The Title, 1918

The Title, a play in one act by Arnold Bennett

Royalty Theatre,London
July 20, 1918

Read the play on

Cast of Characters

 Mr. Culver  C. Aubrey Smith
 John Culver  Leslie Howard
 Tranto  Martin Lewis
 Sampson Straight  Nigel Playfair
 Mrs. Culver Eva Moore
 Hildegarde Culver  Joyce Carey
 Starkey  Gertrude Sterroll
Parlourmaid Archie Varre


Plenty of unpretentious fun, not too recondite, about honours lists, Governments, newspaper-owning families, schoolboys, modern girls, matrimony, and other not unfamiliar topics. The overworked word camouflage is not disdained.
Mr. Aubrey Smith and Miss Eva Moore present the humours of married life with a vivacity which achieves the miracle of rejuvenating a superannuated theme, and the audience on Saturday night was unmistakably delighted with the whole entertainment.
(The Times, July 22, 1918)

Satire on the Stage.—Mr. Arnold Bennett’s new play, “ The Title,” produced at the Royalty on Saturday night, is full of sharp and pungent satire. It sparkles with epigram and ripples with laughter. Still, it lacks, somehow, the compelling charm of “ The Great Adventure.”
In the Cast.—One is always glad to welcome Miss Eva Moore, and that charming actress fully merited the reception she received. Mr. Aubrey Smith, Miss Joyce Carey and Mr. Leslie Howard were all excellent in their several ways.
(Daily Mirror, July 22, 1918)

“Of a different kidney is “The Title”, a comedy by Arnold Bennett, who has made comparatively few contribution to the stage, but in those few has displayed a delicate sense of comedy that puts a considerable strain on his actors, but results, when the actors are competent, in unusual entertainment. “The Title” is only remotely a war play, and only rather remotely a satire on the worthlessness of those titles handed out by British Government upon each New Year’s day. It is much more a satire on the epigrams of one of the characters– “there are non principles in married life”. This husband is offered a title, which on principle he wishes to refuse. His wife has a great desire to be called “My lady”, and doesn’t propose that he shall refuse. Does he or not?– that is the plot of the play. But it would be a little unkind to this gossamer web of wit and sparkle to call it even a satire on married life. It is enough to say that without Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” it would probably not have been written; that should describe it sufficiently. This type of play is difficult to set successfully, demanding as it does a highly polished, light, seemingly artless, comic touch. In America, too, its subject-matter might perplex. But given the right conditions, “The Title” should indeed “play extremely well”.
(Walter Prichard Eaton, The Bookman, November 1918, p. 375)

‘The Title’: Arnold Bennett and the Censors by George Simmers


Leslie Howard in The Title, 1918 Leslie Howard in The Title
Play Pictorial, vol. 33, n. 198