Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is a play dealing, after the manner of convention melodrama, with the problem of what is now known as the 'war-baby'. It tells the story of the seduction of a barmaid by a young officer who leaves for the front without being told by her that she is going to become a mother. Later on we meet the father of the 'love-child' now happily married to a lady whose one regret it is that, through an accident, she must be childless, and whose resolve it is to adopt some poor boy and bring him up as her son. By one of the coincidences so familiar in fiction it chances that the boy of 10 whom she adopts, by purchasing him from his drunken mother and rescuing him from her thieving companions, is none other than her husband's illegitimate child. When the truth nearly comes out the wretched mother tries to get back her boy; but her vengeful determination to put pressure on the father by telling his wife of the child's paternity breaks down under the kindly influence of the benevolent lady's sympathy with a fallen sister. Some episodes of 'low life' recalling 'Oliver Twist' and some forced comedy relief in the servants' hall serve to pad out adequately an amateurish and quite inoffensive specimen of Adelphi drama, brought up to the date of the present war. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall.

Researcher's Summary:

Publicity for Ada Abbott’s play ‘The Love Child’ emphasised that it was ‘not a war drama’ even though it dealt with ‘the “War Baby” question’ (The Stage, 6 and 27 May and 3 June 1915). It was, however, repeatedly advertised as ‘the great problem play’ (as well as ‘the play of the moment’), although The Scotsman, 17 June 1919, commented that ‘One is a little in doubt as to what constitutes the “problem”’. The play’s main focus was on the unmarried mother’s predicament ten years after the birth of her little boy. Its WW1-specific element is the notion that so many men would be killed during the war that in 1924 Lord and Lady Kingdon’s household would have a female footwoman, chef, page and chauffeur; this provided some comic relief but some reviewers thought the speculation inappropriate (The Stage, 3 June and 1 July 1915). Reviewers of the production in Gloucester in May 1916 clearly found the scenes of low life sordid and distasteful; similar reactions may lie behind the decision, on some occasions, to advertise the play as suitable ‘for adults only’ and to prohibit the admission of persons under 16 (Kirkcaldy, Methil, North Shields, Glasgow and Newcastle in 1918; Berwick in 1919; Hamilton in 1920; Longton, Blyth and North Shields again in 1922). Although the play was licensed to some theatres’ stock companies in 1916-1918 (Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Gloucester, Hartlepool, Walsall, Great Yarmouth and Bristol), it was usually performed, until 1922, by Ernest R. Abbott’s touring company; Ada was his wife and the company's leading actress as well as the author of several other plays in the company’s repertoire. Tracking performances of ‘The Love Child’ is complicated by the fact that its title was changed to ‘Neither Wife Nor Maid’ in November 1915, although it was still reviewed as ‘The Love Child’ in February 1916. Also, certainly from the end of August 1915, Ernest R. Abbott’s company performed it in conjunction with several other plays, such as ‘The Sins Of The Rich’, ‘Sapho’, ‘The Passions’, ‘Woman And Her Master’ (a version of ‘Carmen’), ‘Wife In Name Only’ and ‘Hearts And Homes’. Sometimes only one of those plays would be performed for the whole week; at other times two or three plays would divide the week between them. The performance weeks identified here are those for which evidence has been found that ‘The Love Child’/’Neither Wife Nor Maid’ was performed on at least one day. It is possible that the play was rewritten in places: characters named Hannah and Jane when the play opened on 31 May 1915 are Manx and Eliza later in the same year; and the original two crooks Steve and Boney acquired a colleague named Diamond Hobbs who is first mentioned in a review in May 1919 (although the actor who played him had joined the company by October 1915). Some actors played the same parts for several years: the child actress Nellie Crowther played the 10-year old boy Tommy from the outset until at least March 1922. And was the bull terrier to whom the actor John Johnston sang ‘He’s My Pal’ in June 1915 the same animal who acted with him in February 1923?

Licensed On: 21 May 1915

License Number: 3412

Author(s):

Genre(s):

British Library Reference: LCP1915/12

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66098 U

Performances

DateTheatreType
31 May 1915 Theatre Royal, LeicesterUnknown Licensed Performance
31 May 1915 Theatre Royal, LeicesterProfessional
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The Stage, 3 June 1915, gave the cast as: Doctor Howlett, Mr. D. Pentland; ‘Curly’ Saunders, Mr. John Johnston; Ben Huxter, Mr. Ernest R. Abbott; Emily Huxter, Miss Annie Morgan; Meg Huxter, Miss Ada Abbott; Lord Kingdon, Mr. Frank Kelland; Rev. Peter Cordiner, Mr. Philip Layton; Portal,Mr. Edwin Keene; Boney, Mr. W. H. Davis-Brown; Steve, Mr. Alfred Harvey; Dowager Lady Kingdon, Miss Agnes Kingston; Lady Rose Kingdon, Miss Glory Kelland; Sophy, Miss Marguerite Cryer; Hannah, Miss Esther Carthew; Flint, Miss Gladys Beatrice; Jane, Miss Marion Holly; Tommy, Miss Nellie Crowther. The Stage continued by narrating the plot in great detail. It added, 'Miss Ada Abbott appeared in the exacting part of Meg with great success, playing throughout with fine emotional feeling, and she scored splendidly at the end of the second act. Mr. Frank Kelland fulfilled all the demands made upon him as Lord Kingdon. As Lady Rose, Miss Glory Kelland played with feeling and delicacy. The Dowager Lady Kingdon had an admirable representative in Miss Agnes Kingston, and Miss Nellie Crowther made a pathetic and appealing figure as Tommy. Mr. Philip Layton acted with intelligence as the Rev. Peter Cordiner, and Mr. Ernest R. Abbott gave a satisfactory reading of Ben Huxter. Mr. Edwin Keene contributed a neat bit of humorous characterisation as Portal. Mr. W. H. Davis-Brown acted forcibly in the part of Boney, whilst Mr. John Johnston was good as Curly. Mr. D. Pentland as Dr. Howlett, Miss Marguerite Cryer as Sophy, Miss Esther Carthew as Hannah, Miss Gladys Beatrice as Flint, and Miss Marion Holly as Jane, in smaller parts, rendered excellent service. Some capital scenery been used for the drama, which was well received by a good house. The play, however, would be improved by being toned down in certain parts; the jokes about no men being left in 1924 do not fall pleasantly on the ear at the present time: and the scene where Meg recovers from her drunken bout, and sends her child out for brandy is not particularly agreeable’.
7 Jun 1915 Alexandra Theatre, WidnesProfessional
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The Stage, 10 June 1915, listed The Love Child as On Tour from 7 June at the Alexandra, Widnes.
14 Jun 1915 Metropole Theatre, BootleProfessional
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‘“To err is human, to forgive divine,” is the keynote of Ada C. Abbott’s new and powerful play [at the Metropole, Bootle], The Love Child, in the depiction of which Mr. Ernest R. Abbott (who brings the company), Messrs. Frank Kelland, Philip Layton, Edwin Keene, John Johnston, W. H. Davis-Brown, Misses Ada Abbott, Nellie Crowther, Marion Holly, Gladys Beatrice, Esther Carthew, Marguerite Cryer, Glory Kelland and Agnes Kingston acquit themselves ably’. The Stage, 17 June 1915.
21 Jun 1915 Metropole Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
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‘“The Love Child,” a new play in a prologue and eight scenes, is a brightly written story, and makes a good entertainment at the Metropole. Ernest R. Abbott’s company is an efficient one; the interpretation of the part of the unmarried mother by Ada Abbott being one of the features of the production’. Manchester Evening News, 22 June 1915.
28 Jun 1915 Brixton Theatre, Brixton, LondonProfessional
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The Stage, 1 July 1915, narrated the plot, commenting on it as it went along. The review began, 'Although the “War Babies” myth manufactured by sensation-mongers has already been pretty well demolished, it has given the ready-witted playwright the cue for the composition of various popular dramas on the “Unmarried Mother” or “Child of Love” theme. Among the first crop of these is The Love Child, by Ada G. Abbott, which [is] making its appearance this week in the London district, at the Brixton. There it was received with not undeserved enthusiasm on Monday ... That Miss Abbott’s powerful and absorbing piece, with the actress-authoress in the leading role of Meg Huxter, should find favour, not merely with popular audiences, is easy to understand, for it inculcates a wholesome moral in a plain and straightforward way, without crude and repellent sensationalism. As Meg’s mother says in a warning before she dies from the effects of her husband’s brutality and her daughter’s shame, “The blood of youth runs hot. The passion of an hour may mean a life’s remorse”; and Meg herself adds the fitting corollary to this, when, ten years after “the Great War,” she meets again the father of her “love child,” to whom she cries bitterly, “It’s not boyish sport to ruin girls"'. Later in the review: '[the character] Curly, a burly fellow, infinitely less a blackguard than his comrades Steve and the sinister Boney, became, after Miss Abbott’s strongly, yet sympathetically played Meg, the most popular personage in the drama on Monday as represented with both force and humour by Mr. John Johnston, who made one of the hits of the evening with the rendering of his own song, “He’s my Pal,” addressed, to a splendid and most intelligent bull-terrier, that performed all sorts of tricks. A favourite also was clever little Miss Nellie Crowther, who, as Tommy, the “Love-Child,” acted and sang with great spirit as the soldier-boy and toy-soldier-loving chip of the old block. The play certainly bears some sort of twisted-round resemblance to “Oliver Twist,” for, besides Meg and Steve being something like Nancy and Bill Sikes, Tommy might have been put to the same base purposes as little Oliver had not his mother allowed him to be adopted by the childless Lady Rose Kingdon, to save him from the clutches of the crooks. Further, old Huxter makes some amends for a mis-spent life by giving information again to the police, and thus meeting his death by being hurled over the barristers, in act four, by Steve and Boney, in order to prevent the child coming to harm ... The “comic relief” of the play turns in somewhat Gilbertian fashion on the supposed scarcity of men in 1924, this alleged result of the War being ill imagined by Miss Abbott to lead to an elderly butler Portal being, as the only man servant in the Kingdon establishment, run after by Sophy, the footwoman, Hannah, the female chef, and Jane, the page girl, and finally disappointing them all by accepting the hand – and money – of Flint, the chauffeur and “plain woman.” The scenes in which these characters appear are broadly humorous, and were treated as such, by that experienced comedian, Mr. Edwin Keene, who also rendered “My Pretty Jane” effectively; Miss Esther Carthew; and Misses Marguerite Cryer, Maron Holly, and Gladys Beatrice, who wore natty and becoming blue uniforms ... The Love Child ought to meet with decided success on tour’.
5 Jul 1915 Palace Theatre, BatterseaProfessional
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Advertisements inserted by Ernest R. Abbott in The Stage, 1 and 8 July 1915, seeking theatres for 'The Love Child', give his address for this week as the Palace, Battersea.
12 Jul 1915 Hippodrome, SalfordProfessional
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‘“The Love Child,” an extremely interesting story by Ada G. Abbott, is well told by a strong company at the Salford Hippodrome. It would be difficult to speak too highly of the admirable efforts of Ernest R. Abbott’s clever company, who earn unstinted applause’ (Manchester Evening News, 13 July 1915). ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company present The Love Child here [the Royal Hippodrome, Salford]. Miss Ada Abbott’s Meg Huxter is a fine study, and Mr. Abbott is seen to advantage as Ben Huxter, the dissolute father of Meg. The rest of the parts are well played’ (The Stage, 15 July 1915).
19 Jul 1915 Osborne Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
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‘“The Love Child” is impressively played at the Osborne by Ernest R. Abbott’s company, and the telling scenes are exceedingly well presented, Miss Ada Abbott being a prominent figure’. Manchester Evening News, 20 July 1915.
