Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

Sir J Barrie pokes fun at all sorts of plays in this production. Appreciation of it must depend a good deal on interest in the things burlesqued, but there are a great many funny touches, chiefly of detail and in comical 'effects' which should amuse anybody. The idea running through the whole and giving it such coherence as it has, is that Rosy, once an actress and now married to a peer, is always unhappy at 8pm: the problem is to discover what other such couples do at that time and meanwhile she wants to go back to the stage and it is suggested that she is not good enough for the chorus but can only be a leading lady. (A slightly hackneyed joke, I am afraid). With this as the main idea we have in scene I a burlesque of the play with the wardrobe occupied by the husband, therefore innocent, and in scene II, a burlesque of the old 'triangle play' with the lover, now out of his job. Scene III is chiefly cinematograph imitations, with Rosy seeking to return to the stage and the lover of Scene II cropping up in disguises. In it there is interpolated a slightly burlesque of the German officer sketch. He disappears very soon, however, and the rest of this episode is an English soldier flirting with a French girl, both hampered by language and the dubious about Lord Kitchener’s famous instructions in such matters. This, of course, might have been done in a way which could not have been allowed, but done, as it is, with Barrie's lightest touch and complete innocence. I do not think anyone could find in it disrespect to Lord Kitchener. (Scene III, pages 5 seq). Scene IV is the 'receding chin's club) with a burlesque of comic opera or revue chorus business. Scene V burlesques both old-fashioned melodrama and 'David Copperfield'. Scene VI is real cinematograph with Rosy's baby touring about in her 'pram' to find out the secret of 8pm, and in scene VII we have the secret disclosed, which turns out to be the guests and servants doing a musical comedy chorus, and the final extinguishing of the old conventional lover. It is all good fun and at times ingeniously humorous. I have mentioned the soldier-French-girl-Kitchener's-instructions episode, in my opinion harmless, but the only thing I think should be altered is, scene IV, page 3. 'The Hon Mrs Lasceles' as the name of a chorus lady, as that is an actual aristocratic name. Songs, not given, are occasionally mentioned, and these, as a matter of rule, should be sent, though I do not doubt they are innocent. Recommended for license. G. S. Street. Handwritten after 'the songs have now come and are pretty and amusing' GSS.

Licensed On: 4 Mar 1915

License Number: 3226



British Library Reference: LCP1915/5

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66091 N


Date Theatre Type
11 Mar 1915 Duke of York's Theatre, London Unknown Licensed Performance