Great War Theatre

Address: Burnley, UK

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
8 Feb 1915 In Time of War Professional
5 Apr 1915 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘“The Man Who Stayed at Home” is a fitting title for the play which ... is presented at the Victoria Opera House this week by Mr. Taylor Platt, for it depicts in vivid style, and forcibly too, that many of the men who do not enlist are “doing their little bit” quite as efficiently as they could do in the ranks. It is essentially a patriotic play – all plays at the present time have to be more or less so to prove anything of a success - but it is by no means made of the poor, weak stuff that consists of gun firing, plenty of alleged sensational situations, and nothing else. “The Man Who Stayed at Home “ gets to the heart of things, and, dealing in a sensible but not overdrawn manner with the German spy system in England, it is particularly attractive, and is, in Burnley this week as at all the places it has visited, pleasing all classes. But the play does something more than stir one’s patriotism. It abounds with amusing passages, and the two sections - dramatic and humorous - of the piece are so blended as to effectively prevent any single moment becoming dull - the result being a really excellent production. One thing that immediately strikes the attention is the entire absence of “fake”: there is not a single feature of the play that is not genuine. In the scene where the stay-at-home man discovers the wireless apparatus of the spies, it is instantly observed that the instrument is fixed in a very business like manner, while later the playing of the searchlights outside the house in which the action of the piece takes place is particularly realistic. It is indeed a highly successful play, and the object with which it was written - to interest and the same time to amuse - has more than been achieved' ... From beginning to end “The Man Who Stayed at Home” is the play of the season. As one patron observed on Monday, it is entirely free from the blood and thunder style, and possibly that factor alone has much to do with its success. It is certainly worth a visit’. Burnley Express, 7 April 1915.
29 Jan 1917 The Woman Pays - Back Professional
26 Feb 1917 The Bing Boys Are Here Professional
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'The crowded house on Monday evening was evidence of the keen interest evinced in the advent of “The Bing Boys” in Burnley, and when the scene was finally rung down on their frolics “in town,” the spontaneous applause which arose from every part of the theatre, recalling the principals, again and again, was eloquent testimony of the measure of delight all present had derived from this most brilliant play. Of course one expects much out of the ordinary from such a collaboration as that of George Grossmith and Herbert Thompson, but humourous and clever as have been other productions from the same quarter, they are completely overshadowed by the delightful comedy, ear-haunting a music, beautiful dancing and exquisite stagings which entitles “The Bing Boys are Here” to be placed a pedestal by itself. Fun sparkles throughout the seven scenes of the two acts, of which the play comprised, and what is more it is genuinely wholesome comedy, interspersed with a rich vein of satire which gives it a particular zest'. Burnley News, 28 February 1917.
7 Jan 1918 Peace Time Prophecies or Stories Gone Wrong Professional
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‘The initial production of “Bubbly” by Mr. Ralph Haslam’s Company at the Victoria Opera House this week maintained in every sense the reputation with which this sparkling revue comes to Burnley. Lovers of musical revue are favoured by the appearance “Bubbly!” not only in so far as this is the first time the piece has been produced in the County Palatine, but also from the fact that the production is full of all the qualities that appeal to the followers of light musical comedy, and thus spell success. Of such a sound tone are the musical items, so well arranged are the dances and ensemble; so spontaneous is the comedy element; and so well staged and dressed is each individual scene, that it would be invidious to pick out one scene as being superior in any way to another, and so well chosen is the company by Mr. Ralph Haslam that nothing is left to be desired ... “Peace time prophecies” or “Stories gone wrong in two nights,” is the most topical item of the evening, and in it we are introduced to another stage interpretation of the humourist the trenches, “Old Bill"' (Burnley News, 9 January 1918). ‘Many iridescent creations take shape in the production of “Bubbly!” a delicious entertainment that Mr. Ralph Haslam (by arrangement with M. Andre Chariot) is presenting this week at the Victoria. The large house on Monday night caught the spirit of the production and enjoyed itself immensely. “Bubbly” is a charming organism compact of parts that are diverse and yet dovetail perfectly. It is a revue of the real order with the sparkling originality and the light and shade conceived and enjoyed in Paris ... The topical touches, “Peace-time Prophecies” are the highest scorers in the burlesque. An eloquent father soothes his child to sleep with stories of khaki-clad heroes and their “Once-upon-a-time” achievements, The dreamer visualises Bairnsfather’s “Old Bill” who finds himself a hero of civil life, and has many disrespectful things to say about his fame. Funnier still is the old major, who insists on military discipline among his domestic servants, cannot abide starched collars, and takes his repose in a woollen helmet and a sleeping bag to the flashes of fireworks and the noise of explosions (Burnley Express, 9 January 1918).
