Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

An absurd melodrama. Fortescue on his ranch believes his wife & child to have been drowned, whereas they had been saved but the wife’s letters were kept back by Brenda, a wicked woman who lived with Fortescue and was his “suite”. When he found out the truth he joined the U.S. army. Meanwhile in England his son, Billy, has just got a commission in the R.A.F. His captain Beecher is a villain & wishes to marry Billy’s mother, Lucy. Fortescue, now a captain in the U.S. army arrives in England but Brenda does so too & prevents a reconciliation. Then Brenda and Beecher join forces and (1) drug Billy and prevents his going up to repel an air raid only his mother takes his place and brings down a Gotha & (2) when he has become a private and is in the fighting line Beecher shoots him in the back. Fortunately Lucy has warning of this in a vision & Fortescue, sent by her, arrives in time to secure the bullet, with which ultimately he convicts Beecher, who also is shot in the back by Brenda. The only objectionable thing in this farrago of rubbish is that the villain should be a British officer. But we have had officer villains before and though this is a bad case (in point of depths of villainy) the whole thing is so childish that nobody could be offended. Nor could any American, I think, be offended by the comic American figures, which are meant to be sympathetic. Recommended for Licence. G.S. Street

Licensed On: 7 Oct 1918

License Number: 1802



British Library Reference: LCP1918/17

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66199 M


3 Sep 1917 Mechanics Theatre, DumfriesUnknown
13 Oct 1918 Alexandra Theatre, BirminghamProfessional
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'With a series of stirring episodes as the component parts the play has a particularly apposite setting in the introduction not merely of war scenes, but of incidents designed to illustrate the whole-heartedness with which America's sons are entering the conflict'. ('Birmingham Daily Post', 15 October 1918, p. 3). Described as 'the Anglo-American play' ('Birmingham Mail, 15 October 1918, p. 2)
14 Oct 1918 Hippodrome, HuddersfieldUnknown Licensed Performance
28 Oct 1918 Grand Theatre, NottinghamProfessional
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'The piece, which possesses many attractions out of the ordinary, is cleverly staged by Mr. W.H. Glaze's "standard" company....' ('Nottingham Journal', 29 October 1918, p. 3)
11 Nov 1918 Hippodrome, HuddersfieldProfessional
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'The war play, which should so soon give way to the peace play, has not yet quite had its day, but it already is in a stage of metamorphosis, for last night at the Hippodrome the final scene of the melodrama, 'Billy's Mother,' presented by Mr. Will H. Glaze's company, took place just "when peace was declared," an innovation which the house commended with overwhelming applause.' ('Huddersfield Daily Examiner', 12 November 1918)
2 Dec 1918 Theatre Royal, SheffieldProfessional
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Play performed by 'one of Mr. W.H. Glaze's companies under the direction of Mr. F.E. Chabot' ('Sheffield Independent', 3 December 1918, p. 2)
16 Dec 1918 Theatre Royal, NorwichProfessional
2 Jan 1919 Royal Theatre, OldhamProfessional
3 Mar 1919 Prince's Theatre, PortsmouthProfessional
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Twice nightly ('Hampshire Telegraph', 7 March 1919, p. 1)
21 Apr 1919 Theatre Royal, SunderlandProfessional
21 Apr 1919 Prince's Theatre, BradfordProfessional
30 Apr 1919 Coliseum, IlkestonProfessional
12 May 1919 Theatre Royal, South ShieldsProfessional
19 May 1919 Hippodrome, MexboroughProfessional
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Twice nightly
26 May 1919 Metropole, GlasgowProfessional
2 Jun 1919 Junction Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
14 Jul 1919 Theatre Royal, YorkProfessional
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'An interesting story woven around the Royal Air Force.' ('The Stage', 17 July 1919, p. 4)
21 Jul 1919 Theatre Royal, JarrowProfessional