Great War Theatre

Address: Birmingham, UK

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
N/A Babes in the Wood Unknown
14 Sep 1914 The Other Side Of Love Unknown
23 Dec 1914 Sinbad The Sailor Unknown
1 Mar 1915 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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'“The Man who Stayed at Home” is the sort of play that attracts men to a theatre. It has sense and incident - thrills concrete, not abstract. The audience can see what it is all about, and gleefully watch the unfolding of a fascinating spy drama that looks real' (Evening Despatch, 2 March 1915). 'Last night’s audience probably enjoyed nothing better than the snub administered by the general body of boarders to the young lady who presented “the man who stayed at home” with the emblem of cowardice - which, by the way, he promptly applied to the useful purpose of cleaning the stem of his pipe! The play may be aptly described as one of thrills and laughter, and Mr. George Tully, in the title role, is largely responsible for both' (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 2 March 1915). The Stage, 4 March 1915, reviewed the production, mentioning cast members George Tully, Gordon Bailey, Georg Martin, A. E. Whatmore, Charles Grenville, Mary Relph, Esty Marsh, Mary Merrall, Florence Harwood, Lola Duncan, and Valerie Richards, who were members of the Vedrenne and Eadie company.
11 Mar 1915 Searchlights Professional
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‘“Searchlights” has caught at the Savoy, and Mr. H. B. Irving has already arranged for two flying matinées of Mr. Vachell’s clever play - at Bristol on Tuesday, March 2nd, and at Birmingham Royal on Thursday, March 11th’ (Gloucester Citizen, 24 February 1915). ‘In “Searchlights,” Mr. H. A. Vachell’s successful new play, brought down for a flying matinee by Mr. H. B. Irving to the Birmingham Theatre Royal yesterday, the author has neatly solved the problem of giving an ordinary society drama the right flavour of war ethics. There is a strong man (H. B. Irving) and an ambitious but neglected wife (Fay Davis) estranged with a witless worldling son between them. The father suspects, and his suspicions are ultimately confirmed, that the boy – in the Army, of course - is not his, but, to cut the story short, when the boy turns up trumps from the front the husband and wife find reconciliation in the new value they have got of things - hence the searchlights! The lad might have redeemed himself by any other form of manliness, but the war is the dramatic emotion of the moment, and Mr. Vachell must be credited with setting the whole story, quite a good one at any time, if not very original, with genteel sympathy and a simplified stress of feeling. There is no tearing of passions to tatters; all is tensely subdued. The genteelness is shown in the way in which Mr. Vachell gets innocent fun out of a rich Anglicised German couple with a charming girl who is in love with the boy, and yet keeps them in a kindly aspect before the audience. We should be grateful to the author, and not less to the actors, for thus abating the lurking prejudice even of a matinee audience more feminine than usual in composition. But with winsome Miss Margery Maude as the German daughter and dear Miss Bishop as Lady Schmaltz, how could it have been otherwise? ... The reception the play was most enthusiastic, and the matinee was a complete success in every way’ (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 12 March 1915). '“Searchlights,” Mr. Horace Annesley Vachell’s contribution to the stages war literature, is, as one would expect, an admirably written play, possessing considerable power. It is not entirely free from the anomalies usually encountered in a novelist’s work for the theatre, but its qualities far outweigh its faults. The theme of the thing is by no means new, though its treatment is fresh and has the literary merits one would expect coming from such a source. Essentially it sets out arrestingly the discovery, under the fierce stress of the circumstances, of facts and qualities which lie beneath the surface, and would probably remain there but for the disruption of a calamity. The people Mr. Vachell employs for his purpose are not all pleasant' (Birmingham Mail, 12 March 1915). The Globe, 11 March 1915, still advertised the play at the Savoy Theatre that night.
9 Apr 1915 Wild Thyme Unknown
14 May 1915 Alsace Professional
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This was a 'special flying matinee', followed by an evening performance in London. The Birmingham Evening Despatch commented that "Patriotic plays are not, as a rule, an ideal medium for artistic display of dramatic genius, and 'Alsace' [...] is no exception to the general rule' (15 May 1915). The Birmingham Mail added on the same day that ''Alsace' [...] is by no means a great work of art, but it sets out sincerely a very nice problem in patriotism.'
11 Nov 1915 Armageddon Professional
25 Dec 1915 The House That Jack Built Unknown
29 May 1916 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘A cleverly told and thrilling story dealing with the cute German espionage system, and yet abounding with sparkling humour, “The Man Who Stayed at Home,” again at the Theatre Royal this week, is admirably acted by Mr. E. Taylor Platt’s company. It is a most fascinating story, with many strong dramatic situations, and every incident was well brought out yesterday evening, the audiences time and again showing great appreciation of the clever work of the players' (Evening Despatch, 30 May 1916). ‘“The Man Who Stayed at Home,” presented [at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham] for the first time as a twice-nightly show, deals with exciting realities, and so deals with them as to entertain, while it stirs the patriotic emotions. The play is admirably interpreted by the Taylor Platt organisation' (The Era, 31 May 1916). ‘The Man Who Stayed at Home is one of very few War plays which have survived more than one visit , and the reason is not far to seek . It possesses much more domestic interest than the average, and the interesting story is promoted to its full advantage by the carefully company who bring it round to us periodically. The present occasion is no exception, and playgoers in large numbers again this week enjoy the piece thoroughly' (The Stage, 1 June 1916).
