Great War Theatre

Address: 27 Leicester Square and 23-25 Charing Cross Road, London, Westminster, WC2H, England

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
N/A The Terrible Trial Unknown
N/A Having It Out Unknown
N/A Getting a Taxi Unknown
N/A It Happens Every Day Unknown
10 Jan 1915 The Ruling Passion Unknown
10 Jan 1915 Our Tyrants Unknown
15 Mar 1915 5064 Gerrard Unknown
2 Jun 1915 Aquata The Tank Queen Unknown
2 Jun 1915 St Antony Unknown
5 Oct 1915 Now's The Time Unknown
18 Nov 1915 The Theatre Of The Soul Unknown
10 Jan 1916 The Confidence Trick Unknown
19 Apr 1916 The Bing Boys Are Here Professional
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'Originality, beauty, smartness, and witching music suggest themselves as the leading qualities of this astonishing revue, almost the last word in luxury one would think. It has a kind of plot, sufficient at any rate to keep the three or four leading characters in touch with each other, so that they may renew acquaintance through the depths of any disguise which freakishness happens to impose on them ... we are fairly launched, one splendid combination of scenery, costumes, and acting following another in rich profusion ... Only a theatrical costumier could do faint justice to the beauty and variety of the dresses. They delight the eye with ever fresh contrasts and harmonies ... A more successful entertainment than “The Bing Boys are Here” has not been put on the Alhambra stage since it was first laid down. It will surely draw all London’. The Sportsman, 20 April 1916. 'The new Alhambra revue will make Oswald’s Toll of theatre taxes to the State a heavy one. The scenery is at times quite elaborate, and the dresses of the chorus are really charming - almost as charming as the faces'. The Daily Mirror, 21 April 1916. 'Judging from its reception this week, the new revue at the Alhambra is assured of a long and successful run. “The Bing Boys are Here” is the title given to the production ... The mirth is constant, and the revue, which is admirably staged, is certainly one of the best that London has seen’. Leeds Mercury, 22 April 1916. '‘“The Bing Boys are Here,” and they have come to stop for a long and prosperous period, judging from the rapturous and enthusiastic reception accorded to the new revue last Wednesday night ... The book itself is not too striking in ideas, and there was very apparent “dragging” towards the end owing to the overloading of the show by the introduction of topical songs, imitations, and the like, which by now, no doubt, have been excised by the stage manager ... on the whole the music was not much above the revue average. The mounting and dressing of the production was of a lavish and elegant nature and adds further laurels to Mr. Oswald Stoll’s artistic taste and astute judgment in providing the pleasure-loving public with a first-class and really mirthful evening’s amusement’. The People, 23 April 1916. 'The atmosphere of fun and frolic so material to the present time is created by the Bing boys at the Alhambra, and Mr. Oswald Stoll’s new venture is assured of a prosperous future. Everybody who mattered in the variety world seemed to be at the Alhambra on Wednesday night, and at half-time “Gus” was loaded with congratulations by a dense crowd at the back of the stalls. A wealth of brilliant scenes gladden the eye in “The Bing Boys are Here,” and charming ladies and smart men - the latter all attested or exempt - sing and dance throughout to the accompaniment of delightful music'. The Era, 26 April 1916. 'Let it be said at once that Mr. Oswald Stoll has scored an emphatic hit with his first West End revue – a piece that will doubtless revive the glory of the Leicester Square house and fill the place with enthusiastic audiences for many days to come ... Altogether The Bing Boys Are Here may be recommended on all counts, and if the great welcome which was accorded its production may be taken as an indication the Boys will remain us for many a long day’. The Stage, 27 April 1916. 'The music is catchy, the dialogue witty, and the colour schemes delightful, and, but for a skit on Bottomley’s Business Government, there is not a single dreary moment in the whole revue’. The Graphic, 29 April 1916.’ '‘The “Bing Boys” is assuredly the best revue on a large scale that London has seen. It is beautiful, it is funny, it is big and yet it is compact, and does not stray away from the pivot of its action ... The scenery that surrounds the “Bing Boys” is genuinely beautiful and original, and although, personally, Weigall’s English country house is of an unfamiliar variety to the writer, the artist has succeeded in giving so delightful a background to his fantastically designed costumes that there no reason why a new style of baronial mansion should not at once be inaugurated’. Sporting Times, 29 April 1916. 'The 100th performance of “The Bing Boys” was celebrated on Friday night last. Mr. Stoll wishes to distinctly state that, despite all rumours to the contrary, Geo. Robey, Alfred Lester and Violet Lorraine have been engaged “for the run of the piece,” and that the present state of the advance booking is so satisfactory that undoubtedly a record run for this theatre may expected’. The People, 9 July 1916. '“The Bing Boys Are Here” is produced on the true Alhambra scale, and is a full and complete entertainment which will suit every taste and relieve the great war-time strain'. East London Observer, 12 August 1916. ‘What’s the matter? There are people saying that real drama is dead in London, and that music halls and cinemas have completely shelved all serious plays. Perhaps there is a good deal of truth in the assertion just at present, but it’s only the war feeling. People want to be exhilarated, they want to laugh, they don’t want to be made to think, they just want to be made to forget blood and battle for an hour or two, and that’s why they flock to “The Bing Boys,” and would fill the Ambassadors [sic – the Alhambra] three time over at every performance if the theatre were only larger’. Sporting Times, 21 October 1916. An advertisement in The Era, 27 December 1916 noted that the piece was ‘now in its ninth month of nine performances a week’.