26 Jul 1915 Theatre Royal, ScarboroughProfessional
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The Stage, 22 July 1915, listed Ernest R. Abbott as On Tour from both 26 July and 2 August at the Royal, Scarborough. However, a review in The Stage, 5 August 1915, suggests his company was performing only in the second of those weeks: ‘Monday saw the re-opening of the dramatic season at this popular house [the Royal, Scarborough]. A large audience assembled to witness Mr. and Miss Ada Abbott’s well-selected company in an admirable presentation of The Love Child. The drama is a wholesome, interesting work. The performance went with commendable smoothness. The company comprise Messrs John Johnston (Curley), Ernest R. Abbott (Ben Huxter), Frank Kelland (Lord Kingdon), Philip Layton (Rev. Peter Cordiner), Edward Keene (Butler), Alfred Harvey and Davis Brown (Crooks), Misses Glory Kelland (Lady Rose), Nellie Crowther (the Love Child), and others’.
9 Aug 1915 Hippodrome, MexboroughProfessional
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An advertisement inserted by Ernest R. Abbott in The Era, 11 August 1915, seeking theatres gave his address for this week as the Hippo., Mexborough. At this time the company seems to have been performing only The Love Child.
16 Aug 1915 Hippodrome, BatleyProfessional
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The Stage, 12 and 19 August 1915, listed Ernest R. Abbott as On Tour from 16 August at the Hippo., Batley. At this time the company seems to have been performing only The Love Child.
23 Aug 1915 Theatre Royal, JarrowProfessional
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‘This week Mr. Ernest R. Abbott and company, which includes Miss Ada Abbott, have been appearing with success in “The Love Child”. The prologue is dated September last year. In it the audience are introduced to the principal character. Mr. Abbott appears as Ben Huxter; Miss Annie Morgan as Emily Huxter, his wife; Mr. John Johnston as “Curly” Saunders; and Miss Ada Abbott as Meg Huxter. Ten years are supposed to elapse between the prologue and the drama. The man who betrayed Meg has not been seen and she has fallen in the social scale, becoming a victim to drink, but through it all her love for the nameless child is strong. Miss Ada Abbott’s reading of the part of Meg, the unmarried mother, is splendid. She carries the audience with her from start to finish. Miss Glory Kelland takes the part Lady Rose Kingdon, the childless wife, with great ability. She adopts Meg’s little son but does not know that her husband is his father. Meg, out of gratitude for Lady Rose’s kindness, will not tell her. Mr. Frank Kelland takes the part of Lord Kingdon. He it was who met Meg before going to the war. They meet after he is married and she exposes his wrongdoing. He makes what reparation he can. He will not part with his child, but keeps the guilty secret from his wife. Mr. Philip Layton makes a capital clergyman as the Rev. Peter Cordiner, Lord Kingdon’s uncle. He devotes his life to doing all the good he can among the poor, and it is through him that Meg’s child is adopted. Miss Agnes Kingston as the Dowager Lady Kingdon takes the part with great success. She is a lady of society and upholds its rules and decrees. Miss Nellie Crowther is particularly good as Tommy, the love child. He is devotedly attached to his mother, and will not leave her until she forces him to go. The part is acted to the life. Mr. John Johnston as “Curly” Saunders is very good. He defends Meg and in the end wins her for himself. He is warmly applauded for his song, “My Pal.” His dog is an intelligent animal and does his part with great success. Mr. W. H. Davis-Brown as Boney and Mr. Alfred Harvey as Steve, two crooks, are very good, Mr. E. R. Abbott taking the part of Ben Huxter, the nark, who gives the crooks away. A great deal of amusement is created by Miss Ethel Carthew as Marion, the housekeeper. The lady takes the part with great success, and the audience enjoy the punishment she meets out to the butler. Mr. Edwin Keene takes the part of Portal, the butler, who carries on a flirtation with the housemaid whilst courting the housekeeper. Miss Marion Holly as Eliza is very amusing. The play is beautifully staged and the artistes have been heartily applauded’. Jarrow Express, 27 August 1915.
11 Oct 1915 Theatre Royal, OldhamProfessional
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‘The Love Child is the interesting drama presented at this popular theatre [Royal, Oldham]. In a prologue and five scenes much hard work is accomplished by the artists, and with Ernest R. Abbott as Ben Huxter a good send-off is secured. He presents his part with ease and skill, whilst as Meg Huxter Ada M. [sic] Abbott (the authoress) is excellent. Glory Kelland as Lady Rose satisfies the house, as does also Frank Kelland as her husband’. The Stage, 14 October 1915.
18 Oct 1915 Theatre Royal, AstonProfessional
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‘Aston Theatre Royal. Ernest R. Abbott’s company occupies the boards at the Aston Royal this week in the play “The Love Child,” which is from the pen of Miss Ada G. Abbott, a well-known artist. It is a comparatively new production, and runs through a prologue and five scenes, the interest being sustained until the end. The military man is in evidence, and the whole of the principal artists have been well chosen for their respective parts. Miss Ada Abbott, in the role of Meg Hunter, the unmarried mother, has made a careful study of the part, which she portrays admirably. Mr. John Johnston was seen to advantage as “Curly” Saunders' (Evening Despatch, 19 October 1915). ‘In a prologue and five scenes the story is told of “The Love Child,” at the Aston Theatre Royal this week, and last night it proved a big attraction. The play is written by Miss Ada Abbott, and is presented by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company, with Miss Abbott in the principal part of Meg. There is a good spice of militarism in this production, and many exciting incidents, which appealed to the audience Mr. John Johnston as “Curly” Saunders takes the principal male part with success, and the other characters are well sustained’ (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 19 October 1915).
25 Oct 1915 Theatre Royal, SmethwickProfessional
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‘This week at the Smethwick Royal, Mr. Ernest Abbott’s company give a capital performance of “The Love Child.” Miss Ada Abbott could not be improved upon in her portrayal of Meg Huxter, the heroine. The whole of the parts are well sustained, and Miss Nellie Crowther was admirable in the title role’. Birmingham Daily Gazette and the Evening Despatch, 26 October 1915.
1 Nov 1915 Elephant and Castle Theatre, LondonProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s in this interesting play [The Love Child] is doing exceedingly well here [the Elephant and Castle] this week. Miss Ada Abbott is most convincing in the leading part of Meg Huxter. Mr. Frank Kelland as Lord Kingdom [sic] and Mr. John Johnston as Curly Saunders were both excellent; and Mr Herbert Barrs and Mr. W. H. Davis Brown as the two Crooks were smart in their respective rôles. A word of praise is due to Miss Millie [sic - Nellie] Crowther for her clever impersonation of Tommy. The comedy of Miss Marion Holly as Eliza and Mr. Edwin Keene as the Butler was much enjoyed; and Miss Agnes Kingston was good as the aristocratic Lady Kingdom [sic - Kingdon]’. The Era, 3 November 1915.
29 Nov 1915 Lyric, HammersmithProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company are providing a good entertainment with The Love Child here [Lyric, Hammersmith] this week. The pathos and humour appeal greatly to the audience, and the play is a great attraction. Mr. John Johnston is capital as Curly Saunders, and his act with a fine bull terrier, is well worth seeing. Miss Ada Abbott the authoress, as Meg the unmarried mother, plays the part very sympathetically. As Eliza, Miss Marion Holley causes laughter. Tommy, the love child, is very sweetly played by Miss Nellie Crowther. As Lady Rose Kingdon, Miss Glory Kelland acts very nicely, and so does Miss Agnes Kingston as the Dowager Lady Kingdon. Mr. Philip Layton as the Rev. Peter Cordiner makes the part stand out; he delivers his lines well, and is to be congratulated. The Steve Warden of Mr. Herbert Barrs and the Boney of Mr. W. H. Davis Brown are very good. Others in the cast are Miss Annie Morgan as Mrs. Huxter, Miss Mary Deane as Mrs. Warden, Mr. Frank Kelland as Lord Kingdon, Mr. Edwin Keene as Portal, and Miss Esther Carthew as Manx. There will be an “illuminated matinée” to-day ( Thursday) at 2.30’. The Stage, 2 December 1915.
27 Dec 1915 Theatre Royal, StratfordProfessional
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The Stage, 23 December 1915, listed Neither Wife Nor Maid as On Tour from 27 December at the Royal, Stratford. ‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid” is being played at the Theatre Royal, Stratford, Matinee, to-morrow, at 2’ (The People, 26 December 1915).
10 Jan 1916 Princes Theatre, BlackburnProfessional
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‘Neither Wife Nor Maid is presented here [Prince's, Blackburn] by a first-rate company. The authoress, Ada G. Abbott, as Meg, J. Johnston as Curly Saunders, F. Kellard as Lord Kingdon, and H. Barrs as Steve are among the principals’. The Stage, 13 January 1916.
17 Jan 1916 Royal Theatre and Opera House, LeighProfessional
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‘Ernest R. Abbott’s company are here [Royal Opera House, Leigh] in the drama, Neither Wife Nor Maid. The authoress, Ada G. Abbott, plays with dramatic skill and judgement as Meg. John Johnston gives an excellent character study of Curley Saunders. Lord Kingdon is capably represented by Frank Kelland. Herbert Barrs acts with skill as Steve Warden. Philip Layton is natural as the Rev. Peter Cordiner. Glory Kelland admirably sustains the part of Lady Kingdon. Nellie Crowther acts cleverly as Tommy. Agnes Kingston make a dignified Dowager Lady Kingdon. Marion Holly is quaintly humorous as Eliza’. The Stage, 20 January 1916.
7 Feb 1916 Pavilion, WishawProfessional
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The Wishaw Press, Friday 4 February 1916, advertised Ernest R. Abbott’s company in Neither Wife Nor Maid at the Wishaw Pavilion on Monday-Wednesday in the following week, with Sapho being played on Thursday-Saturday. ‘The stormy weather experienced in the beginning of the week only slightly affected the size of the house at the Pavilion, where Ernest R. Abbot’s dramatic company were giving splendid performances of the powerful drama, “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’ (Wishaw Press, 11 February 1916).
7 Feb 1916 Theatre Royal, SunderlandProfessional
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‘The many people who went to the Theatre Royal last night did so expecting to see something out of the ordinary run of drama: at least those who had seen other plays by Miss Ada G. Abbott did so. And they were not disappointed. for this latest play, Neither Wife - Nor Maid,” from this lady’s pen, is the best she has written. Many excellent stage sermons are delivered, but none of them overdrawn; in fact, it is the lifelike character of the whole production which makes it so enjoyable. Touches of comedy too relieve tense situations. The cast is an exceptionally strong one’. Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 8 February 1916, which in a separate advertisement showed that the production was by the resident repertoire company led by Albert Sember.
14 Feb 1916 Grand Theatre, Stockton-on-TeesProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife - Nor Maid” had an excellent reception, which was quite deserved, at this theatre [the Grand Theatre, Stockton] last evening, when Mr E R. Abbott’s company gave an excellent exposition of an interesting drama. It was the old story told in a new way, and Miss Ada Abbott made a very good “Meg,” the poor mother, whilst equally attractive was the performance of Miss G. Kelland as “Lady Rose;” Mr John Johnson took Curly Saunders” to everyone’s satisfaction, and sang “He’s My Pal,” extremely well’. Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 15 February 1916.
21 Feb 1916 Metropole, GlasgowProfessional
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‘A new melodrama, “The Love Child,” is presented at the Metropole [Glasgow] by Mr. Ernest Abbott’s company. The piece is full of intensely interesting scenes, and throughout the prologue and the three acts the attention never wavers. A well-filled house accorded the play a splendid reception last night. Miss Ada Abbott takes the exacting part of Meg Huxter in which she is most successful. As Curly Saunders, Mr. John Johnston is all that can be desired, while his singing of “He’s my pal” wins keen appreciation. The piece is capitally staged’. Daily Record, 22 February 1916.
28 Feb 1916 Metropole Theatre, GatesheadProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott’s company advertised in The Stage, 9 March 1916, for theatres for ‘the Assured Success, “Neither Wife Nor Maid” … The Play People Talk About. The success at the Metropole, Glasgow, was repeated last week at the Metropole, Gateshead'.
3 Apr 1916 Alhambra, StourbridgeProfessional
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The Dudley Chronicle, Saturday 1 April 1916, advertised at the Alhambra, Stourbridge, for Monday-Wednesday and Saturday of the following week ‘Ernest R. Abbott’s Well-known and Old-established Company’ in Neither Wife Nor Maid, ‘An Entirely New and Original Drama’. Sapho would be played on Thursday and Friday.
3 Apr 1916 Theatre Royal, MiddlesbroughProfessional
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‘E. Hill Mitchelson’s Royal stock company are this week drawing crowded houses with Neither Wife nor Maid. Violet Carlyle impersonates Meg Hunter [sic - Huxter] with effect, whilst the callous Steve Warden is depicted with rare skill by Fred Maxwell. Lord Kingdom [sic - Kingdon] is cleverly depicted by Stanley W. Healey, and J. O. Cuthbertson vividly depicts Curley Saunders. Lady Kingdom [sic - Kingdon] has a painstaking exponent in Rosabella Dodd, and Tina Langlois (Eliza), and Ted Mooney (Portal) are responsible for numerous comical interludes. Stephen C. Venner does well as the Rev. Peter Gardiner [sic - Cordiner], and Little Lovett proves herself to be an exceptionally clever juvenile actress’. The Stage, 6 April 1916.
10 Apr 1916 Playhouse, OswestryProfessional
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‘On Monday evening Ernest R. Abbot’s company opened here [the Playhouse, Oswestry] for the week with the drama Neither Wife nor Maid, and were well received by good houses. The part of Meg was given a fine and powerful delineation at the hands of Ada Abbott. John Johnston was most successful as Curly Saunders. The child part of Tommy was feelingly and naturally played by Nellie Crowther. Sapho is also billed for this week’. The Stage, 13 April 1916.
17 Apr 1916 Victoria Theatre, KetteringProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott inserted a brief notice in The Stage, 20 April 1916: ‘Own Co. Victoria T., Kettering; next Victoria T., Kettering’. ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company presents ‘Sapho” and “Neither Wife nor Maid”’ at the Victoria Theatre, Kettering (The Era, 26 April 1916).
1 May 1916 Grand Theatre, DoncasterProfessional
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The Era, 3 May 1916, listed Neither Wife Nor Maid as On The Road from 1 May at the Grand, Doncaster.
8 May 1916 Theatre Royal, South ShieldsProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid,” which is being acted at the Theatre Royal, South Shields this week, is a play that grips the interest at the very outset, which never slackens till the end of the final scene. The central figure is Meg Huxter, a poor but ambitious girl in the position of barmaid, who rejects the love of “Curly” Sanders, a man in her own class of life, to be led astray by an officer, who after deceiving her joins his regiment, and is afterwards wrongly supposed to have fallen in action. Ten years are supposed to have elapsed when we make the acquaintance of a boy, the son of the army officer and Meg Huxter. His mother has passed through dire straits, and has taken up with Steve Warden, a burglar and ruffian. The bright boy attracts the favourable attention of Lady Rose Kingdon, a childless wife, who eventually prevails upon the poor mother to allow her to adopt him. Hereafter, Tommy is seen in wealthy surroundings, and the manner in which he acquits himself is a leading feature in the play. “Curly” Sanders, who has been doing “time” for knocking out a policeman, figures prominently as the defender of the discarded mother, and who had endeavoured to win her affections in happier days, and protects her against the brutalities of Steve Warden, the crook, and his mate, “Boney.” Nothing could be finer than the way in which Mr John Johnston fills the part of “Curly” Sanders, the hero of the piece. He captivates the audience first as the would-be sweetheart of Meg, and later as the staunch friend of the mother and her boy. One particularly fine scene is when he sings “He’s My Pal,” and introduces his dog, a highly intelligent animal, that comes in for his full share of applause. In the role of the heroine Miss Ada Abbott acts with much power, while little Miss Nellie Crowther is delightful as the boy Tommy. Mr Herbert Barrs hits off Steve Warden, who is of the Bill Sykes’ order, in a way that marks him as an actor of a very competent kind indeed. Miss Glory Kelland gives a most charming representation of Lady Rose Kingdon, the foster mother of the boy, and as the Dowager Lady Kingdon, Miss Agnes Kingston shows to especial advantage. The part of Eliza, the housemaid, is excellently accounted for by Miss Marion Holly, and creates the great hilarity, while much is to be said for Mr Edward Keene, as Portal the butler, as a comedian, and Miss Esther Carthew as Manx, the housekeeper’. Shields Daily Gazette, 9 May 1916.
22 May 1916 Alexandra Theatre, BirminghamProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife nor Maid,” or the story of a mother who sells her child to prevent him becoming a thief, is a strong domestic drama with a war flavour. Mr. E. R. Abbott’s company, which is responsible for its production twice nightly at the Alexandra Theatre, is a well-balanced one. The outstanding feature is undoubtedly the excellent work of Miss Ada Abbott, while she receives good support from Miss Nellie Crowther (Tommy), Miss Glory Kelland, and Messrs. F. Kelland and H. Barrs’ (Evening Despatch, 23 May 1916). ‘Miss Ada G. Abbott’s play, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” which is being presented at the Alexandra Theatre this week, tells the old, old story of a girl who stoops to folly, and pays the penalty thereof. Deserted by her betrayer, she leads a miserable life as the companion of a brute who thrashes her on the slightest pretext. The one bright ray in her existence is the love of her little son, and there is quite a powerful and pathetic scene when she decides to part with him to permit of his adoption by a lady who, curiously enough, is the wife of the betrayer. Deprived her child, Meg Huxter seems destined to sink lower and lower, but fortunately her old sweetheart, whose honest love she has discarded for that of the “fine gentleman,” turns up, and the curtain is rung down on a happy ending. The pathos of the play made a strong appeal to last night’s audience, and its reception augurs well for its success. The piece was admirably played by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company, Miss Ada Abbott being excellent in the part of the heroine, Meg Huxter. Excellent, too, was the acting of Mr. John Johnston as “Curly” Saunders, Meg’s old sweetheart, whilst his song about his bull terrier was much appreciated. A word of praise, too, is due to Miss Nellie Crowther who appears as Tommy, Meg’s little son’ (Birmingham Mail, 23 May 1916). ‘“So you’ve decided to have your fine gentleman, but take care that he puts one of these (producing a wedding ring) your finger.” Unfortunately Meg Huxter neglected this excellent advice. The fine gentleman, otherwise an officer, marched off to the tune of “The girl I left behind me,” and Meg was left, “Neither Wife nor Maid.” The drama bearing this title, which Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s Company is producing at the Alexandra Theatre this week, begins with an up-to-date military flavour, and ends at a period put ten years hence. The story of Meg’s life after her betrayal is one which is told with the simple directness of the drama beloved by patrons of this house. The colour is laid on with a lavish hand, humour follows quickly upon the heels of pathos, and life is depicted in series of the sharpest contrasts. It would not be fair to tell exactly how all the loose ends are brought together, and a final curtain reached in which the suffering heroine is rewarded with a moderated felicity. Sufficient to say, she is reserved for happy years with the faithful lover whom in the first act - or rather the prologue - she had foolishly rejected. Miss Ada Abbott, the authoress of the play, does well in the leading character, and most of the others satisfy expectations’ (Birmingham Daily Post, 23 May 1916).
22 May 1916 Palace Theatre, GloucesterProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife nor Maid,” the title of the play which is being acted at the Palace Theatre during the present week, is one suggestive of a state which is scarcely a fitting subject for recreative contemplation. The title of the piece is a true indication of its trend, for there is depicted a woman who has been enamoured of a man in a higher social sphere and who has fallen from the right path. The tale unfolded chiefly concerns the troubles, dangers, and temptations which befall this misguided girl, who eventually sinks to the lowest depths of poverty, vice, and shame. She becomes the drunken and abused drudge of a thief who offered her shelter, such as it was, at a time when she was starving. Her little son, who is shown amidst surroundings of the worst possible kind, is ultimately adopted by a rich lady and her husband. The girl goes to see her boy and makes the tragic discovery that the lad’s foster father is his rightful parent. The story ends with the capture of the thief and the marriage of the girl with a man who had loved her, was faithful, and forgave. Although the theme is a sordid one and depicts that seamy side of life which is better left to smoulder in its natural surroundings, the acting of the principals is splendid, and is worthy a healthier subject. Miss Nina Blake Adams is able in the name part and gives what one would imagine to be a striking portrayal of the abandoned woman. Mr. Morton Powell, who appears as the thief, gives a vivid and vigorous representation of the blackguard, while Mr. Walter H. Wilson wins applause as the character who brings calm and protection to the heroine. Mr. Horace Lionel as the original offender is capable, as also is Miss Flora Leslie as the lady who adopts the child. Little Miss Gladys Brittan as “Tommy” is a favourite. Mr. Sammy Foster and Miss Lottie Kendal are perhaps even more comical than ever, and relieve in a most successful manner the heavy parts of the play’ (Gloucester Journal, 27 May 1916). ‘At the Palace this week the Morton Powell Repertoire Company present a domestic drama entitled “Neither Wife nor Maid,” by Ada Abbott, its descriptive title circling round a dark page of the heroine’s history and her descent into the lowest depths of squalor and misery. In her pitiable plight the only person to give her shelter is a disreputable thief, who makes her his much abused drudge. Her child is adopted eventually by a rich lady, and on going to see him she recognises that the husband is not the foster parent but the real father of her son. Later on she meets a former lover, who has been faithful to her and her past forgiven she is happily married. Miss Nina Blake Adams strikingly portrays the heroine, and Mr. Morton Powell does equally well in the heavy part. Mr. Walter H. Wilson seen to advantage in the part of the faithful swain, and Mr. Sammy Foster and Miss Lottie Kendall much to enlighten the sombre parts’ (Gloucestershire Chronicle, 27 May 1916).
29 May 1916 Dalston Theatre, DalstonProfessional
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‘The capital war drama, “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” will be presented at the Dalston Theatre next week, with Miss Ada Abbott playing the leading part. This lady is well known to Dalston audiences, having played “Sapho” many times in this district’. East London Observer, 27 May 1916. A notice in The Era, 7 June 1916, shows that Ernest R. Abbott’s company was performing Sapho at the Dalston Theatre in the week 5-10 May 1916.
12 Jun 1916 Grand, HartlepoolProfessional
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The Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, 9 June 1916, advertised for next week at the Grand Theatre Stanley Rogers’ stock company in ‘The Successful Domestic Drama, “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’.
19 Jun 1916 Prince's Theatre, PortsmouthProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid,” an entirely new and original play, presented by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott, drew crowded houses to the Prince’s Theatre, Lake-road, last night. The story is told in five beautiful scenes. Miss Ada Abbott, as “Meg,” the poor little mother, was very fine, as also was Mr. Frank Kelland as Lord Kingdon’ (Portsmouth Evening News, 20 June 1916). ‘Crowded houses are being attracted here [Prince’s, Portsmouth] by Neither Wife nor Maid, presented by Ernest R. Abbott. Ada Abbott, the authoress, as Meg, is very fine, acting with much skill and feeling. Frank Kelland wins much applause for his Lord Kingdon. All the other parts are well sustained’ (The Stage, 22 June 1916). ‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid” … has proved a strong attraction this week’ ( Hampshire Telegraph, 23 June 1916).
24 Jul 1916 Empire, Garston, LiverpoolProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company present “Neither Wife nor Maid,” a drama which cannot fail to secure attention. It was well received last night [at the Garston Empire]. Miss Ada Abbott and Mr. John Johnston are the leading performers. To-morrow (Wednesday), and two successive nights, “Sapho” will be produced’ (Liverpool Echo, 25 July 1916). At the Garston Empire ‘we are having a visit from Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company, who are giving twice nightly “Neither Wife, Nor Maid” and “ Sapho.” Among the exponents are Miss Ada Abbott (as Meg and Sapho), and Messrs. John Johnston, Herbert Barrs, Chas. M. Julian, Edwin Keene, Edward Fryer, and Henry Philips’ (The Era, 26 July 1916).
