The Way You Look At It, 1926

The Way You Look at It by Edward Wilbraham (Edward William Bootle-Wilbraham 3rd Earl of Lathom)
London, Queen’s Theatre, July 27, 1926

Read the play

Cast of Characters:

Tony Jardine Tom Nesbit
Mears Reginald Smith
Jill Rendon Martita Hunt
Bobby Rendon Leslie Howard
Sibyl Risley Isabel Jeans
Joan Merrow Edna Best
First Waiter Alan Webb
Second Waiter Edmund Gordon
Flower Girl Veronica Turleigh

The theatrical event of next week will be the first performance in London of Lord Lathom’s play, “The Way You Look At It,” to be produced at the Queen’s Theatre on Tuesday. Lord Lathom is naturally delighted that Mr. Al. Woods has already purchased the play for production in New York, where his other play, “Wet Paint,” is now due for production by the Shuberts. “The Way You Look At It” will bring back to London Mr. Leslie Howard, an English actor, who has done well in America.
Mr. Howard was last seen in this country in “Mr. Pym Passes By,” and during his three years in America has figured in several successful production, his last engagements being for a sixty weeks’ run of “The Green Hat.” The leading ladies will be Miss Edna Best and Miss Isabel Jeans, who have, I am told, some wonderful frocks to wear. An important role has been allotted to Mr. Tom Nesbitt, who appeared with Miss Jeans in “Conflict.”
(Daily Mirror, July 24, 1926)

” The Way You Look At It,” a new play by Edward Wilbraham—the pen name of Lord Lathom—produced at the Queen’s Theatre last night, proved to be an ultra-modern story of a young man and two women.
Bobby Rendon, the son of a vicar, while earning £3 a week as a clerk, meets a wealthy woman older than himself, who falls in love with him. She appoints him her secretary, and fits him up in an expensive flat in Mayfair.
All goes well until the young man goes home for the week-end, and in the vicarage garden meets a girl with w’hom he falls in love. He tells his wealthy lover, and decides to give up his mode of living in order to marry the girl of his choice.
After he has sold the flat and broken away from his society friend, he is jilted by the girl from the country, and falls between two stools.
Miss Isabel Jeans gave her usual finished performance as the wealthy society woman, and Miss Edna Best was her charming self as the country girl.
The outstanding feature of a somewhat unpleasant play was the remarkably fine acting of Mr. Leslie Howard, who by sheer personality made a success of the part of the dissolute young man.
(Daily Mirror, July 28, 1926)

If a man may do it, why not a woman? Is that the question with which, at this time of day, the author would profitably vex the play-going breakfast table? If Bobby rich would have kept Sibyl poor, why shouldn’t Sibyl sleek rescue Bobby shabby? You perceive how original, how “arresting”–that will be the word–is the theme. You may guess how prolonged an opportunity it gives for the customary cocktails and the daring decadence of dressing-gowns. You may, perhaps, imagine that another girl, all innocence and epigrams, will indicate to Bobby a possible flaw in his conduct. But no one would anticipate that any author would venture to advance a romantic justification for the sleek lady; that he would bring her to the flat, which Bobby is vacating on his way to reformation and innocence, and expect us to listen to her while she protests among the packing-cases that her motive was “real love, I mean something strong and fine.” After that we were the reluctant witnesses of Bobby’s remorse. If the rest was merely tedious, this, not to mince words, was nauseating. But it is useless to argue about a play which pretends to be a discussion of moral values and is in fact no more than an excuse for shocking the guileless by corrupt cynicism and placating them with false sentiment. Perhaps we should add, in justice to the dresses and the furniture, that the entertainment is “smart”–smart, so far as the dialogue is concerned, with the smartness of a cub at his first wine-party. That the actors all do their best for it the audience recognized, but, when Mr. Fagan appeared in place of the discreet author, the gallery made it abundantly clear that the pardon was not general. Much of the trivial stuff was indeed unpardonable.
(The Times, July 28, 1926)

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