6 May 1918 For Sweethearts and Wives Professional
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‘If the hearty- and spontaneous applause which greeted the presentation of the war play “For Sweethearts and Wives,” at the Victoria Theatre on Monday evening was any criterion, then the success of this splendid production during its stay here is assured. We have seen numerous dramas dealing with the war and designed to “thrill” British audiences. Whilst many of these have achieved that end, they have left a vague and unconvincing Impression. That, however, is certainly not the experience to be derived from a visit to the Victoria this week. All who have seen Arthur Rosebery’s naval play will readily testify to its intrinsic merit not merely as a war thriller, but a drama of a high type, given a full “life” and vivid realism which only talent of the best order could impart ... The scene representing the quarter-deck of a British battleship, and the tableau depicting the triumph of our Fleet, arouse great enthusiasm. The theme is smartly developed, and throughout the action never falters. A strong love interest with a vein of comedy happily introduced greatly enhance the appeal of the story … not the least appealing element of the play [is] the humour and up-to-date topical allusions which constantly have the audience rocking with laughter. The play is the best of its class seen at the Victoria for a lengthy period’. Burnley News, 8 May 1918.
2 Dec 1918 Back to the Wife and Home [Home from the Trenches] Professional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches, although mentioned in an advertisement in The Stage, 28 November 1918 under the title Back to Wife and Home. ‘The boards of the Victoria Opera Home this week are occupied by the up-to-date drama, described as a moral play, entitled "Home from the Trenches," by Arthur Jefferson. It is a play full of incident, and dealing, as it does, with the victimisation of a soldier’s wife whilst he is away fighting, it appeals to the sentimental side to an unusual degree. The plot is full of incident. Corporal Frank Denison leaves his wife at home while he answers his country's call. Her good looks attract the attention of a slacker and a cad, Neville Hardman, who lures her to his home with the assistance of his former mistress, Myra Gray, disguised as a hospital nurse, on the excuse of repairs to. the flat. Fortunately, Frank, who returned on leave, discovers his wife (Bessie's) whereabouts, goes to the house, and rescues her. A fight between the two men ensues, in which Neville tries to shoot the soldier, but in the struggle the revolver goes off, injuring the villain. Denison thinks he has killed Hardman, but it transpires that another with a grudge against Hardman actually killed him. Eventually all ends happily. The piece is well produced by Mr. Will H. Glaze, and the company leaves nothing to be desired'. Burnley Express, 4 December 1918.
25 Aug 1919 The Luck Of The Navy Professional
29 Sep 1919 Seven Days Leave Professional
9 Jan 1922 The Love Child Professional
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The Nelson Leader, 6 January 1922, advertised at the Victoria Opera House, Burnley, from Monday 9 January, Ernest R, Abbott’s company in The Passions on Monday-Wednesday, Sapho on Thursday and Friday and Neither Wife Nor Maid on Saturday. ‘… on Saturday [at the Victoria Opera House] the great problem play “Neither Wife Nor Maid” will be presented. Produced in a prologue and three acts, it places before the public in a vivid manner the most pressing matters of the moment’ (Burnley News, 7 January 1922).
15 May 1922 The Black Sheep Of The Family Professional
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‘The Denville Stock Company will produce Gladys Hastings Walton’s play of the above name [The Black Sheep of the Family] at the Victoria Opera House next week. From the pen of the authoress of “Temptation,” the plot is totally different from this week’s production, inasmuch as the story is on stronger dramatic lines. The play is located in England and New York, and concerns two brothers. One, “the black sheep,” is really the more virtuous, but is under a cloud of suspicion. The other is virtuous, but this is only a veneer behind which lee [sic] vice and villainy. In the end, after a series of hairbreadth escapes, the hero’s good is name cleared, and, of course, everything ends as it should. There will be a full cast, with Mr. Jack McCaig and Mr. Royce Carlton as the brothers, and Miss Marjorie Denville as the leading lady’ (Burnley News, 13 May 1922). ‘Another Gladys Hastings Walton play is promised by the Denville Stock Company at the Victoria Opera House next week, the title being “The Black Sheep of the Family.” The play is in scenes, and though the title may suggest a play of only average merit, there are surprising incidents and the interest is maintained throughout. Miss Denville appear as Loyale Dane, an American orphan heiress, and Mr. Jack McCaig as the Hon. Ralph Sylvester. Three members of the company will play dual roles in Messrs. Wm. Calvert, Edwin Beverley and Sydney J. Andrews, and all the other artistes have good parts. As usual the staging and dressing will be paid special attention to’ (Burnley Express, 13 May 1922). ‘The Denville Stock Company are presenting “The black sheep of the family” at the Victoria Opera House this week. By Gladys Hastings Walton, the authoress of “Temptation,” which was handled by the company the other week with considerable success, this week’s production gives every promise of the same excellent result being achieved. It is of a very different order to “Temptation,” not only proving that the dramatist is not limited to any one theme but that the Denville Company are not restricted to any one set form of play to show their undoubted merits' (Burnley News, 17 May 1922). ‘Though there is nothing particularly brilliant about the plot of their play this week - it is titled “The Black Sheep of the Family” - the Denville Stock Company are making new friends and adding to their laurels by their treatment of it. Of course, the play in itself is good; the name of Gladys Hastings Walton attached ensures that, but there are in it passages which, in less capable hands than those of Mr. Denville’s artistes, appear dull and uninteresting. For instance, it is no new thing to find in a play two sons, one of whom always shoulders his scheming younger brother’s blame, and goes out, with a smile, to face the world alone. Neither is it to find him triumphing over his foes and returning home a hero. But the Denville Company make these characters real in “The Black Sheep the Family,” with the result that all sections of the audience are pleased with their work, and thus there cannot be thrust upon them the allegation of “playing to the gallery”' (Burnley Express, 17 May 1922).
25 Sep 1922 The Love Child Professional
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‘The Denville Stock Company next week will embark the 25th week of their stay in Burnley, and will submit at the Victoria Theatre that popular play, “Neither Wife nor Maid.” The conception of Ada G. Abbott, the play deals with a great sex problem in a bold and straightforward style. Fearless in her convictions, the authoress presents her theme in a plain manner, and woven into it is a delightfully entertaining story. Miss Marjorie Denville will play the leading role of “May [sic – Meg] Huxter,” whilst Jack McCaig will give of his best as “Curly Saunders.” It would be difficult to find a better artiste than William Calvert to play the part of “Boney,” a crook, while Edwin Beverley sustains equally well the two parts of “Rev. Peter Gardiner” [sic- Cordiner] and “Diamond Hobbs.” The cast includes several strange names such as Douglas Milton, Quiller Vallerie, and Maysie Wright, but we feel confident that they will attain the high standard set by their predecessors’. Burnley News, 23 September 1922.
18 Mar 1929 Inside the Lines Professional
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Performed for the week once nightly, twice nightly on Saturday by the Beric Hammersleigh Repertory Company.