23 Oct 1916 A Kiss For Cinderella Professional
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The Birmingham Daily Post, 9 October 1916, advertised A Kiss for Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham from 23 October. The Birmingham Daily Gazette, 24 October 1916, published a review of the production: ‘it is a very Barrie-ish combination of fairy war revue mixed with the old-fashioned “Cinderella”’. The Birmingham Mail and the Birmingham Daily Post, 24 October 1916, published reviews of the production.
12 Mar 1917 A Kiss For Cinderella Professional
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The Birmingham Daily Post, Wednesday 28 February 1917, advertised A Kiss for Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham from 12 March. The Birmingham Daily Gazette, the Birmingham Daily Post and the Birmingham Mail (all 13 March 1917) published reviews of the production. The Birmingham Daily Post, 16 March 1917, advertised the last two nights of Hilda Trevelyan and Percy Hutchison in A Kiss for Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham.
19 Mar 1917 The Bing Boys Are Here Professional
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‘When a piece is built about a trio of personalities of the most distinctive type and it is played without those people it is liable to seem insipid, particularly if the understudies are faithful to the originals, and the first part of “The Bing Boys” at the Theatre Royal last night was tame. But Messrs. Gus Oxley and George Hestor and Miss Joan Hay, in the parts of George Robey, Alfred Lester, and Violet Lorraine, managed to give to the copies a great deal of their own vitality, and the second half the piece plainly justified the encomiums of the London Press on “The Bing Boys,” which is neither revue nor musical comedy, but a good deal of both with a large admixture of the cleverness of the trio of players just mentioned'. Evening Despatch, 20 March 1917.
12 Nov 1917 Inside the Lines Professional
8 Jul 1918 The Passing Show Of 1918 Unknown
9 Jul 1918 The Passing Show Of 1918 Professional
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"Miss Elle Retford, in the variety of parts which a passing show exacts, equally admirable in all; her imitation of Arthur Bouchier as Old Bill being almost as popular as her imitation of Billy Merson as the pirate of the good ship "Yacky-Hicky-Doolah" and rather more closely observed. Mr Harry Angers, the principal comedian of the North Country type, is also very amusing, and the rest bear their proper share of the the burden" Birmingham Daily Post, Tuesday 9 July 1918.
9 Nov 1918 The Burgomaster Of Stilemond Professional
23 Mar 1919 By Pigeon Post Professional
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Baliol Holloway (actor), Florence Helm (actress), Gilbert Heron (actor), Reginald Turner (actor), Arthur Hardy (producer)
24 Mar 1919 The Luck Of The Navy Professional
28 Apr 1919 Nurse Benson Professional
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‘“Nurse Benson,” paying its first visit to Birmingham is neither farce, comedy, nor romance. It is a combination of all three, and rarely have these elements been so deftly interwoven into one harmonious whole. From moments of quiet amusement the audience rise on a natural crescendo to a spasm of uncontrollable mirth' (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 29 April 1919). ‘As in many other pieces of a like texture, “Nurse Benson” is very largely dependent for the achievement of its object - which is solely and frankly to entertain - on the manner of its presentation; and here the authors are to be felicitated on the representation under notice' (The Stage, 1 May 1919).
21 Jul 1919 By Pigeon Post Professional
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Baliol Holloway (actor), Florence Helm (actress), Goodie Willis (actress), Gilbert Heron (actor). ''By Pigeon Post' returns here after a comparatively short interval...It is well presented by Arthur Hardy's well-balanced company. The leading parts are in extremely good hands, and full regard is paid to the possibilities of the tense situations...The play is most popular.' (Stage, 24 July 1919)
2 Aug 1919 Tails Up Professional
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‘“Tails Up” opened on Saturday a seven days’ tenancy at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, in the presence of a crowded holiday audience’. The cab shelter framework remained. F. G. Lloyd’s company included Edwin Adeler as a butler fallen on lean days, Hilda Simpson, Bert Marks [sic – Monks], Jack Leopold and Essie Brett (Birmingham Daily Gazette, Monday 4 August 1919). ‘A big holiday crowd enjoyed the unusual entertainment of “Tails Up’’ at the Theatre Royal last night. The singing of Miss Hilda Simpson, the sentimental spasms of Mr. Bert Monks, and the comic burlesque of the show kept the audience on good terms with themselves. Despite the uncommon nature of the production, it proved capital entertainment, and there should be big houses this week’ (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 5 August 1919).
5 Apr 1920 Seven Days Leave Professional
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With Alfred Paumier in his original role.
17 May 1920 Nurse Benson Professional
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‘Though it has few claims to real fame, “Nurse Benson” is such delightful comedy that one can easily forgive it for having survived its war-time atmosphere. It is one of those pleasant shows to which the hackneyed phrase of “welcome return visit” can be applied with some regard to the truth' (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 18 May 1920). Noted in The Stage, 20 May 1920.
24 Apr 1923 The Burgomaster Of Stilemond Professional
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Performed for one night as part of a week's repertoire by the company.
11 Nov 1924 The Burgomaster Of Stilemond Professional
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Performed for one night as part of a week's repertoire by the company.
31 Jul 1930 The Luck Of The Navy Professional