4 Sep 1916 Grand Theatre, FalkirkProfessional
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‘The test of a play is its power to keep the audience interested all through its presentation, and that quality is contained in the play “Neither Wife - Nor Maid,” which is the main constituent of the programme submitted at the Falkirk Grand Theatre this week. The story is interesting, and it deals with strong human emotions, which chiefly centre in the character of Meg Huxter, the “woman who pays.” The exacting part is admirably interpreted by Miss Ada Abbott, who shows much power, made all the more telling by restraint. The emotions and character of the sorely-tried woman are brought out with sympathy and skill. The other leading part, that of the rough-diamond “Curly Saunders’” is in the thoroughly capable hands of Mr John Johnson. The character is a likeable one in itself, and Mr Johnson brings this out to the best possible advantage. He introduces a novel interlude, in which he is ably assisted by the subject of his song, “He’s My Pal” - a clever dog. Altogether the play, the title of which indicates the main foundation of the plot, possesses in large measure the elements of success; it has a strong appeal, it has a topical application, and is capably presented. Variety is given to the entertainment in acceptable form by the cinema. “The Home Breakers,” a Keystone production, commands laughter throughout its two parts, and, in the particular Keystone vein, the humour is very enjoyable. Topical events are shown in the Gaumont Graphic, which, as usual, is an attractive feature'. Falkirk Herald, Saturday 9 September 1916.
2 Oct 1916 Playhouse, OswestryProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott inserted a brief notice in The Stage, 5 October 1916 giving his current address as the Playhouse, Oswestry. His company was performing Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho according to a brief notice in The Era, 4 October 1916.
20 Nov 1916 Theatre Royal, JarrowProfessional
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The Jarrow Express, 17 November 1916, advertised from Monday 20 November at the Theatre Royal, Jarrow, the ‘Important Engagement of Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s well-known and old-established company’ in Neither Wife Nor Maid (Mon-wed and Sat, 20-22 and 25 November) and Sapho (Thurs-Fri, 23 and 24 November). ‘This week Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company have been appearing with success in two plays at the Theatre. For the first three nights “Neither Wife nor Maid” was played. The prologue is placed in 1914 and the subsequent play ten years later. Miss Ada Abbott takes the part of Meg Huxter, the deserted woman. She has two sweethearts. One leaves her but the other remains true to her through all her trials. In the drama she is seen as a lost woman with only one thought, and that the welfare of her little son. Mr. Herbert Barrs appears as Steve Warden, a burglar, who has Meg in his power. He ill-treats her, but her old sweetheart comes on the scene and protects her. The man who deserted her also appears on the scene. Mr. Cecil Gray as Curly Saunders is very good. He is the one true friend that Meg has in her trouble, and when she is freed from Huxter’s [sic] power Curly makes her his wife. Mr. Edward Fryer as the Rev. Peter Cordiner is particularly good. It is through his instrumentality that Meg’s child finds a good home, and also brings him face to face with the man who deserted her, although the good friend did not know anything about it. Mr. Nero Nickola takes the part of Lord Kingdon, the man who deserted Meg. He goes to the war and gets wounded, and tells Meg afterwards he could not find her. Curly is his servant and saves his life on two occasions. Miss Agnes Kingston takes the part of the Dowager Lady Kingdon, whose son is the man that has caused Meg all her trouble. Miss Glory Kelland is particularly good as Lady Rose Kingdon. the childless wife. She it is who takes Meg’s child, little Tommy, to bring up as her own. She does not know that her husband is the boy’s father, and she is never told. Her sympathy for Meg in her trouble causes the secret to be withheld. Miss Nellie Crowther takes the part of Tommy with success. The lighter side of the play is in the able hands of Miss Isabel Singleton as Manx, the housekeeper; Miss Marion Holly as Eliza, the housemaid; and Mr. Edwin Keene as Postal, the butler. Last night “Sapho” was played. This piece will be given again to-night, and to-morrow night (Saturday) “Neither Wife nor Maid” will be presented’. Jarrow Express, 24 November 1916.
20 Nov 1916 Her Majesty's, WalsallProfessional
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‘The person who has the selection of the plays which the Repertory Company present happened upon a remarkably good thing when he found “Neither Wife nor Maid,” the play by Ada C. Abbott, which has delighted all who have visited Her Majesty’s this week. It is, perhaps, the most striking of the new productions which have been soon here. There is nothing ridiculously sensational and improbable about the story, but it is nevertheless full of thrills, and so far as the purely dramatic side, at any rate, is concerned, it never relaxes its grip upon the attention of the audience. It is human, and its characters are human; and therein doubtless lies the secret of its appeal. The central figure, Meg, illustrates a type which must be common enough in the big town and cities - the woman who loves and loses because there is no bond, who in despair allows herself to sink lower and lower, accepting the protection of a criminal and bully, giving way to drink, until all the better nature, except her love for her child, are dead. The father of her boy, Tommy, was an officer, supposed to have fallen in the great war (the story is laid in the year 1924), and to save him from becoming the thief her partner, a modern Bill Sykes, would make him, she rends her own heart by allowing him to be adopted by the childless wife of a wealthy peer. Unable to bear the separation she goes to reclaim him, and discovers in Lord Kingdon, the boy’s father. Her intention to expose him to his wife is frustrated by the latter’s kindness. Returning home she is threatened with the fate suffered by Nancy at the hands of Sykes because she has been accused of giving her paramour away to the police, but she is rescued by past and present lovers in the persons of Lord Kingdon and Curly Saunders, and passes into the keeping the latter, who legalises the union with the little band of gold which she has hitherto sought in vain. In the principal part Miss Ada M. Ryder is responsible for some of the best work she has done at Her Majesty’s. A feature of the day is the clever acting of little Muriel Bland, who as the naive, lovable Tommy, charms everyone. Mr. Stuart Lomath, as the bully; Miss Jennie Stevens, as Lady Kingdon; Mr. John B. Shinton, as Curly; and Mr. Jack McCaig, as Lord Kingdon: all have a big share in the success of the play; while the smaller parts are ably handled by Mr. Jack Bland, Mr. C. Alan Hineson, Mr. H. Kenneth Barton, Miss Marie Thorne, Mr. Fred. Blake, Miss Poppy Lytton, and Miss Ellen Owen. What an excellent memory of voices patrons of Her Majesty’s have, was illustrated in the case of Mr. “Mickey” Hineson. He made his first appearance to a silent house, but directly he spoke there was an outburst of welcoming applause’. Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle, 25 November 1916.
27 Nov 1916 Royalty, Barrow-in-FurnessProfessional
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At the Royalty Theatre, Barrow, ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott presents “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Era, 29 November 1916.
12 Feb 1917 Theatre Royal, Great YarmouthProfessional
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The Yarmouth Independent, 10 February 1917, advertised at the Theatre Royal, Great Yarmouth, for six nights from Monday 12 February the Morton Powell Repertory Company will present an entirely new and original play, in a prologue and 3 Acts, entitled:- “Neither Wife Nor Maid” by Ada Grace Abbott. Mr. F. B. Woulfe as “Curly Saunders.” Miss Ada Oakley as “Meg Huxter”’. ‘A new play of the problem type, entitled “Neither Wife nor Maid,” is the attraction this week. Miss Ada Oakley gives a natural and sympathetic rendition of the role of Meg Huxter and Mr. F. B. Woulfe enacts the part of Curly Saunders with excellent effect Mr. Thomson scores as Lord Kingdon and Miss Edith Lorrain as Lady Kingdon. Comedy is supplied by Mr. Fred Rignold, Mr. Templar Ellis and Miss Lottie Kendall’ (Yarmouth Independent, 17 February 1917).
19 Feb 1917 Grand, BrightonProfessional
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‘This week “Neither Wife Nor Maid” is being presented by Ernest R. Abbott’s company, with Ada Abbott, the authoress in the leading rôle. That lady is ably supported by Herbert Barrs (Steve Warden), W. H. Davis-Brown (“Boney”), Cecil Gray (Curley Saunders), Ernest Ryder (Lord Kingdon), James Thompson (the Rev. Peter Cordiner), Grace Stafford (Lady Kingdon), Agnes Kingston (the Dowager Lady Kingdon), Nellie Crowther (Tommy), Marion Holly (Eliza), Edward Keene (Portal), and Isabel Singleton (the housekeeper’. The Stage, 22 February 1917. Also The Era, 21 February 1917.
12 Mar 1917 Alexandra Theatre, HullProfessional
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‘The drama offered here [the Alexandra Theatre] during the current week has the title, which sufficiently indicates a good part of its story, “Neither Wife nor Maid.’’ Of its kind, it was a very good example, and the audience was by no means slow to take up the points scored, and applaud to the echo those they approved. The scenic background is London, and the social contrasts depicted are vivid. The authoress herself is in the name part, and acts with considerable feeling and skill, while as Sanderson [sic- Curly Saunders] Mr Cecil Gray missed no opportunities’. Hull Daily Mail, 13 March 1917.
9 Apr 1917 Queen's Theatre, LeedsProfessional
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‘The holiday attraction at the Queen’s Theatre is Mr. Ernest R. Abbot’s excellent company, who for the first half of the week present a new and domestic drama, entitled “Neither Wife nor Maid.” Although there is a fair sprinkling of the comedy element, it is not a pleasant story, although yesterday’s audience found no fault. Miss Ada Abbott, the author, cleverly acts the part of Meg Huxter, and Miss Nellie Crowther plays Tommy precocious little Cockney’ (Yorkshire Evening Post, 10 April 1917). ‘Packed houses assembled at all three performances yesterday at the Queen’s Theatre, where the attraction was Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company in a play new to Leeds, entitled, “Neither Wife Nor Maid.” The piece revolves around the trials and sufferings endured by a young unmarried mother, who spends many years as the dupe of a gang of “crooks.” Driven to desperation, she disposes of her child for a sum of money to a wealthy lady, whose husband turns out to its own father. The bulk of the work falls upon the authoress, Miss Ada Abbott, who cleverly sustains the role of the unmarried mother, other prominent members of the company including Mr. Cecil Gray, Mr. Yves Renaud, Miss Nellie Crowther, and Miss Grace Stafford. At to-morrow’s matinee, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the well-known play, “ Sapho,” is to be presented’ (Leeds Mercury, 10 April 1917).
30 Apr 1917 Metropole, GlasgowProfessional
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The Daily Record, 30 April 1917, advertised the second and last week of 'Ernest R. Abbott’s well-known and old-established Company, including the Charming Actress, Miss Ada Abbott, in an entirely New and Original Play, in a Prologue and 3 Acts, “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’.
7 May 1917 Hippodrome, HamiltonProfessional
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'Two dramas are being staged at the Hamilton Hippodrome this week way of a change. The company responsible for them is Mr Ernest Abbot’s, who make their first appearance in Hamilton, and score a success which should ensure a welcome at any future date. On Monday and Tuesday there was produced a powerful play, entitled “Neither Wife nor Maid,” while Wednesday and the two succeeding nights Daudet’s masterpiece, the remarkable Parisienne drama, entitled “Sapho,” was put on the stage. The former of these will be produced to-night, and from the very excellent and original setting of the play, apart from the cleverness which marks the acting of the principals, lovers of the drama are assured of a capital and altogether interesting programme. The outstanding artiste in the cast is Miss Ada Abbott, who plays the part of “Meg,” the poor little mother, in a manner which shows her an able exponent of the histrionic art. “Tommy” is another of the characters which the audience thoroughly appreciate - a most precocious youngster filling true part. The male characters are all cleverly portrayed - the protectors the weak, the crooks who are out for blood every turn, the society ladies who seek to make things brighter for less fortunate individuals, all adapting themselves the parts in a characteristic manner. The butler and the maids provide much amusement at intervals, while the staging is much enhanced by capital and appropriate scenery’. Hamilton Advertiser, 12 May 1917.
