Tell Me the Truth (1928)

Tell Me the Truth, a comedy in three acts by Leslie Howard

London, Ambassadors’ Theatre, June 18, 1928

Cast of characters

Vane Stephen Adeson
Mrs. Cass Clare Greet
May Tweedle Florence Le Clerq
Elizabeth Tweedle Iris Hoey
George Appleway Morton Selten
Amelia Tweedie Edna Davies
Worthington Smythe Rupert Lucas
Wrigley Hugh Dempster

On what slight theatrical fare may a pleasant evening be spent if only the service be good ! There is not much to keep body and soul together in the affair of the New York spinster who scandalizes the household by entering on a nocturnal escapade with a young man, subsequently proved to be her nephew, but the spinster. Miss Iris Hoey, the young man Mr. Rupert Lucas, and so well are we served by them and by others that only now and then could we pause to scrutinize the menu a little anxiously. The elderly siren, as Mliss Hoey plays the part, can be the pretext for some good, high-spirited fooling. Elderly, we say, but mature would be perhaps a fairer word for Elizabeth Tweedle. She is vigorous, she is charming yet formidable, she has a gaily trenchant way of judging a situation or a character, and we do not wonder that her scapegrace nephew, even in one of his rare periods of sobriety, should find her society amusing. It is around her indomitable and perpetually entertaining figure that the farcical comedy described by its author as “a bit of tomfoolery” revolves. It spins with a pretty genial sparkle for two acts, and runs down through exhaustion of its motive power during almost the whole of the third. It is in the third act that everything has to be explained, and really there is nothing worth explaining. What more natural in the realm of farcical comedy than that a nephew depending on the good will of his aunts for a large legacy, and proposing to attend the obsequies of his benefactors in crushed evening clothes which he has worn for three days, should be restrained by the family solicitor ? that his place should be taken by a hired mourner, a personable young man who at first sight of the spinster aunt’s niece falls in love with her and she with him ? that, inspired by four cocktails, Elizabeth Tweedle should go off with her nephew to a night club ? and that these proceedings should gravely scandalize the rest of the family ? In the first two acts this not unfamiliar imbroglio is worked out with a careful regard for its comic possibilities, but there is no more to do in the last act than to restore names to their rightful owners. The neat sketches filled in by Miss Florence Le Clerq, Miss Edna Davies, and Mr. Morton Selten round off a nicely balanced production.
(The Times, June 19, 1928)