 11 March 1920, listed in Calls For Next Week Tails Up at the Ipswich Lyceum. The Stage, 18 March 1920, listed Tails Up as being On Tour from 15 March at the Ly., Ipswich.
16 Nov 1920 Alhambra, LondonProfessional
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The Stage, 18 November 1920, reported on a matinee programme ‘on Tuesday’ [16 November 1920] at the Alhambra Theatre in aid of the Pension Fund for Actors, in memory of Sydney Valentine who had done ‘vital work’ for the Actors’ Association. The programme included ‘The Butler Who Had Seen Better Days’ which was ‘an episode in the second edition of “Tails Up” at the Comedy early last year’. ‘Elaborated a little by the author, Mr. J. Hastings Turner, the skit on the new rich had on Tuesday the services of Mr. Norman McKinnel, Mr. George Grossmith, Mr. Owen Nares, Miss Ellis Jeffreys, Miss Fay Compton, and Miss Marie Löhr, who joined Mr. Allan Aynesworth, the original butler to the Backway family, who in this capacity were entertaining a marquis unaware. Mr. Aynesworth was once more all suavity and polish as the fallen aristocrat dutifully waiting on the ambitious “plebs”; and the somewhat inconclusive skit, out of which these accomplished artists got all the humour there was in it, and into which they imported a good deal more, thus enjoyed a brilliant performance, under the skilled stage management of Mr. E. Vivian Reynolds’.