Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This play is somewhat on the lines of 'The Man Who Stayed at Home', but much less skilful and more naive. The villain is a German naturalized since the war and his female accomplice the German widow of an Englishman. It may be a question if plays which tend to excite feeling against naturalized Germans are desirable, but it would be too strong a measure to forbid them, and this one is merely a little crude excitement, not to be taken seriously. Mrs Standhope, the above-mentioned German widow, has a stepson Basil, in the 'Transport Department', who is in love with Elise, the daughter of his chief, Carstone. Klost, the naturalized German villain, also wishes to marry Elise. He plots to kidnap Carstone and get papers about transports. The plot succeeds, except that the transports escape, and Carstone coming under suspicion shoots himself. Basil is also suspected, and by the advice of his step-mother, who wants him out of the way, enlists under another name. Klost enters Elise's bedroom, but her maid is with her and he is discomfited - there is no harm in this scene if it is discreetly played and no suggestion that it will not be. Then Mrs Stanhope and Klost start signalling to zeppelins, but Basil returns on leave, having distinguished himself, Mrs Stanhope confesses, Klost kills her and is himself shot. The play ends with the spectacular effect of an aeroplane destroying a zeppelin. I don't like Klost's remark, Act III, p.10, on the effect on English women of zeppelins, but it is spoken by an enemy. Nor a comic description of an imaginary feat by a wounded soldier, Act IV pp.3 and 4. but it is not ill-meant. Recommended for license. G. S. Street

Licensed On: 10 Sep 1915

License Number: 3718

British Library Reference: LCP1915/24

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66110 O


13 Sep 1915 Dalston Theatre, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
8 Nov 1915 Her Majesty's Theatre, WalsallProfessional
Read Narrative
‘It is often possible to find as much entertainment in the behaviour of some of audience as in the play itself, and this seems to apply especially to war dramas. It is highly amusing to hear the excited comments on the German villain who frequently talks of “the English swine.” or the outbursts of joy when the British hero and his friends triumph. But nothing more delighted the pit and “gods” at Her Majesty’s this week than the fight between aeroplane Zeppelin, cleverly introduced by the aid of the electric lantern in the last scene; the cheers were almost deafening' (Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle, 13 November 1915)
29 Nov 1915 Queen's Theatre, LeedsProfessional