14 May 1917 Theatre Royal, CoatbridgeProfessional
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The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser advertised on 12 May 1917 at the Theatre Royal, Coatbridge, ‘Two Splendid Attractions’: on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, May 14, 15 and 19, performances of Neither Wife Nor Maid; and on Wednesday-Friday, May 16-18, performances of Sapho. ‘On Monday evening Mr Ernest R. Abbott’s old established company appeared in the Theatre Royal with the entirely new and original drama, in a prologue, and three acts entitled “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” by Ada G. Abbott. There was a large and appreciative audience, and Mr Abbott’s popular company received a right hearty welcome back to the town of “reek.” The story opens with the beginning of the war, and the plot is a strong and powerful one. Brilliant acting is served up throughout the piece, and the hearers are thrilled beyond description. Miss Ada Abbott, as Meg, the poor little mother, figures in the leading role. She is a well-known and distinguished actress, and it is not too much to say that she plays the part to perfection. Mr Renaud as Steve Warden, a crook, fits the part like a glove, and does every manner of justice to a very unpopular character, and in his work he is ably assisted by Mr W. H. Davis Brown, as Boney, also a crook. Mr Cecil Gray, as Curly, is an excellent heavy man, and is very popular with the audience A specially clever character is that of Tommy. which is delightfully portrayed by Miss Nellie Crowther. Miss Grace Stafford, as Lady Rose Kingdom, acts the part to the very letter. All the other parts are in able hands. The piece is brilliantly staged, and better all round acting has not been seen in Coatbridge for many a day’. Coatbridge Express, 16 May 1917. Similarly in the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 19 May 1917.
18 Jun 1917 Palace Theatre, DerbyProfessional
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‘Next week lovers of wholesome drama will experience a treat from the visit, after some ten years’ absence, of Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s well-known company, who will present their latest success, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” for three nights, Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, and the play “Sapho” on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. “Neither Wife nor Maid” is a strong emotional drama, with some real good comedy’ (Derby Daily Telegraph, 16 June 1917). Neither Wife Nor Maid ‘was played with great success on Monday night. It is a thrilling emotional piece, and will please all regular visitors of the Palace, while the touch of comedy which is introduced makes a splendid background for throwing up the main theme. The story is rather intricate, but is splendidly worked out, and the finish is a very satisfactory one, while the mother’s love for her fine son cannot fail to make strong appeal’ (Derby Daily Telegraph, 19 June 1917).
25 Jun 1917 Prince's Theatre, PortsmouthProfessional
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The Hampshire Telegraph, 22 June 1917, reported that Ernest R. Abbott’s company would perform Neither Wife Nor Maid at the Prince’s Theatre next week.
13 Aug 1917 Grand Theatre, NottinghamProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid,” which was offered at the Grand Theatre last night by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s Company, is a melodramatic production by Miss Ada Abbott, who sustains the leading feminine character. Miss Abbott, an actress-authoress of skill and experience, places another success to her credit in the new play’ (Nottingham Evening Post, 14 August 1917). ‘Ernest Abbott opened [at the Grand, Nottingham] with “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” with Ada Abbott as leading lady. To-night (Thursday) Miss Abbott will appear in “Sapho”’ (The Stage, 16 August 1917).
20 Aug 1917 Theatre Royal, DewsburyProfessional
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The Stage, 22 August 1917, noted that at the Theatre Royal, Dewsbury, Ernest R. Abbott’s company would perform Neither Wife Nor Maid on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and Sapho on Thursday and Friday. ‘Tuesday night only, The Pelicans’.
27 Aug 1917 Hippodrome, HuddersfieldProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife nor Maid,” by Ada G. Abbott, which is being produced at the Hippodrome every night but Wednesday and Friday during the present week, is a new to Huddersfield. It is a sensational drama, and as performed Mr. E. R. Abbott’s company last night held the attention of the large audiences that assembled. A village girl falls in love with an army officer, whose sudden call to the front leaves her to bear alone the disgrace of their mutual wrongdoing. She drifts away into the company of thieves, but, her motherly instincts prevailing, allows her son to be adopted by a childless lady of the nobility in order that he may be saved from a career of crime. Once she regrets this step, and goes to fetch her boy. She then discovers that the husband of the lady is the officer whom she had loved in her girlhood, but sympathy for the wrong done her expressed by the lady results not only in her leaving the boy in her rare, but in her decision not to reveal the secret of the husband’s past to his wife as she at first intended. Ultimately the gang of thieves with which she is associated is broken up, and a former village lover induces her to marry him. In the exacting part of the poor little mother Miss Ada Abbott displays much ability. The power with which she brings out not only the depravity of the life she leads but the fact that even this does not deaden the instincts of true motherhood is especially noticeable. The sympathy and grace with which Miss May Romney invests the part of the lady who adopts Tommy is a particularly pleasing feature of the performance, whilst Miss Nellie Crowther plays the boy part with great success. Amongst the gentlemen Mr. Russell Norrie gives a manly impersonation of the part of the village lover, Messrs. Yocs [sic - Yves?] Renaud (a Belgian) W. H. Davis-Brown are a couple of typical stage ruffians, Mr. Edward Fryer represents the character of the young officer and lord acceptably, Mr. James Thompson is a manly parson, and Mr. Edwin Keene a portly and humorous butler. Other parts are well sustained. On Wednesday and Friday evenings “Sapho” is to be given’. Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 28 August 1917.
3 Sep 1917 Grand Theatre, HalifaxProfessional
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The Halifax Evening Courier, 3 September 1917, advertised at the Grand Theatre and Opera house Neither Wife Nor Maid on Monday-Wednesday and Saturday and Sapho on Thursday and Friday.
10 Sep 1917 Theatre Royal, BuryProfessional
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‘Mr. E. R. Abbott’s company present the drama “Neither Wife nor Maid,” Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, “Sapho.” The Era, 12 September 1917.
8 Oct 1917 Theatre Royal, South ShieldsProfessional
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The Shields Daily News, 8 October 1917, advertised at the Theatre Royal, South Shields, ‘Mr Ernest R. Abbott’s company in the new and original play:- “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Shields Daily News reviewed the play the following day but much is illegible on the British Newspaper Archive copy.
15 Oct 1917 Theatre Royal, Stanley, County DurhamProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company in “Neither Wife Nor Maid” and “Sapho”’ at the Theatre Royal, Stanley. The Era, 17 October 1917. Ernest R. Abbott’s company advertised in The Stage, 18 October 1917, ‘Two Sure Attractions’, Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho ... Opened well at Stanley on Monday, where “Neither Wife Nor Maid” had a tremendous reception’.
22 Oct 1917 Palace, NewcastleProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid” is the title of the drama produced at the Palace Theatre by Mr Ernest R. Abbott’s company, and the authoress, Miss Ada Abbott, appears in the title role, a part she plays to perfection. The play is well staged, and was warmly received by large audiences’. Newcastle Journal, 23 October 1917.
5 Nov 1917 Palace Theatre, RugeleyProfessional
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The Era, 7 November 1917, listed both Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho as On The Road from 5 November at the Palace, Rugeley.
19 Nov 1917 Theatre Royal, StratfordProfessional
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The People, 18 November1917, advertised Neither Wife Nor Maid at the Theatre Royal, Stratford, from the following Monday; and The Era, 21 November 1917, listed both Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho as On The Road from 19 November at the T.R., Stratford.
3 Dec 1917 Grand Theatre, Stockton On TeesProfessional
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The Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 4 and 6 December 1917, advertised at the Grand Theatre, Stockton, Neither Wife Nor Maid on Monday-Wednesday and Sapho on Thursday-Saturday.
10 Dec 1917 Eden Theatre, Bishop AucklandProfessional
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The Era, 12 December 1917, listed both Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho as On The Road from 10 December at the Theatre Royal, Darlington. On the other hand, when Ernest R. Abbott’s company advertised in The Stage, 13 December 1917, ‘Two Sure Attractions’, Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho: ‘Big Comedy Element in Both Plays’, Abbott himself gave his address that week as the Eden T., Bishop Auckland.
17 Dec 1917 Public Hall, RuncornProfessional
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‘Next week Mr. Ernest Abbott’s company will pay a first visit to the town, playing “Neither Wife nor Maid” on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday evenings, and the world-renowned “Sapho” on’ Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - two performances nightly. The company includes Miss Ada Abbott, who plays the leading role in both pieces. “Neither Wife nor Maid” is a modern drama dealing with a problem of the times’ (Runcorn Guardian, 14 December 1917). ‘“Neither Wife Nor Maid.” A drama of intense human interest hearing the above title is presented at the Hall part of this week by Mr. Ernest Abbott’s company. The authoress of the play, who essays the leading part in it, can be congratulated upon her work as both dramatist and actress. The plot is out of the common, and the language in which the play is couched is far above the average and by no means deficient in literary grace. The piece “grips” from the epilogue to the denouement, and no audience need ask for a production with better sustained interest. Frankly, not much in the way of real writing is expected from the average “touring drama,” and it often depends entirely upon sensational situations for its attraction. This play differs and has features that reveal the authoress to possess a deep knowledge of her sex and of human nature. There is some first-rate acting, too, although not every part is adequately treated. Miss Abbott as Meg Huxter is first class, and the “character” work of Mr. W. H. Davis-Browne and Mr. Frank Payne reaches a high level. A most promising child actress in the person of Miss Nellie Crowther is a distinct acquisition to the cast. The drama will be repeated on Tuesday and Saturday’ (Runcorn Guardian, 18 December 1917).
14 Jan 1918 Theatre Royal, LeicesterProfessional
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When Ernest R. Abbott’s company advertised in The Stage, 29 November 1917, ‘Two Sure Attractions’, Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho, he added that the company would play Neither Wife Nor Maid at the Theatre Royal, Leicester in January 1918. When Ernest R. Abbott’s company advertised in The Stage, 20 December 1917, for theatres for Neither Wife Nor Maid and Sapho, he specifically wanted a theatre for the week beginning 21 January, to follow Leicester.
4 Feb 1918 Hippodrome, ChesterfieldProfessional
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The Derbyshire Courier, 2 February 1918, advertised at the Hippodrome, Chesterfield from Monday 4 February the ‘Important Engagement of Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s old-established Company’ giving ‘Two Splendid Attractions’: on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday six performances of ‘an Entirely New and Original Drama’ Neither Wife Nor Maid’; and on Wednesday-Friday six performances of Sapho.
25 Feb 1918 Theatre Royal, DarlingtonProfessional
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At the Royal, Darlington, ‘On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Ernest R. Abbott’s company presented “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” and on the following three days “Sapho” is being performed. Ada Abbott acts the principal part in each play’. The Stage, 28 February 1918.
4 Mar 1918 Opera House, KirkcaldyProfessional
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‘From Monday till Wednesday next “Neither Wife Nor Maid” will prove the attraction at the Opera House, while for the remainder of the week “Sapho” will be produced’. Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, 2 March 1918. The play was advertised in the paper on the same day as ‘For Adults Only! … The Great Problem Play’.
18 Mar 1918 Gaiety, MethilProfessional
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The Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, 14 March 1918, advertised at the Gaiety Theatre on Monday-Wednesday, 18-20 March 1918 ‘The Great Problem Play Dealing with the Burning Question of the Day – Neither Wife Nor Maid by Ada G. Abbott. In a Prologue and Three Acts. The Play of the Moment. For Adults Only. No person under the age of 16 admitted to see this Play’. On Thursday and Saturday Ada Abbott’s The Sins Of The Rich would be played; and on Friday East Lynne. ‘A play of rather an unusual character, “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” was the attraction here during the first three nights of the week. Mr Ernest Abbott’s company was responsible for the production, and this striking version of the great problem of the times. by Miss Ada G. Abbot, received a splendid rendering. The principal honours were shared by Mr Ernest and Miss Ada Abbott. In the role of “Curly Saunders,” Mr Abbott was a powerful and striking personality, while Miss Abbots as “Meg Huxter” brought the tears to many eyes in her pathetic interpretation of the poor little mother. A popular favourite was Miss Nellie Crowther as “Tommy,” and she endeared herself to all hearts by her winning and lovable acting. Mr Edward Fryer as “Lord Kingdon” and Miss Vera Raynor as his wife were very successful in their parts, while the comedy element was ably sustained by Mr Edwin Keene and Miss Marion Holly. The supporting. members of the cast were all good in their different roles, and the drama was received with appreciation by a large audience’ (Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, 21 March 1918).
