Great War Theatre

Address: London, UK

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
N/A The Book Seller Unknown
N/A Joyland Unknown
N/A Harry Tate's Advice Bureau Unknown
N/A Babies Adopted Unknown
N/A Poker Scene (for interpolation in 'Joyland' at the Hippodrome) Unknown
N/A The Conscienceless Objector Unknown
19 Oct 1914 A Nation's Hymn Unknown
16 Nov 1914 Business As Usual Unknown
16 Nov 1914 Business As Usual Professional
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Twice daily at 6.30 and 8.30. New revue entitled Business as Usual. (The Stage - Thursday 19 November 1914)
16 Nov 1914 Business As Usual Professional
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The third annual London Hippodrome revue will be produced on Monday under the title of Business as Usual. It is in eight scenes, with book by F.W.Mark and Albert P. de Courville, and music arranged by J.M.Glover. It will be produced by Mr. de Courville, and the dances will be under the direction of H.Hale. Harry Tato will head the cast. (The Stage - Thursday 12 November 1914)
25 Jan 1915 Sexton Blake On The East Coast Professional
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Performers: Carlotta De Yonson (Actress), Chas Gulliver (Booked on production). Reviews:"proving very successful on the Gulliver Circuit with their latest sketch of the Sexton Blake series", "another ten weeks to follow", The Era
31 Jan 1915 Business As Usual Professional
31 Jan 1915 Business As Usual Professional
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In eight scenes by F.W.Mark and Albert P. de Courville. Music arranged by J.W.Glover. Lyrics by F.W.Mark. Dances and ensembles by Harry Hall. (The People - Sunday 31 January 1915)
3 May 1915 Selling the Car Unknown
6 May 1915 Push and Go Unknown
29 Sep 1915 All Woman Revue Unknown
23 Dec 1915 Joyland Professional
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Joyland played at the Hippodrome, London for 8 months. All other dates are for the touring company which carried on performing into 1919. The sketch "The Conscienceless Objector" was added to the show on 23/3/1916.
23 Mar 1916 The Conscienceless Objector Professional
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The sketch became part of the show 'Joyland' on this day.
14 Sep 1916 Flying Colours Unknown
16 Sep 1916 Flying Colours Professional
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'For the choicest episode [in the revue Flying Colours] we have to thank Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather and Macdonald Hastings. They have reproduced on the stage not only “Johnston [sic] ‘Ole,” with its wonderful realisation in humorous lines of a bit of the front; they get the humour of Bairnsfather over the footlights, and with the humour some of the drama, the tenseness of the trenches. We have Old Bill with his walrus moustache (John Humphreys), and we have some of his pals. They sing and they joke just as we know our men sing and joke in the face of death, while we hear the whizz-bangs go by and listen to the crackle of the machine-guns. This was the “clou” of last night’s revue; the audience rejoiced in it’. The People, Sunday 17 September 1916. ‘We have a splendid “show,” beautiful scenes, beautiful dresses, hosts of pretty girls, a company of favourites capable of doing anything that was to be expected of them. But the witlessness! And the waste of good stuff! When it comes summing up such impressions as live, the one thing that survives is the little interpolated “ trench episode” by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather and Mr. B. Macdonald Hastings, an isolated sketch, having nothing whatever to do with the rest of the revue. This “Bairnsfatherland,” as it was called, was a genuine and delightful work of art - experience and thought and sympathy and humour as perfectly conveyed as they could well be. We all of us know the Bairnsfather pictures. In this little sketch we a sort of composite reproduction, with three Tommies and an officer. They go through the various Bairnsfather jokes - sing of jam and sergeants, “swear horribly” (by inference on the stage), grumble with breesy frankness over discomfort, and laugh at death with that triumphant crude Cockney humour whose secret Captain Bairnsfather has unlocked. Chief, of the three is Old Bill, the “Sea Lion,” beautifully played by Mr. John Humphries, just the rough, good-hearted, unshaven Rabelaisian, the Cockney “Old Moustache.” He and his mates sing and “chip” each other for a time in the dug-outs, and then an attack comes on and they “stand-to.” That is all; but there is art in it - something sincere, comic, poignant, memorable, true’. Pall Mall Gazette, 18 September 1916. 