Great War Theatre

Address: London, UK

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
N/A The Amorist Unknown
30 Mar 1915 The Little White Thought Unknown
9 Jun 1915 Gamblers All Unknown
28 Aug 1915 The Ware Case Unknown
4 Dec 1915 The Fatal Typist Unknown
16 Mar 1916 A Kiss For Cinderella Unknown
16 Mar 1916 A Kiss For Cinderella Professional
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'‘Now we know why so careful a secrecy was maintained in regard to “A Kiss for Cinderella” from J. M. Barrie. It is hard to think what could have been said to convey to the public an idea of the play. And the task of the critic, having witnessed the production at Wyndham’s Theatre, is no less difficult. Let this be put record at the outset: “A Kiss for Cinderella” is far and away the most distinguished and charming work we have had from Sir James Barrio for years. We will forgive and forget the dull and pompous “Der Tag,” the ultra-fantastic music-hall sketches, and pot-boiling one-act plays that would have escaped adulation, even serious consideration, but for the name of their author. In “A Kiss for Cinderella” are all the characteristic qualities of the author. But the humour is restrained and mostly intelligible, the insight to character, especially of women and children, keen and penetrating, the portraiture vivid and sympathetic ... There is not a war speech in the play, which is full of wisdom about the war. As, indeed, it is full of wisdom, touched with benevolence, about many things’. The Globe, 17 March 1916. ‘Did Sir James Barrie mean anything profoundly practical in the beautiful little cluster of fancies that he made into last night’s beautiful little play at Wyndham’s? Better not worry. It is a thoroughly Barrie play, about a thoroughly Barrie Cinderella who was something of Wendy as well, and absolutely did have a little German baby - an “orpheling” - among her adopted family! Naturally a German baby nowadays puts a first-night audience on the alert. But it would just spoil everything if any one pretended that Sir James ever meant to come nearer this terrible old earth of ours at all than this realm of Barrie-land which is so scattered about in hearts and fancies and streets and shops and newspapers and far-off seas and close-at-home nurseries that no one can say that it is anywhere'. Pall Mall Gazette, 17 March 1916. ‘Much Barrie pleasant sentiment about the war, our Tommies and nurses, the present breaking-down of class barriers, and so forth helped the last Act along’. The Times, 17 March 1916. ‘It is not the in power of precis and paraphrase, says a critic, to convey the rarer qualities of Sir James Barrie’s new play, “A Kiss for Cinderella.” “Where is fancy bred, or in the heart or in the head?” Both head and heart have their share in this play, which Sir James calls “a fancy.” ... Half the play is tender fun and quaint pathos, true for any year in the world’s history. Another part is keenly, insistently of the moment, poignant just because it is a true tale of England in time of war'. Yorkshire Evening Post, 18 March 1916. ‘Fun and Fantasy at Wyndham’s. Sir James Barrie in the theatre is law unto himself. No one would dare, as indeed one could do, what he dares and does. “A Kiss for Cinderella” is at once the most charming and elusive, the most perplexing and daring thing on the contemporary stage; if anyone but Barrie had written it failure - or something like it - would have peeped out from every other line, but as it is Barrie, while we should not like to predict for this “fancy in three acts” a brilliant success we should not be at all surprised if it proved the play of the season'. The People, 19 March 1916. '‘In the course of time our dictionaries will embrace the word “Barrie,” “meaning thereby,” as lawyers say, a whimsical idea, partly comic, partly pathetic, in unstable proportions varying with the mood of the spectator or auditor. “A Kiss for Cinderella” is full of “Barries” - a few indifferent, like those in “Rosy Rapture,” but mostly delightful. What’s it all about? Who knows? Who cares? Let us say about Cinderella plus Wendy plus Little Mary plus Hilda Trevelyan ... Sometimes, perhaps, we were rather puzzled than pleased; still, these times were comparatively rare. As a rule, it was laughter; but laughter generally with a very thin partition between it and the tears department'. The Sketch, 22 March 1916. 