Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is a sad little sketch of a war-episode in Belgium. An Englishwoman, a refugee from Louvain, is helping as best she may an old man who has been wounded and left for dead as a civilian, crazily firing upon Prussian soldiery. There arrives at the ruined cottage an Uhlan demanding coffee, and in the course of his talk with the woman while she makes it he discovers the truth about the old Belgian's supposed 'illness'. With some compunction the Uhlan prepares to obey military orders, in spite of the heart-rending appeal of the Englishwoman and her Belgian protégé. But, before he can shoot his aged victim, he is himself shot by an Irishman, who arrives with a detachment in the nick of time; so the curtain falls upon a rescue to the tune of 'Tipperary'. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall.

Researcher's Summary:

The author of the play is listed on the script as M. E. M. Young, although this Examiner has assumed them to be M. E. H. Young (perhaps as Margaret E. H. Young was also an author). Research shows that M. E. M. Young wrote a number of other plays, with Catholic themes (including for the Pioneer Players and Catholic Stage Guild), and considering the strong Catholic tones of this play, it would strongly indicate that she was the author. The play was subsequently published in a special Russian number of 'The Woman at Home and Girls' Realm' in July 1916 (Cheltenham Looker-On, 24 June 1916)

Licensed On: 12 Oct 1914

License Number: 2973

British Library Reference: LCP1914/30

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66078 W


16 Oct 1914 Ambassadors, LondonProfessional
Read Narrative
Performed by a mixed cast of French, Belgian and British actors. Reviews were mixed and the sketch was replaced from Monday 2 November by Harry Grattan's 'The Plumbers'. 'The incidents of which were far too near certain hideous realities of the hour to be suitable, as yet, for presentation in a theatre' (Pall Mall Gazette, 17 October 1914) 'Of the triple bill on which Mr. C. B. Cochran is relying the Ambassadors', supported by a company made up French. Belgian, and English performers, the most topical item, From Louvain” is the most negligible. Not even the good acting Miss Esme Beringer and Mr Tresahar can make M. E. Young’s would-be horrors convincing' (Illustrated London News, 24 October 1914). 'Although the war episode [...] was well written and capably acted, we hold that this kind of play is not wanted just now. The theatre's chief purpose is to take us out of ourselves and to offer some relief from war's obsession. 'From Louvain' with its story of death and desolation, simply brings the newspaper into the theatre, and that is just what we do not want.' (Globe, 17 October 1914)
17 Oct 1914 Ambassadors, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance