Great War Theatre

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
21 Feb 1916 Too Late Professional
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'is a playlet written with a purpose, and teaching a lesson which the present time, it is to feared, is much needed.' (Birmingham Mail, 22 Febraury 1916). Cast included Elsie Craig, E. Rayson-Cousens, Frank Denis, and Richard Bosco.
18 Sep 1916 The Frenchwoman Professional
12 Feb 1917 In the Trenches Professional
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Performed for the week by Harry Buss. Other acts on the same bill: Nelly Wallace (singer and actress), the Vogues, the Five Gregorys (performance with hoops), Phil Ralli Trio (acrobats and comedy vocalists), Firenza Quartette, and a series of films on 'The Romance of the life of Lloyd George'. 'It is not so screamingly funny as the programme suggests: in parts it is dull...One or two songs, especially that by a nurse, helped the sketch along, but it will need much brightening in dialogue and incident before it justifies the description of a "screaming comedy sketch"' (Birmingham Daily Post, 13 February 1917)
19 Feb 1917 A Bit of Blighty Professional
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Miss Inez Bensuson [sic] presented the playlet, supported by Elaine Inesconit [sic – Inescort] and Shirley King, two well-known actresses of the Woman’s Theatrical Company. It was performed from 19-24 February twice nightly at 6.50pm and 9pm.
7 May 1917 Joyland Professional
18 Jun 1917 The Woman on the Window Sill Unknown
4 Feb 1918 The Woman of Louvain Professional
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Performed by: Mary Mayfren Reviews: "a powerful one-act play"
18 Feb 1918 Nosey Knows Professional
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Performed this week by George Hestor (actor), Dorothy Flastichi (sic - Frostick) (actress), Ethel Arden (actress), Joan Hestor (actress), Marie Ellis (actress), Norman Carn (actor), J. R. Blay (actor), Nat Lewis (actor). ‘Nosey Knows, which is the top-liner at the Empire Theatre, is not a revue or a musical comedy, but it embraces the best elements of both without having anything very much in common with either. It is one of the snappy, high-spirited Karno creations. It is in three scenes, and has a merry host of comedy merchants to carry the merriment and hilarity briskly along’. (Evening Despatch, 16 February 1918) ‘A Karno sketch is hardly expected to contain a deeply-laid plot, but the production with the title Nosey Knows, for which Mr. Karno is responsible at the Empire this week, has both plot and an exceedingly smart dialogue. Mr. Will Hay, as “Nosey”, has the support of a capable company’. (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 19 February 1918)
11 Mar 1918 The Bull-Dog Breed Professional
25 Mar 1918 Ocean Waves Professional
1 Apr 1918 Hotch Potch Professional
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Performers: Fred Kitchen, Nora Delany
8 Apr 1918 Rations Professional
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‘“Rations,” a short revue, presented by Mr. Fred Karno at the Empire Theatre last night, is an amusing skit on the present food difficulties. There are a succession of humorous scenes, and Robb Wilton, the comedian, makes the most of them. He is supported by a capable company, including Miss Winnie Collins, a sprightly and versatile artiste' (Birmingham Mail, 9 April 1918). ‘“Rations,” a short revue presented at the Empire Theatre by Fred Karno, lends itself to humorous treatment, and Robb Wilton, Winnie Collins, and the other members of the company take full advantage of the opportunities of raising a laugh. There are six scenes, some of them pretty, but all staged with the idea of creating fun, and chief among them are “The meatless butcher” and “Tank day"' (Evening Despatch, 9 April 1918). ‘“Rations,” the revuette which is being presented at the Empire Theatre this week by Mr. Fred Karno, can be recommended to those in search of bright and humorous entertainment. It bubbles over with fun - indeed, there is scarcely a moment during its course that there is not to laugh at, thanks in the main to Robb Wilton, who is supported by a number of capable artists. He makes plenty of capital out of the scene “The Meatless Butcher,” whilst even more laughable is the skit on the British workman employed on Government work - namely, laying down a telephone to a Tank. Miss Winnie Collins wins approval by her singing and acting, and with the choruses supporting the principals admirably the whole performance goes with a swing' (Birmingham Daily Post, 9 April 1918).
10 Jun 1918 Flying Colours Professional
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‘Novel and varied in character, the turns at the Empire Theatre this week constitute an interesting and enjoyable entertainment … The sketch, “The Johnson ‘Ole,” by Captain Bairnsfather and B. Macdonald Hastings, in which Harry Thurston appears with marked success in his original character as Old Bill the Walrus,” is deserving of its description as an episode of real trench humour’. Birmingham Daily Post, 11 June 1918.
7 Oct 1918 Ocean Waves Professional