'there is much to rejoice the heart in “A Kiss for Cinderella.” It is quaint and funny, and dear and tender and wistful in the way in which only Barrie can be all these things. It may not be the best Barrie, but it is the Barrie that touches the heart and disarms criticism. It is full of sentiment, it is full of humour, it defies analysis, and it is wholly charming.there is much to rejoice the heart in “A Kiss for Cinderella.” It is quaint and funny, and dear and tender and wistful in the way in which only Barrie can be all these things. It may not be the best Barrie, but it is the Barrie that touches the heart and disarms criticism. It is full of sentiment, it is full of humour, it defies analysis, and it is wholly charming ... It is fairly safe to prophesy that “A Kiss for Cinderella” is going to be one of Sir James Barrie’s most emphatic successes’. The Era, 22 March 1916. 'J. M. Barrie has filled out his main plot with so many small details (some of them otiose and even a trifle childish and tedious) and with excursions into such a number of side issues that the bare enumeration of them, let alone their exhaustive discussion, would occupy more space than can be spared in these “War-Times,” a phrase to which too frequent reference is made in the course of what is largely a topical and hence necessarily ephemeral, rather than logically coherent and homogeneous, piece of work ... “A Kiss for Cinderella” is pretty sure to win a fitting measure of success at Wyndham’s during this spring and summer’. The Stage, 23 March 1916. ‘There is a Scots epithet called “auld farrant.” It means something more than old-fashioned, and more or less implies carrying on into mature years the wonderments of childhood. It also involves what used in the seventeenth century to be called “conceits.” The epithet connotes the quality of Sir J. M. Barrie better than any other. He has the wonderful power of being able to write down what as a child he dreamed and desired - not that he need have dreamed and desired more than other children, but these impressions fade with most of us into the light of common day'. The Graphic, 25 March 1916. ‘The wise playgoer, when he gets a new Barrie play, does not examine it critically and compare it with others from the same hand, wondering whether it does not lack this or that feature supplied before. It is enough for him that this magician has dipped into his lucky-bag again, which is as much as to say that he has given us his own inimitable mixture of sentiment and whimsy, of thoughtfulness and fun, of what is touching and natural, and what is Puck-like and weird. That is the spirit in which you should accept “A Kiss for Cinderella.” No one else but its author would have written, no one else would have succeeded with such a mélange. He might have done it a little better - made that third act something less like an after-thought and an excrescence. But none the less it is pure Barrie, and much of it the best Barrie ... itis not all dream we get, for this Barrie play is by way of being a war-play: and so not only does this little studio slavey do her bit and rouse a policeman’s suspicions by running a little crêche of her own, she achieves one of her great wishes, which is to nurse the wounded'. Illustrated London News, 25 March 1916. '‘A little maid-of-all work who wins Prince Charming in her dreams and who mates with a stolid policeman in the end. A bit of everything in the best Barrie vein; and the various ingredients - pantomime, melodrama, and comedy - mixed by a master hand. A fairy tale for grown-ups. A delicious combination of fantasy and realism. Quaint concerts, whimsical ideas, tender pathos, evasive, and yet entirely human. In dramatic form, lacking continuity and often puzzling. Characteristics of an author and poet that abounds in surprises, and holds the secret of enduing his characters with a lovable interest all their own. With its lights and shades, such was the play that delighted and amused us at Wyndham’s last Thursday night'. Sporting Times, 25 March 1916. '‘This must be almost, if not quite, the best play that Sir James Barrie has written. It is a delightful “Fancy” about a Cinderella who is not really a Cinderella, and who begins by yearning for a Fairy Prince, and ends by falling in love with a common or garden policeman. It is not the kind of play that anyone is expected to follow laboriously. You sit and, as it were, absorb it. It grows on you as it proceeds. Apparently without sequence or purpose at the commencement, it develops into a well-ordered story, a perfect tale from