Great War Theatre

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
22 Dec 1914 The Bachelor's Defence League Unknown
8 Feb 1915 Mrs Thompson Unknown
15 Feb 1915 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘… Besides being full of excitement and topical interest, the play is funny throughout’ (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 12 February 1915). ‘At a tragic time like this one has a natural prejudice against drama dealing with it, for the war is too real and too much with us for it to seem the proper subject at present for artistic treatment. But much before the end of the first act of “The Man who Stayed at Home,” which was presented at the Lyceum Theatre, last night, that prejudice had been dissipated. It is a play all about German spies, seemingly as unpromising a subject as one could conceive, but the treatment is so clever and tactful that there is nothing in it untimely or out of place. The construction of the plot is remarkably ingenious and the strong permeation of humour artfully avoids the danger of melodrama.. Yet the play holds with its thrilling interest … “The Man Who Stayed at Home” is a striking recruitment play … those who want a laugh and a thrill at the same time will … not miss “The Man Who Stayed at Home”‘. The cast was George Tully, George Martin, Gordon Bailey, Charles Grenville, Mary Merrall, Esty Marsh, Lola Duncan, Mary Relph who were members of the Vedrenne and Eadie company (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 12 February 1915). Also reviewed in The Stage, 18 February 1915.
23 Aug 1915 The Day Before The Day Professional
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‘At the Lyceum Theatre [next week] a story of absorbing interest is to be presented in “The Day Before the Day,” which incidentally illustrates the danger to Great Britain in allowing Germans who have become naturalised in form, but not in spirit, to remain at large. It is a battle of wits between German spies and an English officer, who seeks to get hold of their information, and thus turn the tables on the enemy ... The mounting of the play is on a lavish scale, and the scenery and properties are those actually used at the St. James’s Theatre, London’ (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 20 August 1915). ‘In “The Day Before the Day,” from the St. James’s Theatre, which opened a week’s visit at the Lyceum, Sheffield, last night, Mr. C. B. Fernald has produced a war play that seizes firm hold of our nerves at the beginning, and goes on shaking them till the very end. We are in the midst of treasons, stratagems, and spoils, villainies as black as night, all full-flavoured with a mighty German hatred of England ... It is not till the very finish that the villains are foiled, and we are allowed to breathe freely again. Fortunately, however, a good deal of humour is introduced by the character of a brave Englishman, who is bent on unmasking the scheme, and this, and one or two other touches of comedy, relieve the tension. Melodramatic though it undoubtedly is, “The Day Before the Day” is a good play. It holds our interest enchained, and had a very hearty reception. In its dialogue there are several smart hits, and the whole piece is cleverly constructed' (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 24 August 1915). ‘“The Day before the Day,” presented this week at the Lyceum by Cecile Barclay and Rupert Lester, is a strong drama, full of exciting incidents, dealing with the great German spy question in our land' (Sheffield Independent, 24 August 1915). ‘“The Day Before the Day,” played at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, apart from its intrinsic dramatic quality, has a distinct propagandist bias. It makes the spy peril instant and real, just as the novel “The Riddle of the Sands” years ago exposed Germany’s sinister preparations for a descent upon this island at the ripe moment ... Mr. Fernald’s play is a capital example of its kind that should command big houses throughout the week' (Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 24 August 1915).
9 Sep 1915 Armageddon Professional
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The company were at the theatre for a week and performed it within a repertory of plays which also included 'Hamlet', 'The Only Way', and 'The Breed of the Treshams'
29 Nov 1915 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘“The Man Who Stayed at Home,” the spy play, in which Messrs. Vedrenne and Eadie’s company is paying a return visit to the Lyceum Theatre this week, was last night again followed by a large audience with an interest that never wearied. The reasons for the success of this absorbing production are not far to seek. Running through the atmosphere of intrigue and the contest of cunning for world-stakes there is an intermittent flow of high comedy which gave an air of actuality to the whole. In this way the play furnished all the thrills that were anticipated without the sense of the theatre obtruding itself unduly’. The cast included George Tully, J. Augustus Keogh, Charles Grenville, Laurie Flockton, C. Haviland-Burke, Gladys Hamilton, Valerie Richards, Christine Jensen, Mignon O’Doherty (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 30 November 1915). ‘It is not at all surprising that really well-written play which makes the operations of the German spy in this country its theme should prove the tremendous success which has attended “The Man Who Stayed at Home,” now making a return visit to the Lyceum. All the obvious traces of pronounced melodrama are avoided ... Incidentally there is a wholesome moral drawn against the tendency of the times to sit in judgment on those who for reasons which must remain personal cannot enlist’ (Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 30 November 1915).
