The Morals of Vanda, 1918

The Morals of Vanda, comedy in three acts by A.G. Rhodes
produced at the Grand Theatre, Croydon – April 1st, 1918

Cast of Characters

Dr. Carlyon William Stack
Vanda Mortimer Hazel May
Joseph Mortimer H.K. Ayliff
Leonard Mortimer Leslie Howard
Elsmere Grant Rupert Stutfield
Rev. Robert Checksfield Walter Raymond
Elizabeth Checksfield Lillian Tweed
Binks Bendedick Butler
Ellen Elsie Donalds
Leeson Helen Colville
First Detective Julian Gade
Second Detective James Ford
Lady Gruber Frances Weatherall


Advertisement published in the Surrey Mirror of March 29 and 30, 1918. Leslie Howard took the place of Noel Coward


The Era, April 3, 1918


Miss Vanda Mortimer is the companion-secretary of one, Lady Sarah Gruber, whose sole object of real affection is a pet dog, Marmaduke (one of the most intelligent little animals filled this part). She is a terrible old woman, who taunts poor Vanda with being a convict’s daughter, and the girl dopes the morning sleeping draught with what was intended for the destruction of sick Marmaduke; while all the time Lady Gruber is revoking all former wills and testaments in Vanda’s entire favour, following an outburst against her two poor unfortunate relatives, the Checksfields, who have come for help. The old woman dies with startling suddenness, and Vanda won’t marry Dr. Carlyon, thinking and confessing herself a murderess. Next we learn that the old lady’s death had been natural—heart failure, the draught had not been touched through a maid’s mistake. So all ends well. The right thing is done to the poor relatives, to whom Vanda makes over all she was entitled to from what she calls an unfair will.
It was a pleasure to see the suavity, the certain restraint, and natural polish of Mr. William Stack’s Dr. Carlyon. Miss Hazel May (somebody whispered that she was the authoress herself) did in every way splendidly in what was, in effect, the only serious part. Miss Frances Weatherall delighted the house as Lady Gruber; and successful portrayals were the Joseph Mortimer of Mr. H.K. Ayliff and the Elsmere Grant of Mr. Rupert Stutfield. Mr. Walter Raymond did well as the Rev. Robert Checksfield, whose wife was effectively played by Miss Tweed. A most refreshing young man was Mr. Leslie Howard as Leonard Mortimer, who failed at Oxford and found a cattle steamer and Canada all that was left for the son of a convict. It is understood that Mr. Howard took up the part at short notice, and it must be said for him that he did wonderfully well.
(The Era, April 3, 1918)