A comedy by W. Somerset Maugham.
The action takes place early in the century in Gerald Haistane's rooms in London, and at Mrs. Dot's country house on the Thames.
(Second performance: Thursday at 9.15 p.m.)
(June Thorburn appears by permission of the J. Arthur Rank Organisation, Ltd.)
This is one of those stylish little comedies that the young Mr. Maugham was writing in Edwardian days; it belongs, in fact, to 1908, his annus mirabilis, when he established the record (never yet beaten) of four plays running at the same time in the West End. The occasion was a triumph, too, for Marie Tempest, who played the heroine.
The situation is that Gerald Halstane's way of life as a fashionable London bachelor-about-town has brought him to the verge of bankruptcy. His friends offer to save him, but his code demands that he should go and 'rough it for a bit' in America. The alternative would be a wealthy marriage, and 'Mrs. Dot' (in other words Mrs. Worthley) is conveniently at hand.
She is an immensely wealthy widow, by virtue of the brewery left her by the late Mr. WorthIey-a fact of which, despite the snobbish conventions of 1908, she is not in the least ashamed: indeed, she even has beer upon her table! Moreover, it is soon clear that she loves Gerald no less than he loves her.
The answer might seem simple, but there is a snag. Gerald has been inveigled into an engagement with Lady Sellenger's daughter, Nellie. If she really wants to marry him, Mrs. Dot will have to dispose of that engagement.