'Captain Bairnsfather’s name has occasionally been taken in vain for the reclame of a stage production. Now, for the first time, with the help of Mr. Macdonald Hastings, he avows a stage playlet, which is introduced to “Flying Colours,” and proves to be of a perfectly characteristic pathos and humour. The Hippodrome people, on their part, have provided a picturesque environment, and a rich and rare comedian in Mr. John Humphreys. “Bairnsfatherland; or, the Johnson ‘Ole,” was received with great applause, and deserved it’. The Globe, 18 September 1916. 'Bairnsfatherland is all too short a scene of trench life by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather and Mr Macdonald Hastings. This attempt to depict an actual scene of trench warfare at Christmas-time is a gem. Even in the tragedy of war humour is to be found and our mud-stained Tommies, indifferent to shell, and their peculiar trench language, makes one forget the horror of the tragedy. Old Bill in Johnson ‘Ole is a real Cockney, and Mr John Humphries interprets the character to perfection’. Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 September 1916. 'An early change [of scene] is made to “Bairnsfatherland, or the Johnson ‘Ole,” by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather and B. Macdonald Hastings, in which actuality is given to the “lights and shades of life near Plug-street Wood,” which have become so popular … In the Bairnsfather scene Mr. John Humphries, as the “Sealion” Old Bill, brings the humour of the trenches home to the audience, while Mr. Charles Berkeley and Mr. Edwin Ellis are invaluable auxiliaries in the fun-making’. The Era, 20 September 1916. 'the outstanding feature of the entertainment is the Bairnsfatherland sketch. Countless experts have agreed that in his pictures in The Bystander Captain Bruce Bairnsfather has expressed trench life to a nicety; but in the dramatised version the whole thing assumes a strange and more gripping reality. We see the trench-dwellers doing their work, joking as if there was no such thing in the world as danger, and singing funny parodies to the accompaniment of German shells, so that, judging by their attitude towards life as they find it, we can sympathise with Bert when he explains that he joined the Army because he was “fed up with the War.” Mr. John Humphries takes the part of the familiar walrus-featured out-since-Mons (aged 800 come next Push, as we are told!) - a splendid performance; in the opinion of Captain Bairnsfather, true to the very life. Nobody, young or old, should miss seeing “Bairnsfatherland,” for it is certainly one of the most realistic things in the whole history of stagecraft’. The Graphic, 23 September 1916. 'A dancing carnival provides [a] picturesque spectacle, though for popularity it will be run close by a most humorous and realistic trench sketch, invented by Captain Bairnsfather and Mr. Macdonald Hastings, and produced quite in the spirit of the soldier-artist’s famous drawings’. Illustrated London News, 23 September 1916. ‘“Bairnsfatherland” is alone quite sufficient to draw all London to “Flying Colours.” It is Bruce Bairnsfather types and Rudyard Kipling Tommies in the trenches; as comical as it is realistic, with a full hint of the grim horrors in the sequel. John Humphries, as “Old Bill” in the “Johnson ‘Ole” – “We won’t find a better ‘ole than this, Bert” - kept the house in a roar of laughter and sympathy - a most artistic bit of work’. Sporting Times, 23 September 1916. 