Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

Another spy play, but with a less hackneyed plot than usual. It is unequally written; most of it is the ordinary fustian and silly comic relief and a good deal consists of speeches about the war, the services of our Navy and so forth, which seem to come straight from the ordinary leading articles, but the actual sea part and business of wireless telegraphy are done with some knowledge and a good effect. The play starts with some absurd false history in regard to the rupture between England and Turkey, the murder of a pro-English Turkish emissary at the instigation of the villain Von Luff, in the Turkish service. After this a merchant captain, Gerrard, who is also a landed proprietor in Asia Minor, proposes to go Eastwards in his yacht, with the hero, a naval commander Maine who has invented a dodge for detecting submarines. Von Luff arranges that the crew consists of Germans. Gerrard's daughter and her maid go disguised as wireless operators. There is an exciting row on the yacht: Maine is thrown overboard (of course rescued) and the others made prisoners. In Turkey, however, Luff's Turkish wife helps them and eventually after a good fight Luff is killed. We are spared offensive brutality, but I notice one or two objectionable features, rather by way of a thorough report, however, than as suggesting that the Lord Chamberlain can forbid them. 1) The false history at the beginning, pp.1-6. It is a pity that current events should be wrongly represented to the public, even though no intelligent person would take them for real. The same applies to an imaginary account of an action in the North Sea, p.36. 2) The manning of the yacht with spies, p.25. This is supposed to happen at Plymouth and the piece is to be produced there. Very annoying to our Secret Service in the place, on whose competence it is a poor reflection! 3) The trivial introduction of 'God Save the King' on p.12. It is not meant disrespectfully, but the National Anthem ought not to be used so lightly. That might be a point for consideration. In two other small matters there might be interferences: - 1) 'son of a dog's wife' on p.11, since 'bitch' in this connection is not allowed. 2) P.44. A remark about German officers smelling, a very unworthy jibe. Recommended for license. G. S. Street. P.S on p.53 there is an apparition of the Kaiser with a death's head over him, followed by one of Mephistopheles who claims him as his own. Since it has been permitted to introduce the Kaiser far worse attacks on him than this have been delivered, but I thought the incident worth mentioning.

Licensed On: 10 Sep 1915

License Number: 3715


British Library Reference: LCP1915/24

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66110 L


13 Sep 1915 Grand Theatre, PlymouthUnknown Licensed Performance