Great War Theatre

Performances at this Theatre

N/A The Tents of the ArabsUnknown
N/A A Flash Of LightingUnknown
N/A No Reflection on the WifeUnknown
N/A The CallUnknown
10 Dec 1914 The SloughUnknown
17 Dec 1914 The Mineral WorkersUnknown
29 Jan 1915 Nobody Loves MeUnknown
22 Mar 1915 Hullo Repertory!Unknown
17 May 1915 Played OutUnknown
4 Nov 1915 The Full Moon [A Bit o' Love]Professional
15 Dec 1915 John FergusonUnknown
27 Dec 1915 Higgledy-PiggledyUnknown
18 Mar 1916 Hush! Before The Play!Unknown
10 Apr 1916 The Shewing up of Blanco PosnetUnknown
23 Dec 1916 Nothing NewUnknown
23 Dec 1916 Nothing NewProfessional
Read Narrative
‘At the Repertory Theatre Miss Pratt and Mr. Bridges Adams announce a double bill – a children’s play, “The Palace of Cards,” for the afternoons, and for the evenings (beginning the 23rd) “Nothing New.” The latter is a revue of a novel kind by Mr. Hastings Turner, the author of “Iris Intervenes,” with music by our old friend Mr. Lawrence Hanray. The scenery for both productions in the expert hands of Mr. George Harris’ (Liverpool Daily Post, 8 December 1916). ‘Mr. J. H. Turner has made a desperate attempt be funny. His revue gives one an impression that at times he hardly knows what to do next, and only the sheer determination of the Repertory players held the fragments together. Like the stage elephant, head, trunk, body, and legs all seemed to be going different ways. It was impossible tell which was the revue, the hesitation of the management, or the nervousness of the players. Criticism, therefore, is out of court; the critic who, like his prototype in the ‘‘Vestibule” scene, had walked in at half past ten would have missed nothing vital. He would have missed a good laugh, however, probably at things never intended by the dramatist. Two moods commanded success on Saturday night – the Christmas mood of the audience, which was decidedly festive, and the brave mood of the players, who obviously insufficiently rehearsed, with a chorus that was all dressed up with nowhere to go, and scenery in a similar condition of uncertainty, nevertheless extracted the last laugh from a text not very brilliant. The revue opens with the sitting of a tribunal, consisting of two - Mr. Shine as Chairman and Miss Yarde as the Lady Censor. This scene was saved from collapse by the bomb of a Dilapidated Person, who in Mr. Greenwood proved that destruction may be construction. For the next two hours the Chairman and the Lady Censor walk through history in search of something new. They start from the Flood, and after a tedious interview with Noah, his sons, and the animals of the Ark, walk through a muslin curtain into the Stone Age. Here in this prehistoric setting we meet Mr. Lane Bayliff as George, carrying off Miss Muriel Pratt, the girl, with Mr. Troode as Fred, the wronged husband, following with a large club. The men are scantily attired, but the woman, as usual, manages to excel in the test of simplicity, for she is almost as décolleté as a lady at a modern dinner party. The prehistoric dance was humorous, and when it has been worked up a little Miss Pratt and Mr. Bayliff will have a real laughter-maker. The Tribunal pair next inspect Sardis, B.C 490, where the same old lies of victory are told in the same old way, and a flapper flutters through the joy of a flag day. Miss Fay Yerrel has a catchy little duet in this scene, and Mr. Morrow, as the Reporter, conducts himself in quite a Harmless and Calmelite manner. The Greek Prisoners would charm even a Tino into decision. The back cloth showing nailed Hindenburg drew immediate approval. We now pass on to a few minutes of legitimate drama in “A Room in an Inn near Havre, 1793.” Toinette, a country girl, saves the Marquis by killing the member of the Civil Guard who comes to arrest him. The drama is enacted in dumbshow, with exquisite music by Dr. James Lyon, whose scoring is something new and desirable. Miss Pratt in her miming was superb, as were also Mr. Lane Bayliff and Mr. Greenwood: even the Lady Censor wept. It was the one complete and convincing scene of the evening. The first half of the programme is completed in “The Vestibule of the Theatre” with the company protesting against their wretched revue: the curtain falls to a big noise, called in opera the finale. It is a joy, in the second part, to find Mr. Shine, divested of his wonderful make-up as John Bull, keeping a shop in an English village, 1917. The Shopman observes all the regulations, the hours when he may or may not sell sugar and writing paper. Miss Yarde, as the village gossip, has a “hearty” scene with the Shopman, and then the stage is cleared for the approach of Walter the Waster, the Squire’s son, who is really Miss Muriel Pratt in Vesta Tilley mood, and she sings a neat little lyric with masculine gestures. The success of the evening was achieved in the next scene, “Love in Low Life, 1917,” by Mr. Lane Bayliff and Miss Doris Lloyd, who captivated the house with their coster song and dance, splendidly performed. It was such an energetic bit of work that the encore seemed almost cruelty. In the Conservatory, 1999, we find the Lady Censor being shocked by the march of Time, for a young lady, in trousers, is preparing to propose to a young man, who blushes shyly on a lounge, and finds the question rather sudden. Miss Thorndike and Mr. Troode have a splendid little scene together, although it suffers from the intrusion of two inquisitive children in the impressive form of Mr. Shine and Miss Yarde. Following an argument before the curtain, and a capital song Mr. C. Rose, we pass into a West-end theatre, where the methods of the conquering Alexander are cleverly parodied. The aristocratic tragedy of the lady with three chins, the precise declamation, the dodging of the furniture, and the rectitude of the butler are exhaustingly funny, especially the Tanquerish Mrs. Vane, whose voluptuous deportment is like castor oil on milk. Scene 6, “His Sin: or, a Girl in Million,” is real melodrama, with a villain with a black moustache, otherwise Mr. Lane Bayliff: the heroic Lieutenant Bentrave, splendid in gold braid and grease paint, otherwise Mr. Ashton Pearse: and the usual fair, wronged maiden, whose babe is in meat-safe deposit. Morality lines are thrown to the gods and bring forth a trade union applause. The curtain falls on a frustrated villain and a discovered grandfather. The last scene takes us to the musical comedy slate of Bentravia, where Gerald, the Prince, admirably acted by Mr. Charles R. Rose, has blue eyes, wavy hair, and red breeches. Aurora Binns, in reality the Princess Vania, in fact Miss Muriel Pratt, blandishes in quite a Dareing [sic] manner, and skips, like a maid in a mantle department. All ends happily, however: the Prince discovers the Princess, after singing lustily, and the couple are united as the ladies and gentlemen in waiting crowd to the backcloth and yell the chorus. Thus ended “Nothing New,’’ which does not belie its title. The performance took nearly three hours and a half: cut down an hour it would seem more compact; but as is, there is a full measure of enjoyment, a multitudinous array of capital scenery, pleasant if not very entrancing music by Mr. Lawrence Hanray, and a company determined to make you laugh. One leaves the theatre, marvelling at the physical resources of repertory players “Nothing New” is truly a tour-de-force’ (Liverpool Daily Post, 26 December 1916). The Liverpool Echo, Saturday 3 February 1917, advertised Nothing New that day at 2.30 and 7.30. In the following week Somerset Maugham’s Penelope would play on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday and the ‘last four performances’ of Nothing New would be on Wednesday-Friday evenings and a Wednesday matinee.