Under Cover, 1917

Under Cover, a melodrama in four acts by Roi Cooper Magrue
Produced by Grossmith and Laurillard
Summer-Automn 1917 (touring company)

Read the play on the Internet Archive

Cast of Characters:

Steven Denby Matheson Lang
Ethel Cartwright Ida Stratham
Michael Harrington Fred Lewis
Mrs. Harrington Helen Russell
Daniel Taylor Leyton Cancellor
Nora Ruttledge Jane Grahame
Monty Vaughan Leslie Howard


This is a play which “gets hold” of you. It is virile to the uttermost. Messrs Grossmith and Laurillard, in conjunction with Mr. Matheson Lang, have sent on tour the entire Strand Theatre production, and Hull is the third city in the kingdom to which it pays a visit. This latest American detective story, written by Mr Roi Cooper-Megrue, the American dramatist, is in four acts, and readers are warned that it has a most sensational finish, and up to two minutes before the fall of the curtain in Act 4 the audience have no idea as to how the story terminates.
Mr. Matheson Lang.
This favourite actor plays his original part of Steven Denby, and is supported by a very strong cast, including Miss Ida Stratham, Miss Jane Graham, Miss Winifred Griffith, Miss Violet Winter, Messrs Fred Lewis, Gus Sharland, Leslie Howard, Sydney T. Pease and Leyton Cancellor. The scenery is by George Sackman, and the first act, the Office of the Surveyor of the Port of New York, is identical with the one at New York City, the skyscrapers seen in the distance from the window being drawn to scale, and included the Singer Buildings, the Woolworth Buildings, and the Wannamaker Buildings.
(Hull Daily Mail, August 17, 1917)

“A strong play brilliantly acted,” was the opinions expressed on all hands last night by the audience entranced by the plot of “Under Cover,” as evolved on the stage of His Majesty’s Theatre. The stirring drama could not have been more appropriately and tastefully staged, and the artistic performance by Mr. Matheson Lang and his colleagues was enthusiastically admired.[…]
Mr Matheson lang is a gifted and graceful actor, and his impersonation of Steven Denby, suspected of “smuggling” the necklace, was in every respect admirable.[…]
Miss Ida Stratham, in the part of Ethel Cartwright, decoyed into a cospiracy for the ruin of the man she loves, presented the conflicting influences at work with convincing power, and gained a notable success. As the Deputy Surveyor in the Customs, who pits himself against Steven, and is worsted in the encounter, Mr. Leyton Cancellor seemed an ideal representative of the capable and unscrupulous official who cannot conceive that anyone could possibly succeed in outwitting him. It was a consistent character study worthy of cordial praise, and another clever bit of acting was that of Mr. Fred Lewis, who infused genuine comedy into the part of an oldish husband subjected to the caprices of a young wife, and consoling himself with cocktails. Miss Helen Russell was appropriately vivacious as the young wife, and Mr. Leslie Howard, as Monty Vaughan, a nervous young “swell” dragged into the necklace affair, presented an effective foil to the virility of Steven. Miss Jane Grahame was delightfully arch as a sprighty maiden perplexed by the failure of really interesting men to appreciate her charms, and compelled to be contented with “Monty”. All the other parts were skilfully played, and the entertainment afforded the keenest enjoyment.
(Aberdeen Evening Express, November 13, 1917)

Mr Matheson Lang took his original part of Steven Denby, and the masterful role suited him. […] Miss Ethel Cartwright was in the hands of Miss Ida Stratham, and, difficult part as it was, she made clever work of it.[…]
Apart from the two principals, the company had in Mr Fred Lewis a delightful rendering of the part of Michael Harrington, a genial old millionaire with a strong love for cocktails and a better knowledge of poker than bridge. Mr Leyton Cancellor took the part of Daniel Taylor as deputy surveyor. […] Miss Jane Grahame made a fine Nora Ruttledge and Miss Helen Russell, as the wife of the millionaire, played cleverly upon the foibles of her husband. Monty Vaughan by Mr Leslie Howard made a fine foil to the strength of character displayed by Denby, though the difference was sometimes too strongly accentuated. The other parts were uniformly well rapresented.
(Aberdeen Journal, November 13, 1917)

Under Cover, 1917


Matheson Lang

Matheson Lang