Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is a spy play, better written than most and with a quite exciting third act. The spies suggest those of 'The Man who Stayed at Home', being a German woman posing as an English lady and her son who has been brought up as an English naval officer for purposes of treachery. There is also a master-spy, Schaffer, disguised as a wounded Belgian officer. The hero is a gallant commander of a submarine and the spies' bright idea is to get form him the code key word which will disclose important naval plans to them and to send him drugged in an aeroplane to Berlin. He goes unsuspectingly to dinner with them but finds out their character before dinner. The plot is complicated by a love affair, a girl's photograph (with the missing word on it) a midshipman who comes accidentally to the rescue and so on. It is perhaps sufficient to say that after drugging, holding up, and the rest of it the hero outwits the spies and sends one of them to Berlin in the aeroplane instead of himself. The idea of a sub-lieutenant in the navy being a disguised German, with another in our air service (to assist in the aeroplane plot) and the general talk about the omnipresence and efficiency of German spies do not tend to have a useful effect, I think, but there seems to be nothing to interfere with. At one point (act III, p.19 and 21) the spies threaten the hero with mutilation, which is perhaps unnecessarily unpleasant, but its nature is not specified. Recommended for licence. G. S. Street

Researcher's Summary:

The play was a hit from its premiere at the Queen's Theatre, London. After an enforced termination at the Queens', the London production went on a short tour and then opened at the Garrick Theatre where it was performed until July 1919. It then transferred on 12 July to the New Theatre, London. By early 1919 there were two regional touring companies presenting the play across the UK. In early 1919 the rights were given for Australian and South African productions, and discussions were underway for the American, Dutch and French rights. In October 1919 Percy Hutchinson took the play to New York and from there to Canada. In mid-1927 Graham Wilcox Productions acquired the film rights. The film of the play was released in November 1927 and shown widely throughout 1928. It was directed by Fred Paul and starred Evelyn Laye in her debut role on film, alongside Henry Victor. Just over ten years later, in 1939, another film adaptation was released, starring Geoffrey Tone, Judy Kelly and Albert Burdon. It was also screened in mid-1942.

