Theatrical reconstruction

by
01 March 2019

February 28th, 1919.

AMONG the thousand and one institutions clamouring for reconstruction, the theatre seems to be in urgent need of reform. The matter is under discussion in the columns of the Morning Post. Writing with special reference to the London houses, Mr Weedon Grossmith complains of the transformation which has handed over 18 or 19 of the London theatres to one class of entertainment. He also protests against the “multiple system”, under which five or six theatres are run at one time by a single management. The actor or actress who cannot either sing or dance is crowded out, the performances being musical entertainments. “The craze for bolstering up plays with music is”, Mr Grossmith writes, “so astounding that even a classic like The School for Scandal, one of the most brilliant comedies ever written, is to be cut and hacked about and set to music.” This kind of thing means the ruin of the dramatic art, and we can understand Mr Grossmith’s bitter cry. . . We regret to see Mr Arthur Bourchier pressing his demand for the opening of theatres on Sunday. His object, he says, is to keep the working-man out of the public-house and to relieve “the appalling gloom of the English Sunday evening”. Without questioning the sincerity of his motive, we are quite certain that not many other managers would share it. They would treat the proposed facilities as a good matter of business, and the large body of persons employed in connexion with the stage would find themselves deprived of their Sunday as a day of recreation and rest. . .

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