Berkeley Square – London (1929)
March 6, 1929
Lyric Theatre, London
Gilbert Miller and Leslie Howard present
Berkeley Squaredi John L. Balderston
(in collaboration with J.C. Squire)
Cast in order of appearance
|Tom Pettigrew||Brian Gilmour|
|Kate Pettigrew||Valerie Taylor|
|The Lady Anne Pettigrew||Marjorie Gabain|
|Mr. Throstle||Lawrence Hanray|
|Helen Pettigrew||Jean Forbes-Robertson|
|The Ambassador||H.O. Nicholson|
|Mrs. Barwick||Frances Ruttledge|
|Peter Standish||Leslie Howard|
|Marjorie Frant||Gladys Rogers|
|Major Clinton||Elliott Seabrooke|
|Miss Barrymore||Juliet Mansel|
|The Duchess of Devonshire||Marie Lohr|
|Lord Stanley||J. Smith-Wright|
|Lady Sinclair||Frances Ruttledge|
|Miss Sinclair||Irene Howard|
|H.R.H. the Duke of Cumberland, K.G.||Tom Woods|
There is magic in this play, enough magic to override its imperfections and to cast a delicious spell upon the imagination, enough to set it apart from the common traffic of the theatre and to send dreams scudding in the wake of dreams. Therefore, first of all, let us welcome and rejoice in it, for magic is very rare. But what is the quality of its magic? Is it that of a charming, ingenious trickster, or is it of a poet?
[...] But consider this: Peter Standish of 1928 falls in love with Helen Pettigrew of 1784. He cannot stay with her, nor she advance with him. They are beings to whose love earthly existence can give no fulfilment; they are lovers in the spirit which knows no time. Is this the play’s theme? Then it is a poet’s play, and might be a masterpiece. Alas, it is not that. The love scenes are deeper now than they were. Miss Jean Forbes-Robertson has a fuller opportunity, and rises to it; Mr. Leslie Howard plays his part with a genuine apprehension of the tragic implications of it; together they hold the audience in lively expectation– in lively,breathless expectation of something, some final rapture of the spirit, to which the stage never attains.
[...]Perhaps after all, it is better to praise the play for what it is than to lament for what it might have been and is not. It is a delightful entertainment. As well as Mr. Howard and Miss Forbes-Robertson, whose performances are of the highest merit, Miss Valerie Taylor, Mr. Brian Gilmour, Mr. Tarver Penna and Mr. H.O. Nicholson greatly distinguish themselves. When a few passage have been quickened a little, there will be, within the limits of an ingenious idea, no room for complaint.
(The Times, March 7, 1929)
Three years ago “Berkeley Square,” a play by Mosers, John L. Balderston and J.C. Squire, founded on a short story by Henry James, had a fair run at the St. Martin’s Theatre–far shorter than it deserved. Mr. Leslie Howard, a young English actor, who has lately become a “star” in America, has induced the authors to revise it, and the result had its first performance in London at the Lyric Theatre last night. The theme–an ambitious one for any dramatist–is “relativity.”
[...] Miss Jean Forbes-Robertson repeats her entrancing performance as Helen, and Mr. Howard is good as Peter, though perhaps not quite so good as Mr. Lawrence Anderson, his predecessor in the part.
(The Western Morning News and Mercury, March 8, 1929)