22 Apr 1918 Royal County Theatre, ReadingProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife - Nor Maid” will played in Reading next week for the first time by Mr. Ernest Abbott’s company. It is a drama of the sensational type and will be presented twice nightly at 45 and 8.45’. Reading Mercury, 20 April 1918.
22 Apr 1918 Theatre Royal, BristolProfessional
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‘“Neither Wife nor Maid,” by Ada Grace Abbott, is being played the Repertory Company this week, and it was enthusiastically received at both houses last night. The story is cleverly unfolded, and the two atmospheres, Whitechapel and Park Lane, are ingeniously blended. Miss Doris Brookes has a good part as Meg, and Miss Chapman, the producer, stepping into a gap which arose almost at the last minute, plays the well-to-do woman with marked success. Another breach is filled by E Avinal, the manager of the theatre, whose wide experience stands him good stead for such an emergency. Miss Aline Newell, Mr John Stuart, and the leading comedian all have good parts, to which full justice is done, and Miss Ruby Ray makes a splendid child hero, Tommy’. Western Daily Press, 23 April 1918.
13 May 1918 Grand Theatre, DoncasterProfessional
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The Era, 15 May 1918, noted that ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company present “Neither Wife Nor Maid” and “Sapho”’ at the Grand, Doncaster.
27 May 1918 Theatre Royal, LeighProfessional
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At the Royal, Leigh, ‘Sapho was played the early part of the week, and Neither Wife nor Maid is billed for the second part. Ernest R. Abbott’s company comprise Ernest R. Abbott, F. Cayne [sic – Payne?], E. Fryer, J. Wilson, Ada Abbott, and A. Oliver’. The Stage, 30 May 1918.
26 Aug 1918 Alhambra, StourbridgeProfessional
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The Era, 28 August 1918, noted, ‘Mr and Mrs E R Abbott’s company in “Neither Wife Nor Maid” on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and in “Sapho” on Thursday and Friday’ at the Alhambra, Stourbridge.
9 Sep 1918 Alexandra Theatre, BirminghamProfessional
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‘“The Sins of the Rich” is the title of the play at the Alexandra Theatre [next week], where those taking part will include Mr. Ernest R. Abbot [sic] and Miss Ada Abbott. On Friday evening the problem play, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” will be presented’. Birmingham Daily Post, 7 September 1918.
30 Sep 1918 Theatre Royal, North ShieldsProfessional
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The Shields Daily News, 28 September 1918 advertised next week at the Theatre Royal, North Shields, ‘A Play for Adults Only, “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’.
7 Oct 1918 Theatre Royal, JarrowProfessional
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The Jarrow Express, 4 October 1918, advertised from Monday 7 October at the Theatre Royal, Jarrow, the ‘Important Engagement of Ernest R. Abbott’s well-known and old-established Co’ in The Sins Of The Rich (Monday-Wednesday), Neither Wife Nor Maid (Thursday and Saturday) and Sapho (Friday only). ‘This week Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s Company have been appearing in a repertoire of plays … Last night “Neither Wife nor Maid” was staged, with Miss Abbott as Meg Huxter and Mr. Abbott as Curly Saunders. The piece will be performed again to-morrow night (Saturday)’ (Jarrow Express, 11 October 1918).
28 Oct 1918 Metropole, GlasgowProfessional
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‘A large audience was attracted to the Metropole, where “Sapho” is performed by a capable company. The title-role is well filled by Miss Ada Abbott … On Friday night only, a problem play, “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” will be given. Daily Record, Tuesday 29 October 1918. The Daily Record, 31 October and 1 November 1918, advertised Neither Wife Nor Maid as ‘for adults only’.
2 Dec 1918 Palace, NewcastleProfessional
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‘Ernest D. [sic] Abbott’s Company will produce “Sapho” at the Palace [next week]. Miss Ada Abbott will appear in the title role. On Friday night, a problem play, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” for adults only, will be staged’ (Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 30 November 1918). At the Palace ‘On Friday night only the play, “ Neither Wife Nor Maid,” for adults of 16 and over, will be staged’ (Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 3 December 1918).
27 Jan 1919 Theatre Royal, LiverpoolProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott's usual ‘theatres wanted’ advertisement for Neither Wife Nor Maid, Sapho and The Sins Of The Rich in The Stage, 6 February 1919, mentioned that Neither Wife Nor Maid ‘paid its first visit to Liverpool Jan 27. A record week at the T.R.’.
17 Mar 1919 Hippodrome, CannockProfessional
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‘During the week [at the Hippodrome, Cannock] Ernest R. Abbott’s capable company, headed by him and Ada G. Abbott, are presenting “Neither Wife nor Maid,” "Sapho,” and “Passions”’. The Stage, 20 March 1919.
31 Mar 1919 Theatre Royal, LeicesterProfessional
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‘A return visit is being filled here [Theatre Royal, Leicester] this week by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company in “Sapho,” with Miss Ada Abbott in the name-part, supported by a most capable company. On Friday evening “Neither Wife Nor Maid” is underlined for presentation. The company is meeting with their usual hearty reception’. The Stage, 2 April 1919.
7 Apr 1919 King's Hall, HorshamProfessional
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The West Sussex County Times, 5 April 1919, advertised at the King’s Hall, Horsham, in the week beginning 7 April, The Passions on Monday and Tuesday, Sapho on Wednesday and Thursday and ‘the Great Problem Play’ Neither Wife Nor Maid on Friday and Saturday.
21 Apr 1919 Hippodrome, BilstonProfessional
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‘As a holiday attraction [at the Hippodrome, Bilston] we have Ernest R. Abbott s company, who are presenting "The Passions" and “Neither Wife Nor Maid.” The chief parts are sustained by John Johnstone, K. Fenton Wingate, Edward Chester, W. H. Davis Brown, Ada Abbott, and Isabel Singleton’. The Stage, 24 April 1919.
19 May 1919 Metropole, BootleProfessional
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At the Metropole, Bootle ‘Ernest R. Abbott's company stage “Neither Wife Nor Maid.” Ada Abbott gives a clever and sympathetic portrayal of Meg. Lord and Lady Kingdom have skilful and effective representatives in L Cornell and Eva Ballard. John Johnston has a congenial rôle to play, and in his hands the part is well sustained. Steve Warden and his familiars, Boney and Hobbs, are ably interpreted by Edward and Lester [sic – probably Edward Chester], W. H. Davis-Brown, and John Drake. Noteworthy are Edward Fryer’s impersonation of the Rev. Peter Cordiner and the Dowager Lady Kingdon of Evelyn Robson. To-morrow (Friday) “Sapho” will be staged’. The Stage, 22 May 1919.
16 Jun 1919 Theatre Royal, EdinburghProfessional
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The company spent two weeks at the theatre. The Scotsman, 9 June 1919, advertised Ernest R. Abbott’s company in Sapho at the Theatre Royal that week. So Neither Wife Nor Maid was performed in the week beginning 16 June. ‘Melodrama At The Theatre Royal. One is a little in doubt as to what constitutes the “problem” in “Neither Wife nor Maid “ at the Theatre-Royal this week, although it is billed as a “problem” play. The issue, certainly, is not in doubt. Miss Ada Abbott, who undertakes the rôle of the much-wronged and knocked-about heroine, sustains throughout a consistent mournfulness and despair. Every emotion of which human sensitiveness is capable, if the spectator be a suitable subject, will be harrowed by the brutalities and wrongs of this enterprising little play, which bounds with amazing agility from crooks to peers, from garret to mansion-house. The bright interludes afforded by the maid, Miss Marion Holly, and the happy presence of the child - without which, of course, no melodrama could be complete - give a pleasant relief. Mr John Johnston, who as hero comes in for much applause on the several occasions when he arrives just in time to prevent the murder of his former sweetheart by her crook friends, provides one of the most popular scenes of the evening with his trusty “pal,” an intelligent dog’ (The Scotsman, 17 June 1919). ‘ In “Neither Wife Nor Maid” we have the ages old tale of the betrayer and the suffering woman. The war has accentuated the problem of the unmarried wife and the unwanted child, and this play is based on a war incident in which the aristocratic lover leaves his enamoured one to her shame and degradation. Her experiences, however, are familiar enough – but eventually her champion and rescuer arrives in the person of a former sweetheart of her own station in life. The play is melodramatic and too obvious in many of its developments, but Miss Ada Abbott as the poor little mother acts her role with a tenseness that “wrings the withers.” Mr John Johnston makes a capital hero, and wins hearty applause as he frustrates a band of “crooks. Miss Nellie Crowther and Miss Marion Holly also fill attractive parts in a creditable manner’ (Edinburgh Evening News, 17 June 1919). A ‘theatres wanted’ advertisement inserted by Ernest R. Abbott in The Stage, 3 July 1919, mentioned, ‘Just concluded a big fortnight at T.R., Edinburgh. Second week [when Neither Wife Nor Maid was performed] better than the first’.
23 Jun 1919 Hippodrome, HamiltonProfessional
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The Stage, 19 June 1919, lists ‘Ernest R. Abbott’s “The Passions,” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’ in Calls For Next Week at the Hamilton Hippodrome.
4 Aug 1919 Queen's Theatre, Berwick-on-TweedProfessional
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The Berwick Advertiser, 1 August 1919, advertised at the Queen’s Rooms, Berwick, in the week beginning 4 August the ‘first visit of Mr E R Abbott’s popular company direct from the leading theatres’ in The Passions on Monday and Tuesday, Sapho on Wednesday and Thursday and ‘the Great Problem Play dealing with the burning question of the day’ Neither Wife Nor Maid on Friday and Saturday (‘The Play of the Moment. For Adults Only. No person under the age of 16 will be admitted to see this Play’.) ‘The Company playing the Queen’s Rooms this week is one of the finest Dramatic Companies that has ever been in the town for many years. There have been good houses nightly, and the public have greatly enjoyed the plays. On Friday and Saturday, the great problem play, “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” which has attracted crowds at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, will be played. There will be two performances on Saturday, and record houses are anticipated’ (Berwick Advertiser, 8 August 1919).
11 Aug 1919 Palace, NewcastleProfessional
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‘At the Palace Theatre there will be a return visit of Mr. Ernest R. Abbot’s old-established company, which scored such a success at this theatre a short while ago. On this occasion they will present a new play from the pen of Ada G. Abbott and entitled “The Passions.” The authoress and Mr. John Johnston will fill the leading roles. On Friday night only, the company will stage “Neither Wife nor Maid.” Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 9 August 1919.
16 Feb 1920 Cinema, EveshamProfessional
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‘Next week Mr. Ernest R. Abbot’s Company, which includes the charming actress, Miss Ada Abbot, will give three plays at The Cinema [Evesham], “Passions” and “Neither Wife nor Maid” by Ada G. Abbot, and “Sappho,” depicting life in Paris’ (Evesham Standard and West Midland Observer, 14 February 1920). An advertisement in the Evesham Standard and West Midland Observer, 14 February 1920, showed that Ernest R. Abbott’s company would perform The Passions on Monday-Wednesday, Sapho on Thursday and Friday and ‘the Great Problem Play’ Neither Wife Nor Maid on Saturday.
23 Feb 1920 Opera House, KidderminsterProfessional
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A ‘theatres wanted’ advertisement inserted by Ernest R. Abbott in The Stage, 4 March 1920, mentioned that The Passions, Sapho and Neither Wife Nor Maid had all been performed the previous week at the Opera House, Kidderminster.
1 Mar 1920 Alhambra, StourbridgeProfessional
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A ‘theatres wanted’ advertisement inserted by Ernest R. Abbott in The Stage, 11 March 1920, mentioned that The Passions, Sapho and Neither Wife Nor Maid had all been performed the previous week at the Alhambra, Stourbridge.
15 Mar 1920 Recreation Hall, MillomProfessional
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The Millom Gazette, 12 March 1920, reported that the following week at the Recreation Hall, Millom, Ernest R. Abbott’s company would perform The Passions on Monday-Wednesday, Sapho on Thursday and Friday and ‘the great problem play of the day’ Neither Wife Nor Maid, in a prologue and three acts, on Saturday. However, the Millom Gazette, Friday 19 March, noted that the ‘gripping drama’ Neither Wife Nor Maid would be performed both that and the following nights.