Licensed On: 22 Jul 1918

License Number: 1684

British Library Reference: LCP1918/13

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66195 I

Performances

Date Theatre Type
1 Aug 1918 Theatre Royal, Bournemouth Professional Licensed Performance
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This was a trial run before the London run.
5 Aug 1918 Queen's Theatre, London Professional
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Premiered on Bank Holiday Monday. August 5th 1918 and continued to be performed through to mid February 1919. Percy Hutchinson began in the role of Clive Stanton, V.C. and then returned to the role in January 1919.
4 Oct 1918 Pleasure Gardens, Folkestone Professional
4 Oct 1918 Pleasure Gardens Theatre, Folkestone Professional
26 Oct 1918 King's Theatre, Glasgow Professional
26 Oct 1918 King's Theatre, Glasgow Professional
18 Nov 1918 Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Professional
23 Nov 1918 Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Professional
20 Jan 1919 Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne Professional
3 Feb 1919 Gaiety Theatre, Hastings Professional
10 Feb 1919 Pleasure Gardens Theatre, Folkestone Professional
17 Feb 1919 Dalston Theatre, London Professional
24 Feb 1919 Theatre Royal, Stockport Professional
24 Feb 1919 Hippodrome, Golders Green, London Professional
11 Mar 1919 Theatre Royal, Hanley Professional
20 Mar 1919 Empire Theatre, Preston Professional
24 Mar 1919 Theatre Royal, Barrow Professional
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Presented by the Midland Company.
24 Mar 1919 Empire Theatre, Barnsley Professional
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This was the Midland company.
24 Mar 1919 Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon, London Professional
24 Mar 1919 Theatre Royal, Birmingham Professional
31 Mar 1919 Empire Theatre, Barnsley Professional
31 Mar 1919 Empire Theatre, Kingston Professional
31 Mar 1919 Opera House, Southport Professional
31 Mar 1919 New Theatre, Cambridge Professional
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Presented by Percy Hutchinson's company for three nights and a matinee.
31 Mar 1919 Empire Theatre, Kingston Professional
7 Apr 1919 Grand Theatre, Mansfield Professional
7 Apr 1919 Opera House, Southport Professional
7 Apr 1919 Grand Theatre, Luton Professional
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Performed for six nights and a matinee.
14 Apr 1919 Theatre Royal, Bournemouth Professional
14 Apr 1919 Opera House, Belfast Professional
21 Apr 1919 Grand Theatre, Southampton Professional
21 Apr 1919 Opera House, Coventry Professional
28 Apr 1919 New Theatre, Crewe Professional
28 Apr 1919 New Theatre, Crewe Professional
28 Apr 1919 Opera House, Torquay Professional
5 May 1919 Royal Court Theatre, Wigan Professional
5 May 1919 Pavilion Theatre, Weymouth Professional
5 May 1919 Garrick Theatre, London Professional
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Starring Percy Hutchinson.
5 May 1919 Theatre Royal, Rochdale Professional
12 May 1919 Grand, Accrington Professional
12 May 1919 Olympia, Liverpool Professional
19 May 1919 Theatre Royal, Birkenhead Professional
19 May 1919 Theatre Royal, Birkenhead Professional
26 May 1919 Opera House, Dudley Professional
26 May 1919 Opera House, Northampton Professional
28 May 1919 Theatre Royal, Torquay Professional
2 Jun 1919 ?, Hartlepool Professional
2 Jun 1919 Royalty Theatre, Chester Professional
9 Jun 1919 Theatre Royal, Bradford Professional
12 Jul 1919 New Theatre, London Professional
4 Aug 1919 New Theatre, Cambridge Professional
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Produced for six nights and a matinee and starring Percy Hutchinson.
4 Aug 1919 Opera House, Southport Professional
4 Aug 1919 ?, Southend Professional
11 Aug 1919 Palace Theatre, Clackton-on-Sea Professional
11 Aug 1919 West Pier Theatre, Brighton Professional
18 Aug 1919 Theatre and Opera House, Cheltenham Professional
18 Aug 1919 Theatre Royal, Guildford Professional
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Performed for three nights.
18 Aug 1919 Theatre Royal, Bognor Professional
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Performed for three nights this week.
25 Aug 1919 Victoria Opera House, Burnley Professional
25 Aug 1919 Pier Theatre, Eastbourne Professional
25 Aug 1919 ?, Bristol Professional
1 Sep 1919 Theatre Royal, Norwich Professional
1 Sep 1919 ?, Taunton Professional
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Performed for three nights.
1 Sep 1919 Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man Professional
4 Sep 1919 ?, Weston-Super-Mare Professional
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Performed for three nights.
8 Sep 1919 Lyceum Theatre, Ipswich Professional
8 Sep 1919 New Theatre, Cardiff Professional
15 Sep 1919 ?, Worcester Professional
