The Romantic Age, 1922

The Romantic Age, a Comedy in Three Acts by A.A. Milne
Staged by Frederick Stanhope

Produced by Hugh Ford and Frederick Stanhope

Comedy Theatre, New York, November 17, 1922


 Mrs. Knowles Daisy Belmore
 Melisande (her daugter) Margalo Gillmore
 Jane Bagot (her niece)  Jean Ford
 Alice Ida Molten
 Mr. Knowles Marsh Allen
 Bobby Neil Martin
 Gervase Mallory Leslie Howard
 Ern  Paul Giaccia
 Master Susan J.M. Kerrigan


Act I: The Hall of Mr. Knowles’ house; Evening
Act II: A glade in the woods; Morning
Act III: The Hall again; Afternoon

“Melisande Knowle (representing in the flesh the state of most young girls’ minds during the romantic age) refuses to give up her belief in, or at least her hope for, the knights and true lovers of old. One moonlight night she sees Gervase Mallory standing in the doorway, all blue and gold, and is more than ever convinced. Next day she meets Gervase in the park. He gracefully falls into her game of pretense, and she is greatly stirred. But the third day he appears in knickers and admits that he is a broker and that he had been stopped the day before by a stalled motor when he was on his way to a fancy dress party. Melisande is terribly put out and will have none of him– until he convinces her that even cooking and housekeeping are romantic– if you are in love. ” (Burns Mantle, Best Plays of 1922-1923)

“The play’s appeal, we repeat, is a matter of individual opinion. We found it as delightful and as different as “The Dover Road” and “Mr. Pim Passes By,” both of fairly recent memory. The piece has the characteristic absence of plot aready so definitely associated with Mr. Milne’s compositions for the stage, but it is acted in a manner that even the word “beautiful” falls adequately to describe. Margalo Gillmore, as a sort of mid-Victorian heroine sighing for real romance instead of the prosaic courtship which she is receiving, is extraordinary for the part. Leslie Howard, as Gervase Mallory, the young broker who comes to woo her in the guise of a fairy prince and turns out to be a mere mortal with an attractive personality, none the less, confirms the growing belief that it will not be long before he achieves starring honors for himself.” (Alvin J. Kayton, Daily Star)

“Aside from the amusing characterisation of the romantic Melisande who sighs for a Lancelot to satisfy her moonstruck fancy, and finds a stock broker in tweeds instead, there are three or four good characters supplied by the author. The chaffing father is capitally acted by Mr. Marsh Allen; and the poetic pellar, who quotes Tennyson and Emerson, is another triumph for Mr. J.M. Kerrigan, whose Irish brogue adds to music of the English glade where he expounds his philosophy of marriage and of the romance of the commonplace.
Miss Gillmore and Mr. Leslie Howard, in look, manner and action are so delightful, and they catch the tone of their characters so well that it is a pity they are both so disappointing vocally. Miss Gillmore’s monotonous plaintive delivery is indistinct too often, and Mr. Howard’s voice lapses into the nasal hardness common among younger English actors today.” (Maida Castellun, Evening Call)

“The cast is well chosen. I liked immensely Marsh Allen, who has the knack of reading Mr. Milne’s lines for every bit of sly humor in them. Daisy Belmore, as the neurasthenic mother, was excellent (as she always is), and so was J.M. Kerrigan, who played with real flavor the Rodgerow philopher. Margalo Gillmore was very wistful and intent, and Leslie Howard was pleasing. Neil Martin acted very much as Grant Mitchell might have done in the same part, and little Paul Jaccia was a human boy. The lighting of the second act was a disgrace. Messrs. Kerrigan and Howard sitting in a brash yellow glare which disclosed the “join” of Mr. Kerrigan’s wig and Mr. Howard’s bilinking.” (Patterson James, Billboard)

The Scene of Act 1 and 3

The Scene of Act 1 and 3

Leslie Howard as Gervase Mallory

Leslie Howard as Gervase Mallory