22 Jan 1917 The Bing Boys Are Here Professional
24 May 1917 Britannia’s Revue Amateur
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Whilst the play had been performed since January 1915, this was the first time the play was performed with a license from the Lord Chamberlain. The performance was in aid of the Soldiers' Comforts Fund. 'Britannia's Revue needs no introduction to a Sheffield audience but those who did not see yesterday's performance missed one of the best numbers comprising the series, namely, the entry of America, our latest ally, into Britannia's court.' Performers included: The Misses Calladine (presenters), Mis Lillas Hawson, Miss Winifred Unwin, other well-known elocutionists, Miss Ethel Prescott's Ladies' Choir.' (Sheffield Daily Telegraph)
18 Mar 1918 Peace Time Prophecies or Stories Gone Wrong Professional
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‘Nothing quite like “Bubbly” has been seen at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre for long since. If its name is intended to suggest an impression of sparkling effervescence, the selection is well chosen. It is a musical play innocent of plot, but with an abundance of mirth and melody, and with all the rollicking comedy that have been the familiar and favourite ingredients of the revue form of entertainment, with perhaps just sufficient touch of sedateness to distinguish it from the music-hall atmosphere’ (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 19 March 1918). ‘There are some very clever artistes and some intensely amusing situations in “Bubbly,” presented last night at the Lyceum Theatre. But it must be said that there was here and there a lack of cohesion which detracted from the brilliance of a cleverly written entertainment. On the other hand, the audience, in the majority, was painfully obtuse and did not seem to appreciate the humour which was not sufficiently labelled. One of the scenes which made the sides of the audience ache with laughter was that in which Edmund Russell, with rare skill, hit off the major’s ineffectual attempt to conform to peace-time comforts. As Old Bill, too, he was excellent. Miss Edith Payne, who is well-known to Sheffield audiences, scored a big success in her various parts, not the least successful being in Bubble 4 with her song “Hawaian Butterfly.” Claude Ryder and Gaby Condor were other outstanding members of the cast, the duet, “Have you forgotten ?” being one of the best received items of the evening. Violet Valerie danced very cleverly, and the chorus throughout lent graceful assistance’ (Sheffield Independent, 19 March 1918). Also a brief notice in The Stage, 21 March 1918.
8 Apr 1918 The Invisible Foe Professional
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Performed for the week by Julian Royce (actor) and Queenie Gwynne (actress).
20 May 1918 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘Next Week’s Amusements. A good list of holiday attractions is announced for the Sheffield theatres, music-balls, and picture palaces. The popular spy play, “The Man Who Stayed at Home,” should prove a capital draw at the Lyceum. It achieved much success at the Royalty Theatre. The play deals with events that are supposed to take place in a town on the East Coast in September, 1914. It is both amusing and thrilling, and its strength is shown by the fact that it is now in its fourth year of tour’ (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 17 May 1918). ‘It is no wonder that “The Man who Stayed at Home” maintains its popularity, and that although it is this week paying its third visit in four years to the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, the audience last night was as large and appreciative as ever. It is a capital German spy play, full of plot and counter-plot, and enlivened with a great deal of humour. It is presented by an excellent company’ (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 21 May 1918).
21 Apr 1919 Seven Days Leave Professional
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Presented by Walter Howard's principal company.
12 May 1919 Nurse Benson Professional
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‘The humours of war rations and heroic civilian self-denial are already out of date as the jokes that may have entertained Troy, and to that extent “Nurse Benson” suffers. Indeed, most of us are only too eager to escape the war atmosphere for a year or two, and would welcome new plays or old plays that do not cater for the war-time audience After that grumble, we must say that Mr. R. C. Carton and Mr. Justin M’Carthy have written a charming play, and the run it has had in London is not surprising. It is slight certainly, too slight for four acts, and the first especially falls flat, but the fourth makes up for all. It was thoroughly enjoyed by the Lyceum audience last night, and notwithstanding the mild weather there should be full houses for the rest of the week' (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 13 May 1919). Noted in The Stage, 15 May 1919.
11 Aug 1919 The Freedom of the Seas Professional
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Presented for the week by Thomas C. Dagnall's company: cast included J. Lawrence Anderson (actor), Evelyn Ormonde (actress).
24 May 1920 Nurse Benson Professional
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‘“Nurse Benson,” which Miss Marie Lohr’s company is presenting next week, It is a delicious little comedy, instinct with the spirit of the hour, and has earned encomiums wherever it has been staged. It is from the pen of Mr. R. C. Carton and Mr. Justine [sic] Huntly McCarthy, and centres round a wounded hero and a nurse. The play is full of bright, engaging humour, and - this will be a recommendation to surfeited playgoers - the horrors of war have been skirted with complete success' (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 21 May 1920). ‘The holiday audience at the Lyceum Theatre gave a warm welcome last night to Miss Marie Lohr’s company when they presented “Nurse Benson,” a comedy by R. C. Carton and Justin Huntly McCarthy. “Nurse Benson” is one of the best of the comedies of the war era. Opening strongly, it works up to an exceedingly clever climax. So many comedies open well but end tamely. This is not so with “Nurse Benson”; the last act is the best of the four. It is pure comedy, and as such deserves well of the public' (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 25 May 1920).
17 Nov 1922 The Burgomaster Of Stilemond Professional
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Performed for one night as part of a week's repertoire by the company.
3 Mar 1930 The Luck Of The Navy Professional