31 May 1920 Grand, HalifaxProfessional
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‘The problem play, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” is billed for the Grand Theatre each evening [next week] but Friday. Friday night “Sapho” will be substituted. The caste in each instance will be sustained by Ernest R. Abbott’s Co., which includes Miss Ada Abbott and Mr. John Johnston’ (Halifax Evening Courier, 29 May 1920). ‘A problem play, “Neither wife nor maid,” figures at the Northgate theatre [the Grand] this week, and is certainly based on an absorbing theme, calculated to draw good houses. Arranged in a prologue and six scenes, the play covers a period of ten years, and is cleverly performed. In the role of Curley Saunders, Mr. John Johnson gives a convincing exhibition of his versatile ability, and Miss Ada Abbott provides a perfect representation of Meg Huxton [sic – Huxter]. Mr. Ernest W. Parr, as Steve Warden, Mr. Edward Fryer, as the Rev. Peter, and Mr. Edwin Keene as the butler, are capitally fitted for their parts, and Messrs. W. H. Davis-Brown, John Drake, and Bert Whitmore, are responsible for some excellent acting. The ladies of the company are a strong group, Miss Annie Morgan portraying Mrs Huxter admirably, Miss Mary Dean making a good success of Mrs. Warden, Miss Agnes Kingston presenting a realistic Dowager, and Miss Margaret Dickinson shining in the character of Lady Rose, a childless wife. “Tommy” is a taking little fellow as created by the art of Miss Nellie Crowther, and Misses Isabel Singleton and Marion Holly, as housekeeper and housemaid, complete a first-rate caste’ (Halifax Evening Courier, 1 June 1920).
21 Jun 1920 Hippodrome, HamiltonProfessional
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The Bellshill Speaker, 18 June 1920, advertised at the Hamilton Hippodrome from Monday 21 June Ernest R. Abbott’s company, including ‘the Charming Actress, Miss Ada Abbott, supported by Mr John Johnston’, in Neither Wife Nor Maid on Monday-Tuesday, Sapho on Wednesday and Thursday and The Passions on Friday and Saturday. The advertisement said of Neither Wife Nor Maid: ‘For Adults Only. No Person under the age of 16 will be admitted to see this Play’.
28 Jun 1920 Theatre Royal, InvernessProfessional
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‘Ernest R. Abbott’s company are paying their annual visit [to the Royal, Inverness]. The repertory includes “The Passions,” “Sapho,” and “Neither Wife nor Maid.” Ada Abbott and John Johnstone are at the head of a strong company’. The Stage, 1 July 1920.
19 Jul 1920 Theatre Royal, EdinburghProfessional
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The company spent two weeks at the theatre. A report in the Edinburgh Evening News, 10 July 1920, implies that The Passions would be presented in the following week; also The Stage, 15 July 1920. So Neither Wife Nor Maid was performed in the week beginning 19 July. A montage of photographs in the Sunday Post, 18 July 1920, of ‘favourites of theatre and hall in Scotland this week’ [actually the following week] included ‘Miss Ada Abbott, in “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” at Theatre Royal, Edinburgh’. The Scotsman, 19 July 1920, advertised ‘Ernest R. Abbott presents the Great Problem Play Neither Wife Nor Maid’ twice nightly at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. ‘That there are many who prefer their dramatic fare to be served with a sauce of pronounced moral flavour was apparent last night at the Theatre-Royal, when a large audience received with every evidence of enthusiasm the problem play “Neither Wife nor Maid.” Thoroughly to appreciate this type of play requires unlimited credulity; it is a very distorted mirror which is held up to life. Fortunately, in real life villainy is the exception rather than the rule; and the depths of despair to which human nature may fall may be easily exaggerated. In the acting the honours went to Miss Nellie Crowther in the part of the bright-eyed, high-spirited boy, Tommy, who is always natural. Mr J. Clyde Miller made a distinctly evil-looking crook; and in the part of the robust Curly Saunders Mr John Johnston was equally convincing. Miss Ada Abbott endowed the part of Meg with the necessary amount of tragedy’ (The Scotsman, 20 July 1920). ‘The problem play staged in the Theatre-Royal this week, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” attracted a large audience last night. The title suggests the nature of the piece, which was well played by which included Miss Nellie Crowther in the part of a bright-eyed, high-spirited boy; Miss Ada Abbott in the tragic role of Meg, Mr J Clyde Miller, and John Johnston’ (Edinburgh Evening News, 20 July 1920). ‘“Neither Wife nor Maid” was evidently very much to the taste of the audience here on Monday. Its situations were displayed with plenty of force by an effective company, including Nellie Crowther as the boy, J. Clyde Miller as the villain, Ada Abbott as the wronged girl, and John Johnston as Curly Saunders’ (The Stage, 22 July 1920).
26 Jul 1920 Mechanics Theatre, DumfriesProfessional
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‘E. R Abbott’s well-organised company gave a very successful performance of “The Passions” to a crowded house on Monday. “Sapho” and “Neither Wife nor Maid” will be played during the week’. The Stage, 29 July 1920.
23 Aug 1920 Theatre Royal, PontypoolProfessional
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‘For the first three nights this week [at the Royal, Pontypool] Ernest R. Abbott’s company presented “The Passions,” and to-night and for the remainder of the week will give “Sapho” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Stage, 26 August 1920.
8 Nov 1920 Grand, LancasterProfessional
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‘Ernest R. Abbott’s company are here [the Grand, Lancaster] with “Neither Maid Nor Wife,” “The Passions,” and “Sapho”’. John Johnston was playing Curly Saunders, and Ada Abbott Meg, in Neither Wife Nor Maid. The Stage, 11 November 1920.
29 Nov 1920 Palace Theatre, DerbyProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest D. Abbott’s dramatic presentation at [the Palace] theatre on Monday night found great favour with the patrons [the play was The Passions] … On Thursday and Friday “Sapho” will replace “The Passions,” while on Saturday “Neither Wife nor Maid” will be shown’. Derby Daily Telegraph, 30 November 1920.
6 Dec 1920 New Theatre, Boston, LincolnshireProfessional
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The Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian, 4 December 1920, advertised at the New Theatre, Corn Exchange, Boston, from Monday 6 December, The Passions on Monday and Tuesday, Sapho on Wednesday and Thursday, and ‘the Great problem Play, in a Prologue and three Acts, Neither Wife Nor Maid. By Ada G. Abbott. The Play of the Moment’. At the New Theatre, Boston, ‘Ernest R. Abbott’s company present “The Passions,” “Sapho,” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” with a cast including Ada Abbott, John Johnston, Edwin Keene, J. Clyde Miller, W. H. Davis-Brown, Edward Fryer, Bert Whitmore, John Drake, G. Tring, Marion Holly, Agnes Kingston, Margaret Dickenson, Nellie Crowther and Isobel Singleton, D. Pentland, John Faber, B. Edmondson, H. Bevil, Rose Duncan, and Mary Douglas’ (The Stage, 9 December 1920).
28 Feb 1921 Hippodrome, DriffieldProfessional
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The Driffield Times, 26 February 1921, advertised at the Driffield Hippodrome from 28 February The Passions on Monday and Tuesday, Sapho on Wednesday and Thursday and Neither Wife Nor Maid on Friday and Saturday. ‘At the Hippodrome … next week E. R. Abbott’s well-known company are presenting three great dramatic plays, “The Passions,” “ Sapho” … and “Neither wife nor Maid.” These powerful plays, with a large cast of clever artistes, should attract large audiences’ (Driffield Times, 26 February 1921).
21 Mar 1921 Marine Theatre, South ShieldsProfessional
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At the Marine Theatre, South Shields, ‘Ernest R. Abbott presents a repertoire of plays, including “The Passions,” “Sapho,” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid”. A strong company includes Miss Ada Abbott, the authoress of the first and last named pieces, and Mr. John Johnston’. The Era, 23 March 1921.
4 Apr 1921 Empire Theatre, TauntonProfessional
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‘[This week at the Empire Theatre] Mr. Ernest K. Abbott’s company will appear on Wednesday evening in a new dramatic version of the world famous opera “Carmen’’ … On Thursday and Friday, “Sapho” … will be presented, while from Saturday evening the great problem play, “Neither Wife nor Maid” should prove a great draw’. Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser, 6 April 1921.
2 May 1921 Palace, Weston-Super-MareProfessional
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‘Ernest R. Abbott’s repertory company are here [the Palace, Weston-Super-Mare] with “The Passions,” “Carmen,” “Sapho,” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” drawing good audiences’. The Stage, 5 May 1921.
11 Jul 1921 The Musketeers' Theatre, CuparProfessional
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The St Andrews Citizen, 9 July 1921 advertised at the Musketeers’ Theatre, Cupar, Fife, The Passions on Monday and Tuesday, Sapho on Wednesday and Thursday and Neither Wife Nor Maid on Friday and Saturday.
18 Jul 1921 Theatre Royal, JarrowProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbot’s company are appearing [at the Royal, Jarrow] in a number of plays. For the first three nights “Passions” was staged. To-night (Thursday) “Sapho” will be performed; on Friday “Carmen”; and Saturday “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Era, 20 July 1921.
25 Jul 1921 Palace, NewcastleProfessional
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‘The old-established E. R. Abbott No. 1 Company opened at the Newcastle Palace last night with “Carmen” … On Thursday and Friday the company give “Sapho” … Saturday night’s play, “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” deals with the great social question’ (Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 26 July 1921). Also The Stage, 28 July 1921.
15 Aug 1921 Theatre Royal, LeicesterProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott's company played the Theatre Royal, Leicester from 1 to 27 August 1921. Performances of Neither Wife Nor Maid are mentioned for the third week of the season: ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott, supported by his popular company, continue their successful season at Leicester. The first part the week “Neither Wife Nor Maid” was presented, and is being repeated on Saturday. The company include Ernest A. Foster, Edward Fryer, Edwin Keene, Edward Wensbury, W. H. Davis Brown, John Johnston, Ernest R. Abbott, Viola Jennings, Margaret Dickenson, Isabel Singleton, Ada Abbott, Nellie Crowther, and Marion Holly. To-morrow (Thursday) evening a new production will be given, entitled “Hearts and Homes”’. The Era, 17 August 1921.
12 Sep 1921 Palace, Weston-Super-MareProfessional
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‘Ernest R. Abbott’s company, including Ada Abbott and John Johnston, are here [the Palace, Weston-Super-Mare] with “The Passions,” “Sapho,” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Stage, 15 September 1921.
26 Sep 1921 Grand Theatre, PentreProfessional
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‘Mr Ernest R. Abbott’s repertoire company, including Miss Ada Abbott and Mr. John Johnston, appear [at the Grand, Pentre] in a series of plays, which includes “The Passions,” “Woman and Her Master,” “Sapho,” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Era, 28 September 1921.
7 Nov 1921 Metropole, GlasgowProfessional
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‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company are presenting the stirring drama “The Passions” [at the Metropole, Glasgow] … On Friday the company are playing “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” which will prove a popular draw’. The Era, 9 November 1921. Also The Stage, 10 November 1921.
21 Nov 1921 Gaiety, MethilProfessional
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The Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, 17 November 1921, advertised for the following week Ernest R. Abbott’s company in The Passions on Monday-Wednesday, Neither Wife Nor Maid (‘A Great Problem Play’) on Thursday and Saturday, and Woman And Her Master on Friday.
9 Jan 1922 Victoria Opera House, BurnleyProfessional
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The Nelson Leader, 6 January 1922, advertised at the Victoria Opera House, Burnley, from Monday 9 January, Ernest R, Abbott’s company in The Passions on Monday-Wednesday, Sapho on Thursday and Friday and Neither Wife Nor Maid on Saturday. ‘… on Saturday [at the Victoria Opera House] the great problem play “Neither Wife Nor Maid” will be presented. Produced in a prologue and three acts, it places before the public in a vivid manner the most pressing matters of the moment’ (Burnley News, 7 January 1922).