15 Sep 1919 Palace Theatre, Ramsgate Professional
22 Sep 1919 Hippodrome, Sheerness Professional
22 Sep 1919 ?, Bath Professional
29 Sep 1919 County Theatre, Shrewsbury Professional
29 Sep 1919 ?, Worthing Professional
29 Sep 1919 Hippodrome, Golders Green, London Professional
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Performed by Percy Hutchinson's 'principal company'.
6 Oct 1919 Grand, Lancaster Professional
6 Oct 1919 ?, Stratford Professional
13 Oct 1919 Theatre Royal, Whitehaven Professional
13 Oct 1919 ?, Watford Professional
13 Oct 1919 Opera House, Belfast Professional
20 Oct 1919 ?, Woolwich Professional
20 Oct 1919 Grand Theatre, Ayr Professional
27 Oct 1919 ?, Paisley Professional
27 Oct 1919 ?, Hammersmith Professional
3 Nov 1919 King's Theatre, Greenock Professional
3 Nov 1919 ?, Penge Professional
10 Nov 1919 ?, Perth Professional
10 Nov 1919 ?, Swansea Professional
17 Nov 1919 Theatre Royal, Portsmouth Professional
17 Nov 1919 Theatre Royal, Inverness Professional
24 Nov 1919 Palace Theatre, Gloucester Professional
24 Nov 1919 Grand Theatre, Hull Professional
24 Nov 1919 Grand Theatre, Falkirk Professional
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Presented for the week
1 Dec 1919 ?, Wolverhampton Professional
1 Dec 1919 Opera House, Dunfermline Professional
8 Dec 1919 Theatre Royal, Lincoln Professional
8 Dec 1919 ?, Richmond Professional
5 Jan 1920 ?, Swindon Professional
5 Jan 1920 Grand, Blackpool Professional
12 Jan 1920 ?, Chatham Professional
16 Jan 1920 Pleasure Gardens Theatre, Folkestone Professional
17 Jan 1920 County Theatre, St Albans Professional
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Performed at the weekend.
19 Jan 1920 ?, Crayford Professional
19 Jan 1920 Theatre Royal, West Bromwich Professional
26 Jan 1920 County Theatre, Bedford Professional
26 Jan 1920 ?, Darlington Professional
26 Jan 1920 ?, Bedford Professional
23 Feb 1920 Gaiety Theatre, Hastings Professional
8 Mar 1920 Grand Theatre, Mansfield Professional
22 Mar 1920 King's Theatre, Edinburgh Professional
22 Mar 1920 ?, Hanley Professional
29 Mar 1920 ?, Newport Professional
5 Apr 1920 Grand Theatre, Hull Professional
5 Apr 1920 ?, Weymouth Professional
12 Apr 1920 Theatre Royal, Torquay Professional
19 Apr 1920 Grand Theatre, Southampton Professional
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For six nights.
26 Apr 1920 Theatre Royal, Bournemouth Professional
26 Apr 1920 Theatre Royal, Bournemouth Professional
3 May 1920 Theatre and Opera House, Cheltenham Professional
10 May 1920 Palace Theatre, Chelsea, London Professional
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The first of a tour of the halls.
17 May 1920 Opera House, Coventry Professional
26 Jul 1920 Theatre Royal, Yarmouth Professional
2 Aug 1920 Prince's Theatre, Bristol Professional
9 Aug 1920 West Pier Theatre, Brighton Professional
16 Aug 1920 Isle of Wight Circuit, Isle of Wight Professional
23 Aug 1920 Art Theatre, Woolwich Professional
30 Aug 1920 South Parade Pier, Portsmouth Professional
20 Sep 1920 Worthing Theatre, Worthing Professional
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Performed Monday-Wednesday with matinee Wednesday
4 Oct 1920 Palace, Watford Professional
18 Oct 1920 Borough Theatre, Stratford Professional
25 Oct 1920 King's Theatre, Hammersmith Professional
26 Oct 1920 Queen's Theatre, London Professional
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The play was revived at the theatre when Percy Hutchinson suddenly withdrew 'A Pair of Sixes', reportedly as a result of the coal strike.
1 Nov 1920 Empire, Penge Professional
15 Nov 1920 Theatre Royal, Bath Professional
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Performed for six nights.
6 Dec 1920 Opera House, Cork Professional
4 Jan 1921 Town Hall, Aylesbury Professional
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For two nights only, 4 and 5 January.
10 Jan 1921 Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds Professional
19 Jan 1921 Club Hall, Sevenoaks Professional
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Flying visit for two nights only, Wednesday and Thursday (19 & 20).
28 Jan 1921 Memorial Hall, Chalfont St Peter Professional
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Performed for three nights.
10 Feb 1921 Ripley Victory Hall, Ripley Professional
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Performed for three nights.
16 May 1921 Prince's Theatre, Bristol Professional
23 May 1921 Grand Pier Pavilion, Weston-Super-Mare Professional
1 Aug 1921 West Pier Theatre, Brighton Professional
10 Aug 1925 Alexandra Theatre, Pontefract Professional
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Part of a season by the Venner Repertory company, with Stephen C. Venner in the title role.
26 Oct 1925 Opera House, Wakefield Professional
15 Nov 1925 Crown Theatre, Eccles Professional