'the realistic scene in the trenches, written by Capt. Bairnsfather, ... does great credit to his dramatic intuition. The scene shows the usual parapet of sandbags, and also the “dug-out,” which is also the sleeping apartment of the quartette of heroes. Old Bill (the Walrus), Jack Humphries: Our Bert (Chas. Berkeley), ‘Arry (Edwin Ellis), An Officer (Eric Cowley), one of whom declares if you want to enjoy a real rest you have to “sleep outside.” The four musketeers have but a scant respect for the enemy, yet at the same time a most warlike tendency to other persons. The Walrus, whilst filling up his pipe asks: “What are you going to do after the war, ‘Arry?” “I’m going to be a murderer,” says ‘Arry, in a most vindictive manner. “ First of all I’m going to murder all these ‘ere jam manufacturers.” Then he shows Bill a photo of his wife, whom he has married whilst on leave - the best girl in the world. “She likes ‘em plain,” is Bill’s cynical comment. Bill’s letter home is a gem. “Dear Mother,” he writes, I am surrounded by savage fighting.” (Chorus of corroboration). “Everybody is getting the wind up except me. I am expecting to be made a general, or leastways a company sergeant-major. I can’t write no more because of the horrid smell. - Your loving William.” “What about a P.S.?” suggests ‘Arry. “A blinking letter ain’t no good without a P.S.” “No, of course not,” reflects Bill, so he adds the postscript: “The language here is orful; but it’s all for King and country.” A sympathetic touch is given by Bill’s solicitude for his incautious but gallant young officer. Bill keeps gently moving him from one spot to another as an enemy sniper tries to pick him off. “Just kindly move up a bit more, sir,” he says, “it ain’t quite safe here.”’ The People, 24 September 1916. 'the gem of the entertainment is the sketch, “Bairnsfatherland,” the happy title of a lifelike scene from the trenches which has been prepared by two experts, Captain Bruce Bairnsfather of The Bystander and Lance-Corporal B Macdonald Hastings. Mr. John Humphries (who is the life and soul of the piece) is made up with a happy fidelity to represent the war-worn soldier who looks like a sea-lion, and whose appearance is criticised by his comrades accordingly; while Mr. Charles Berkeley is “Our Bert” to the life. His idea of awakening a sleeping comrade to inform him in confidence that there is a war on, was very happy. The audience, which, by the way, contained quite an unusual proportion of khaki, caught every point immediately, and the sketch went from first to last amid a storm of laughing and cheering that guaranteed its complete success’. The Bystander, 27 September 1916. ‘“Flying Colours” has been so successful that Mr. de Courville is looking for a theatre to which it may be transferred in [February]. We understand that Harry Thurston will shortly play Jack Humphries’ character in the revue’ (The People, 19 November 1916). An advertisement for Flying Colours in The Globe, 21 November 1916, lists Harry Thurston among the cast. ‘Next Saturday (January 13), “Flying Colours” retires from the Hippodrome, and the house will close for the rehearsal of Albert de Courville’s new revue, which has still to acquire a title’. Sporting Times, 6 January 1917.
29 Jan 1917 Zig-Zag Professional
27 Aug 1917 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren Other acts on the bill: Variety acts
22 Oct 1917 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren and company Other acts on the bill: Variety acts: Marie Lloyd, Anita Hayes, Jessie Preston, Gerrard, Dale and O'Malley, The Mezettis, Chas. Bignell
3 Dec 1917 Inside the Lines Professional
10 Dec 1917 Inside the Lines Professional
17 Dec 1917 Inside the Lines Professional
17 Dec 1917 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren Other acts on bill: Variety acts
18 Jan 1918 Inside the Lines Professional
3 Mar 1918 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren Other acts on bill: Variety acts: Gertie Gitana, Edie Veno, Garadini, Dale and O'Malley, Barts Trio, Takio, Harry Leybourne, Shawlene
6 May 1918 Inside the Lines Professional
14 Oct 1918 Ocean Waves Professional
21 Oct 1918 Ocean Waves Professional
18 Nov 1918 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren Other acts on the bill: Variety acts: Marie Lloyd, Tom Costello, Ray and Bunny Kingston, Mezzettis, Bros. Curran, May Starr
25 Nov 1918 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren and company Other acts on the bill: Variety acts incl. Marie Lloyd
2 Dec 1918 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren
9 Dec 1918 Ocean Waves Professional
16 Dec 1918 The Frenchwoman Professional