dreamland, the humour of which is so delicately poised that here and there you find yourself inevitably hovering between the smile and the tear ... In “Cinderella’s” nursery there are four little girls. One is English, another French, another Belgian, and another – alien! Just that. In this terrible war we had been getting used to the rather un-British way of thinking that the best kind of alien, is a dead alien; and here we have the gentle reminder that to us a helpless child has no nationality, and no particular status except its divine right to the “cup of cold water”'. The Bystander, 29 March 1916. '‘If you were to ask me what I really thought of Barrie’s new fantasy, “A Kiss for Cinderella,” which Mr. Curzon and Mr. du Maurier produced, the other day at Wyndham’s, I should say that it was Barrie at his - second best. It is very charming, very dainty, very - if I may so express it - “surprising,” but, as a fantasy, it is a wee bit tired. The author’s quaint fancies do not dance as they used to. They are more measured, more mechanical; there sometimes lies over them an atmosphere of “strain” ... to create laughter, the while one feels one wants to cry - that is true sentiment, that is real charm. This is the greatness of Barrie. He stirs within our hearts those foolish fancies which are the foundation of nearly all one’s day dreams. He does not make us think, but he makes us feel as we did when we were children and the world was full of wonder, and there was no such thing as the impossible, and people were either very good or very bad, and if they were good they were made happy ever afterwards, and if they were bad they were miserable and lonely because nobody loved them. But it seems to me I have done nothing to describe the play. Yet how can one relate a fantasy in the language of bald description? ... The play was received with the utmost enthusiasm. Which, when you come to think of it, leaves so little more to be said, doesn’t it?’. The Tatler, 29 March 1916. ‘Sir J. M. Barrie calls his new piece “A fancy in three acts,” but what it really is four fancies in four acts, for there are four principal scenes, and each scene is so different from the others as to constitute a fresh fancy of its own. It is true that the two chief characters, the policeman-prince and his Cinderella, continue throughout the piece, but they are met with in surroundings so new and whimsical that it is almost as impossible to think of “Cinderella” as a connected entertainment as it was to regard “Rosy Rapture” in the same light. In this sense it falls well below the standard of “The Admirable Crichton| and “What Every Woman Knows,” but is all the same a most agreeable succession of detached pictures in the comical-pathetic style so long associated with the Baronet’s name'. Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 8 April 1916. ‘“A Kiss for Cinderella” is one of those plays which you either love or can’t sit through. I have heard people pass both these sentences upon it. Personally, I love it. It is almost as disjointed as a revue, but it is so charming and so perfectly played that you quite forget that it isn’t a play at all, but merely a stage fairy story for which somebody has forgotten the music’. The Tatler, 26 April 1916. ‘Last night at the New Theatre [sic] Sir J. M. Barrie’s play, “A Kiss for Cinderella,” reached its 50th performance. The play appeals to … many different sides of human nature … There is the patriotic side – droll Private Danny in the nursing home, dancing with the prettily titled probationer, and showing the English soldier at his naughtiest and his most gallant’. The Times, Friday 28 April 1916. ‘“A Kiss for Cinderella” at Wyndham’s came to a close last night’. Sunday Mirror, 30 July 1916.
2 Aug 1916 The Sister-in-Law Unknown
19 Sep 1916 The Old Country Unknown
1 Dec 1916 London Pride: A Film Without A Flicker Unknown
19 Jun 1917 The Confederates Unknown
30 Apr 1918 Kitty Breaks Loose Unknown
14 May 1918 Kitty Breaks Loose Professional
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This was the play's first performance. The Stage, 9 May 1918 advertised: ‘Wyndham’s Theatre. Grand Soirée Tuesday, May 14th, 7.30pm., in aid of The Wounded Soldiers Social Entertainment Fund (Registered.) New Comedy – “Kitty Breaks Loose” [by] Kingston Stack. (All Male parts taken by Men who have been in the Trenches.) AND “The Old Lady Shows Her Medals” [by] Sir J. M. Barrie. (Jean Cadell – G. H. Mulcaster) Usual Theatre Prices’.