19 Apr 1916 The Bing Boys Are Here Unknown
19 Oct 1916 An English Nosegay Unknown
9 Jan 1917 Tommy by the Way Professional
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This performance was part of a matinee performed in aid of the Lord Kitchener Memorial Fund for Disabled Officers and Men of the Navy and Army. The play starred Lilian Braithwaite. Other acts in the same bill were: a scene from 'Diplomacy' (Gladys Cooper (actress), Owen Nares (actor)), 'Isadore - You Tell Her' (sketch - Augustus Yorke (actor), Robert Leonard (actor)), 'Little Girlie' (George Robey (actor), Wilkie Bard (actor), Violet Loraine (actress), Vesta Tilley (actress), Leslie Henson (actress), Peggy Kurton (actress)), Julia James, Madge Saunders, the Gaiety Theatre Chorus, Austin Melford and Lily St. John "in the famous Fox-Trot from 'Mr. Manhattan'", Adriah Fair, Marie Nillson and the Gresham Singers.
19 Feb 1917 The Bing Girls Unknown
19 Jul 1917 Around the Map Unknown
16 Aug 1917 Three Freaks Unknown
24 Jun 1918 Tommy by the Way Professional
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The play was performed alongside a 'Tableaux of the Allies' as part of a matinée performance of 'tableaux illustrating the Art of the Allies' performed in aid of the Scholarship fund of the Imperial Service College, Windsor. It was described as 'Powerfully played by Mr George Tully and Miss Lilian Braithwaite, the play lays strong hold of the imagination and gives a poignant insight into the minor tragedies of war.' (Times, 25 June 1918)
16 Nov 1920 Tails Up Professional
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The Stage, 18 November 1920, reported on a matinee programme ‘on Tuesday’ [16 November 1920] at the Alhambra Theatre in aid of the Pension Fund for Actors, in memory of Sydney Valentine who had done ‘vital work’ for the Actors’ Association. The programme included ‘The Butler Who Had Seen Better Days’ which was ‘an episode in the second edition of “Tails Up” at the Comedy early last year’. ‘Elaborated a little by the author, Mr. J. Hastings Turner, the skit on the new rich had on Tuesday the services of Mr. Norman McKinnel, Mr. George Grossmith, Mr. Owen Nares, Miss Ellis Jeffreys, Miss Fay Compton, and Miss Marie Löhr, who joined Mr. Allan Aynesworth, the original butler to the Backway family, who in this capacity were entertaining a marquis unaware. Mr. Aynesworth was once more all suavity and polish as the fallen aristocrat dutifully waiting on the ambitious “plebs”; and the somewhat inconclusive skit, out of which these accomplished artists got all the humour there was in it, and into which they imported a good deal more, thus enjoyed a brilliant performance, under the skilled stage management of Mr. E. Vivian Reynolds’.
10 Dec 1923 The Shewing up of Blanco Posnet Professional
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‘The daring experiment of putting on “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet” at the Alhambra is a decided success. Yesterday afternoon the audience followed Mr. Shaw’s religious propaganda with breathless attention. Philip Yale Drew, alias “Young Buffalo,” of Lyceum fame, gave a fine performance as Blanco. He starts with the advantage of a real American accent and pioneer physique- His methods are broad but effective, and his acting is sincere. Mr. Arthur Stratton was particularly excellent as the Sheriff’ (Daily Herald, 11 December 1923). ‘What a Mixture! Young Buffalo is doing Shaw’s play, “The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet,” at the Alhambra this week. It was Henry James, was it not, who said that everything lies in juxtaposition!’ (The Era, 12 December 1923). ‘As Bernard Shaw himself calls it crude melodrama, “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet” is obviously not seen at its best when played by actors belonging to what is known as the “intellectual” type. Brawn is needed as well as brains, and that is why Young Buffalo presents this play of the wild and woolly West in such a satisfactory light. At the Alhambra his portrayal of the horse-thief who risks his life because the mother of sick child wants the horse in order to get to a doctor, has an air of reality often missed in previous productions’ (The Era, 12 December 1923). ‘It is rather significant to find a big variety theatre audience held in close attention by such a piece as Shaw’s “The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet,” which comes to the Alhambra after its presentation at Shepherd’s Bush a few weeks ago. This “sermon in crude melodrama,” which had the distinction of being banned by the Censor several years back, certainly cannot be said to pander to that mental superficiality supposed in some quarters to be associated with the variety public. It is pretty heavy sustenance even for the whole-hogger Shavian steeped in, say, Samuel Butler and Anatole France, to each of whom, perhaps, it owes something of its spirit. This is not the time or the place, however, to discuss what “ Blanco” means, or should mean, to any kind of audience. The significant fact is that variety audiences are paying Shaw keen attention ... The time is now ripe for Bernard Shaw to write a piece round Ku-Klux-Klan, which is a development of the “rough justice” of pioneer days!’ (The Stage, 13 December 1923).

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