Great War Theatre

Address: Birmingham, UK

Performances at this Theatre

DateScriptType
13 Sep 1915 The Light Rules [Blues]Unknown
4 Dec 1915 The Division BellUnknown
27 Dec 1915 VivienUnknown
30 Oct 1916 Kultur At HomeProfessional
Read Narrative
'The play is good of its kind, but in times like the present, when most people go the theatre to seek forgetfulness of the grim tragedy which is occupying their thoughts from day to day, one feels that an apology is due for the presentation of a problem play dealing with the war. If the purpose of the play be to enforce some lesson it is necessary for the nation to learn in order to bring the war to speedier end, well and good. But there is no such purpose inspiring the authors of “Kultur at Home.” On the contrary, it deals with a problem which, although acute enough before the war, is hardly likely to arise for long time after it, and not at all while it is in progress. The motive of the play is very similar to that in “His German Wife,” but the position of husband and wife is reversed, and the dramatic element is much more pronounced. From an artistic point of view the play possesses serious faults - faults of exaggeration, of anachronism, and of distortion of facts, which are the more glaring and irritating because the motive is sufficiently strong in itself to produce an equally dramatic result without any such violation. There were moments when one felt an almost irresistible desire to rise from one’s seat and protest, and there were distinct of impatience in the stalls as well as in the gallery. One could pass over the references to newspapers which suggested when British intervention in the European imbroglio became imminent that by remaining neutral we might capture the trade of both sides. But there were signs of unrest when a representative of the English peerage accused the Foreign Office of sitting on the fence, and expressed the fear that the French would scorn to accept his services in the Foreign Legion. Even in Luxembourg on August 5th an Englishman ought to have known better. Apart from these faults, which the authors seem to have incurred through striving after dramatic effect, which the motive of the play was quite capable of affording without such unnecessary effort, the play is well written, and strikes a truly dramatic note'. Birmingham Mail, 31 October 1916. ‘Of the several plays inspired by the war “Kultur at Home,” which is making its first appearance in Birmingham at. the Prince of Wales Theatre this week, has perhaps created the greatest sensation since “The Man Who Stayed at Home” was produced. The idea of the authors is to give a picture of the German officer and the German wife as they are to be found in their natural environment, and the story throughout is suggestive of the brutal bullying nature of the Prussian officer and the weak, suffering humility of his frau. It is not a pleasant story, rather is it repellent, but it is exceedingly interesting and very human, though at times the characters appear rather overdrawn'. Birmingham Daily Gazette, 31 October 1916. '“Kultur at Home" … interprets in an admirable degree the spirit of the times; it breathes the atmosphere of enmity engendered by war, the view of one belligerent as seen by another. In depicting German “kultur” or frightfulness, to use the term with which it has become synonymous, nothing can too grotesque or ugly, and had the authors attempted to paint in more lurid colours the devilry - what Sir Oliver Lodge calls “the able, well organised, but evil, devilry” – of the Germans the enthusiasm which the audience displayed at the close of last evening’s performance might have been even greater … the piece demands a peculiar frame of mind, a sense of overwhelming patriotism, in order to be enjoyed. To approach it from any other point of view is to court disappointment. Certainly the ardent pacifist will not like it; but perhaps if he reads its real meaning and interpretation something will have been done to secure his conversion. Frankly, it is a caricature - a drawing of an enemy, in which the more gross the distortion the more acceptable it becomes. The author who in these times attempts to present with an eye only to artistic truth and impartiality the fundamental differences of two nations at war sets himself a task in which he can scarcely hope to be successful. With the drama of war invading every sphere, touching intimately every home, we are apt to lose our sense of proportion, and become impatient at any attempt to exhibit the German ideal in impartial terms. Not that there is much effort made in this direction in the play under notice. “Kultur at Home” is crude; it is the doctrine of brute force, as it might be expected to apply to the home life of a German with an English wife. The result appeals with irresistible force to audiences at the moment'. Birmingham Daily Post, 31 October 1916.
20 Nov 1916 Young EnglandUnknown
3 Jun 1918 SinnersUnknown