28 Jun 1918 A Well-Remembered Voice Unknown
28 Jun 1918 A Well-Remembered Voice Professional
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The Tatler, 12 June 1918, published a photograph of the staff of The Countess of Lytton’s War Hospital Staff with the comment, ‘The Countess of Lytton opened her military hospital in Charles Street in 1914, and personally superintended its organisation and equipment. A matinée in aid of the funds of this hospital will be held at Wyndham’s Theatre on June 24, at which, amongst other items, three new plays by Sir J. M. Barrie will be produced’. ‘Three Barrie plays - two of them new - were produced at Wyndham’s Theatre yesterday in aid of the Countess of Lytton’s Hospital. Naturally there was a very big audience. The exact figure was not forthcoming, but not far short of £1,400 must have been obtained ... The Barrie pieces were: (1) “The Origin of Harlequin” (2) “La Politesse” (3) “A Well-Remembered Voice”' (Westminster Gazette, 29 June 1918). 'Art happened in downright earnest, an art of exquisite delicacy and reticence, an art which might be called quintessence of Barrie. It is art that interprets “the sense of tears in human things,” yet is never lachrymose, is, in fact, a resolute protest against tears, a quiet denial of the bitterness of death - art, in short, that, if the old Aristotelian theory were not now out of fashion, might rank as a real cathartic' (review of A Well-Remembered Voice in The Times quoted in the Westminster Gazette, 29 June 1918). 'The piece contains many of Sir James’s happy and ingenious fancies; but it all seems inquisitive, speculative; in short. conscious effort, whereas what is required in a theme of this kind is imagination; the subconsciousness that never argues but creates a world to which experience stretches out its hands and which the soul never questions' (Morning Post quoted in the Westminster Gazette, 29 June 1918). 'If the theatre would but give us more plays like the “Kiddies in the Ruins” and “A Well-Remembered Voice” it would be doing splendid work' (Daily News quoted in the Westminster Gazette, 29 June 1918). 'The wonder of that duologue, spoken by actors of such quality as Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson and Mr. Gerald du Maurier, remains a precious memory … It is inconceivable that such a play should be limited in its scope to a casual matinée performance. Every father bereaved by the war should see it, and, like Mr. Don, he encouraged thereby to “keep bright.” That is Barrie’s war message to his fellow-men’ (Daily Express quoted in the Westminster Gazette, 29 June 1918). 'this poem of a play' (Yorkshire Evening Post, 29 June 1918). '“A Well-Remembered Voice” handles with gentle fingers the loss of young life at the front and the desire of the bereaved to know that all is well with their dead. It begins with table-rapping, the father sitting unbelieving while others try the machinery of spiritualism; it ends with a talk à deux between the startled father and the young voice he so much misses - just a talk about simple little domestic things, sport and dogs and father’s pipe, and cheery words of comfort and affection. Beautifully managed, it is beautifully played by Sir Johnston Forbes Robertson, Miss Faith Celli, and Mr. du Maurier’ (Illustrated London News, 6 July 1918). 'Only a Barrie could have written such a beautiful little fantasy as The Well-Remembered Voice. It would have been so easy to have spoiled the whole idea. One false step, and such is the delicacy of this little piece, that the whole would have been ruined, and out of the ruins would have sprung something far worse than mere failure - a fairy tale of bathos and callous disrespect. But this false step was never taken. The whole lovely idea of this soldier-son speaking with his father from beyond the grave was preserved intact. It made The Well-Remembered Voice one of the most beautiful little one-act plays of our time, and with it I would bracket The Old Lady Shows Her Medals - another Barrie masterpiece in war sentiment ... There can be no doubt that The Well-Remembered Voice will be seen again - and seen again very soon. We cannot afford to lose sight of anything so perfect in its sentiment and in its theory of life after death’ (he Tatler, 17 July 1918).
29 Jun 1918 La Politesse Unknown
29 Aug 1918 The Amorist Professional