27 Feb 1922 Theatre Royal, StratfordProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott's company performed Wife In Name Only and Woman And Her Master at the Theatre Royal, Stratford, in the week beginning 13 February. They returned two weeks later: ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s company return after only a week’s absence, and are presenting “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” except to-morrow (Friday), when a new drama “Hearts and Homes” will be staged. In. the former piece Miss Ada Abbott plays the unhappy heroine with her customary effect, though she has fewer opportunities to show versatility in this role, which is throughout a mournful one. Mr. John Johnston is a cheerful Saunders with a trained dog, who soon becomes popular. Mr. Edward Wensbury is a sufficiently malevolent Steve. Miss Nellie Crowther is a bright little Tommy, and Miss Stella Foster imparts humour to her scenes with Mr. J. B. Stewart as a pair of conventional comic servants. Mr. Ernest A. Foster is a quiet Lord Kingdon, and Mr. Edward Fryer a somewhat stilted parson. Miss Margaret Dickenson plays Lady Rose, and others who appear include Miss Viola Jennings, a firm Dowager, and Miss Isabel Singleton, as the housekeeper’. The Stage, 2 March 1922.
17 Apr 1922 Hippodrome, BilstonProfessional
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‘This house [the Royal and Hippodrome, Bilston] re-opened on Monday. For the first week of the dramatic season Ernest R. Abbott’s company present “The Passions” and “Neither Wife nor Maid.” The chief parts are in the hands of Ada Abbott and John Johnston’. The Stage, 20 April 1922.
3 Jul 1922 Queens Theatre, Holbeck, LeedsProfessional
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‘At the Queen’s Theatre, Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s repertory company hold the boards. They are a sound little company, and give a creditable performance. Their programme includes “Sapho,” which will be played to-morrow and Thursday, and two plays by Miss Ada G. Abbott - “Neither Wife Nor Maid” (Friday and Saturday) and “The Passions” (to-night [and last night])’. Yorkshire Evening Post, 4 July 1922.
17 Jul 1922 Regent Theatre, LongtonProfessional
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Ernest R. Abbott's company played at the Regent Theatre, Longton, from 10 July to 5 August 1922. In the second week they performed Neither Wife Nor Maid. The Staffordshire Sentinel, 15 July 1922, advertised, for the following week, the second week of Ernest R. Abbott’s principal repertoire company, including Miss Ada Abbott, at the Regent Theatre, Longton, in Neither Wife Nor Maid (‘The Great Problem Play … For Adults Only’) on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, Hearts and Home on Wednesday and Thursday, and East Lynne on Friday. ‘Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s Company made many friends in Longton last week, and the management have done well in securing them for a further period. On Monday evening they appeared in “Neither Wife nor Maid,” and a particularly pleasing interlude was the appearance of John Johnston with his sagacious bull terrier. “Hearts and Homes” and “East Lynne” will also be played during the week’ (Staffordshire Sentinel, 18 July 1922).
21 Aug 1922 Theatre Royal, BlythProfessional
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The Blyth News, 1 August 1922, advertised at the Theatre Royal, Blyth, that week The Passions on Monday and Tuesday, Woman And Her Master on Wednesday and Thursday, Sapho on Friday and Neither Wife Nor Maid on Saturday (‘the Great Problem Play, in a prologue and six scenes … The Play of the Moment. For Adults only’).
25 Sep 1922 Victoria Opera House, BurnleyProfessional
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‘The Denville Stock Company next week will embark the 25th week of their stay in Burnley, and will submit at the Victoria Theatre that popular play, “Neither Wife nor Maid.” The conception of Ada G. Abbott, the play deals with a great sex problem in a bold and straightforward style. Fearless in her convictions, the authoress presents her theme in a plain manner, and woven into it is a delightfully entertaining story. Miss Marjorie Denville will play the leading role of “May [sic – Meg] Huxter,” whilst Jack McCaig will give of his best as “Curly Saunders.” It would be difficult to find a better artiste than William Calvert to play the part of “Boney,” a crook, while Edwin Beverley sustains equally well the two parts of “Rev. Peter Gardiner” [sic- Cordiner] and “Diamond Hobbs.” The cast includes several strange names such as Douglas Milton, Quiller Vallerie, and Maysie Wright, but we feel confident that they will attain the high standard set by their predecessors’. Burnley News, 23 September 1922.
16 Oct 1922 Pavilion Theatre, SouthportProfessional
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‘The Denville stock company present “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’ at the Pavilion, Southport. The Stage, 19 October 1922.
27 Nov 1922 Theatre Royal, North ShieldsProfessional
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‘Ernest R. Abbott’s Company is a household word on Tyneside, and although he has not visited North Shields since 1919, he and his popular company are assured of a hearty welcome. On Monday and Tuesday, “The Passions,” is bound to appeal to all classes of playgoers. No visit of this favourite company would be complete unless their always welcome version of “Sapho” was staged. It will occupy the bill on Wednesday and Thursday … On Friday and Saturday the problem play, “Neither Wife nor Maid,” will be presented, a play of absorbing interest’. The company included Ada Abbott, Edwin Keene, Ernest Foster, Flo Appleby and John Johnston (Shields Daily News, 25 November 1922). ‘ “Neither Wife nor Maid,” by Ada G. Abbott, will be produced on the last two nights of the week, and only adults will be admitted. The production of this great problem [play] will no doubt prove very attractive’ (Shields Daily News, 28 November 1922). Also mentioned in The Era, 30 November 1922.
11 Dec 1922 Prince's Theatre, BlackburnProfessional
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‘The attraction here [the Prince’s Theatre, Blackburn] is Mr E. R. Abbott’s company, including Miss Ada Abbott and Mr. John Johnston, in “The Passions” (Monday and Tuesday), “Wife In Name Only” (Wednesday and Thursday), “Sapho” (Friday) and “Neither Wife Nor Maid” (Saturday)’ (The Era, Thursday 14 December 1922). ‘Ada Abbott is here [the Prince’s Theatre, Blackburn] in a dramatic repertory. She is supported by J. Johnston, E. Foster, E. Keene, Isabel Singleton, Emmie Davies, Stella Foster, and Florence Pipton’ (The Stage, 14 December 1922).
5 Feb 1923 Prince's Theatre, PortsmouthProfessional
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‘Strong programmes are being presented at the Prince’s Theatre this week by Ernest R. Abbott’s well-known drama company. For the first two days “Neither Wife Nor Maid” is the subject … composed by Ada Abbott, [it] is a powerful production, full of human interest. A novel feature of the play is the acting of a bull terrier, under the supervision of John Johnston, who plays the part of the hero. The sagacity of the animal is marvellous, and last night’s audience showed its appreciation in no uncertain manner’. Woman And Her Master would be played on Wednesday and Thursday and The Passions on Friday and Saturday (Portsmouth Evening News, 6 February 1923). The Stage, 8 February 1923, noted the visit, with Ada Abbott playing Meg and John Johnston playing Curly Saunders in Neither Wife Nor Maid.
19 Mar 1923 Osborne Theatre, ManchesterProfessional
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The Stage, 22 March 1923, noted that The Passions, Wife In Name Only and Neither Wife Nor Maid were being performed that week at the Osborne Theatre, Manchester.
12 Oct 1925 Royal, OldhamProfessional
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‘“A Man Forgets” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid” are the two attractions this week’ at the Royal, Oldham. The Stage, 15 October 1925.
23 Aug 1926 Theatre Royal, MiddlesboroughProfessional
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‘The Millane stock company present this week [at the Royal, Middlesbrough] “Neither Wife Nor Maid,” supported by a strong cast, the chief members of which are E. A. Brooke, J. Millane, E V. Borrow, W Edwards, K. Dillon, M. Holmes, M. Monte, and D. Marriott’. The Stage, 26 August 1926. Also The Era, 25 August 1926.
6 Sep 1926 Grand Theatre, Stockton-on-TeesProfessional
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‘The Ray and Mayne drama company have presented “Oliver Twist” in a successful manner [at the Grand, Stockton-on-Tees] … For the latter part of the week “Neither Wife nor Maid” will be staged’. The Stage, 9 September 1926.
18 Jun 1928 Opera House, DudleyProfessional
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‘The anniversary of the first week’s appearance of [the Fortescue repertory company] at Dudley [Opera House] is being marked by performances of “The Shaughraun” and “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’ (The ‘Stage, 21 June 1928). The Dudley Chronicle, 21 June 1928, advertised for the week commencing Monday 18 June the ‘52nd and Anniversary Week of [the] Fortescue Co’ with on Thursday-Saturday Neither Wife Nor Maid: ‘cast includes:- Norman Worcester, Lewis Nanton, George Arnett, May Day, Dallas Yorke, Bert Cowley, Elwyn C. Walters, John L. Moran, Charlotte Ballinger, May Payne’.
15 Oct 1928 Grand, WolverhamptonProfessional
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‘The Kimberley Fortescue repertory company are now in their fifth week’s stay here [the Grand, Wolverhampton], and continue to be successful. “The Black Sheep of the Family” was presented on Monday, and for to-night (Thursday) “Neither Wife Nor Maid” is billed’. The Stage, 18 October 1928.
20 May 1929 Grand Theatre, WalsallProfessional
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The Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle, 18 May 1929, advertised that at the Grand Theatre from Monday 20 May ‘The Fortescue Players will Present The Great Comedy-Domestic Drama Neither Wife Nor Maid By Norman Worcester. Cast includes:- Norman Worcester, Jack Pearson, John Watty, Howell Webb, Lewis Nanton, Frank Stoner, Olive Yorke, Louis Nanton, Lala Price, Jenna Lyndon, Dallas Yorke’. Although the play was advertised here as 'by Norman Worcester' it was attributed to Ernest R. Abbott and, this time accurately, to Ada Abbott when the same, or a successor, company performed it ten years later.
4 May 1931 Royal Pavilion, BlackpoolProfessional
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‘“Mrs. Dane’s Defence” was the attraction [at the Royal Pavilion, Blackpool ] on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. To-day (Thursday) Harry Foxwell’s Players will present “Neither Wife Nor Maid”’. The Stage, 7 May 1931.
30 Jan 1933 Empire Theatre, MotherwellProfessional
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The Bellshill Speaker, 27 January 1933, advertised at the Empire Theatre, Motherwell on Monday-Wednesday of the following week the Northern Repertory Players in ‘an all-absorbing play, Neither Wife Nor Maid, A Very Human and Very Appealing Story’. ‘“Neither Wife nor Maid” will be the attraction at the Empire for the first three nights of next week. This popular play, by Ada Abbott, has always proved a sure winner wherever it has been presented. It is a human, all-absorbing story of a mother’s devotion and love for her child. This piece is admirably suited to the requirements of the Northern Repertory Players, and one may be sure that, as usual, the best will be put into the production’ (Wishaw Press, 27 January 1933).
1 Jun 1939 Rotunda, LiverpoolProfessional
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‘At the Rotunda [next week] the Fortescue Players present two popular plays. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Lancashire comedy drama “A Lancashire Lass in London,” by Sydney Sydney. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, another outspoken drama “Neither Wife nor Maid,” by Ernest R. Abbot [sic - Ada Abbott]’. Liverpool Echo, Friday 26 May 1939.
22 Jun 1939 Hippodrome, ChesterfieldProfessional
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The Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 16 June 1939, advertised at the Hippodrome, Chesterfield for the week commencing Monday 19 June ‘Frank H. Fortescue’s Famous Players’ in A Blind Girl’s Rosary on Monday-Wednesday and Neither Wife Nor Maid by Ada Abbott on Thursday-Saturday. ‘Frank H. Fortescue’s Players began their fifth week at the Chesterfield Hippodrome yesterday with Gertrude Vickers’ powerful play, “A Blind Girl’s Rosary,” and from Thursday they will present Ada Abbot’s much-discussed play, “Neither Wife Nor Maid.” The Fortescue Players have made many new friends during their stay in Chesterfield, and their show this week is well up to their customary high standard’ (Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 20 June 1939).