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Performed by the Broadhead Players.
22 Feb 1926 Hippodrome, Margate Professional
1 Mar 1926 Queen's Theatre, Dundee Professional
22 Mar 1926 Theatre Royal, Bolton Professional
19 Apr 1926 Theatre Royal, Bilston Professional
24 May 1926 Ambassadors, Southend Professional
5 Jul 1926 Opera House, Northampton Professional
15 Jul 1926 Hippodrome, Rotherham Professional
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Performed for three nights
21 Mar 1927 Opera House, Kidderminster Professional
23 May 1927 Theatre Royal, Hyde Professional
29 Sep 1927 Theatre Royal, Bristol Professional
12 Mar 1928 Alhambra, Devonport Professional
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Presented by the Dorothy Mullord London Repertory Company.
3 Feb 1930 Little Theatre, Bristol Unknown
10 Feb 1930 Grand Theatre, Hull Professional
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A personal visit by Percy Hutchinson and the full West-End company.
17 Feb 1930 Brixton Theatre, Brixton Professional
3 Mar 1930 Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield Professional
10 Mar 1930 Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne Professional
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For six nights, starring Percy Hutchison
17 Mar 1930 Gaiety Theatre, Hastings Professional
7 Apr 1930 Theatre Royal, Portsmouth Professional
12 May 1930 Royal and Empire Theatre, Peterborough Professional
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Presented by Tod Slaughter
7 Jul 1930 Grand, Blackpool Professional
14 Jul 1930 Theatre Royal, Nottingham Professional
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Starring Percy Hutchison
31 Jul 1930 Theatre Royal, Birmingham Professional
4 Aug 1930 Court Theatre, Liverpool Professional
25 Aug 1930 Empire Theatre, Coventry Professional
1 Sep 1930 Theatre Royal, Huddersfield Professional
8 Sep 1930 Prince's Theatre, Bradford Professional
18 Sep 1930 Pier Theatre, Eastbourne Professional
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Performed for three nights with matinee Saturday.
22 Sep 1930 Palace Theatre, Plymouth Professional
6 Oct 1930 His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen Professional
3 Nov 1930 Theatre Royal, Halifax Professional
1 Dec 1930 Grand Theatre, Derby Professional
13 Apr 1931 Royalty Theatre, Morecambe Professional
24 Dec 1934 Playhouse, London Professional
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A revival with Percy Hutchinson as the VC which ran until Saturday 5 January
4 Feb 1935 Pleasure Gardens Theatre, Folkestone Professional
11 Feb 1935 Little Theatre, Bournemouth Professional
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Presented for the week.
25 Nov 1936 Sandown Town Hall, Sandown Amateur
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Presented by the Radnor Revellers, as their 48th performance since their formation 4 seasons earlier.
20 Mar 1939 ?, Craigellachie Amateur
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Presented this week by the Craigellachie Amateur Dramatic Society.
2 Oct 1939 Theatre Royal, Leeds Professional
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Performed by the Arthur Brough Players.
20 Oct 1941 Prince's Theatre, Bradford Professional
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An entirely new version performed by Phyllis Neilson-Terry, Tod Slaughter and Percy Hutchison.
27 Oct 1941 Theatre Royal, Nottingham Professional
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Percy Hutchison returned to the theatre in a new 1941 version of the 1918 play. Evelyn Shillington, daughter of Mrs Clifford Mills, prepared the new version. IT starred Tod Slaughter and Percy Hutchison in his original role.
4 Nov 1941 New Theatre, Hull Professional
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Full West End cast including Phyllis Neilson-Terry, Tod Slaughter, and Percy Hutchison
11 Nov 1941 Theatre Royal, Brighton Professional
17 May 1943 Theatre Royal, Exeter Professional
6 Nov 1967 Leatherhead Theatre, Leatherhead Professional
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Performed from 6 November to 25 November 1967. The Stage (16 November 1967) commented that the revival 'demonstrates more clearly than most plays how fundamentally ideas - and not only theatrical ideas - have changed over the last half-century [...] [it] does not seem quite so topical as one might expect. The sentiments of 1917 would never be uttered, and probably never experienced, in 1967, when, perhaps rather regrettably, they merely seem hilariously funny'. The cast included Patrick Ludlow as the Admiral: he had played the Midshipman in 1917. Others in the case included Graham James, Philip Gilbert, Susan Tebbs, Pamela Lane, Michael Cadman, Philip Morant, and Venetia Maxwell. The set design was by Sidney Jarvis.