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Thursday, 27 December 2012

A fateful interest

Thursday, December 27th., Cadogan Square, London.

Kingsway Theatre. "Twelfth Night". When I took my friends into box, there was not a soul in the stalls; two people came in half way through 1st act. Handfuls of people in other parts of the house. The fist effect was pathetic. The comic actors had a tendency to hurry. This went off. Excellent performance. Audience very appreciative. I enjoyed it more than the other two performance which I had seen. Then we went behind to Dorothy Cheston's room, and heard about things. At first they said "We'll just run through it." But D. said "A.B.'s in the house." "That's someone to play to anyway," said Viola Tree. At one point Viola Tree slipped into her part in "Midsummer Night's Dream", but slipped out again.

Viola Tree (1884 – 1938) was an English actress, singer, playwright and author. Daughter of the actor Herbert Beerbohm Tree, she made many of her early appearances with his company at His Majesty's Theatre. Later she appeared in opera, variety, straight theatre and film.

The whole performance was very good. The thing was caused through the most amateurish advertising. The troupe had to laugh. Dorothy Cheston went off quite merrily with Pat Warren and Richard to the Savoy for a bite of supper. I came home with Claude Warren and put her and her bag into a taxi for Paddington. She would arrive at Henley 1.17. Quelle vie! Curious that D.C. seemed to see nothing queer in the statement that the company decided to play up because I was there.

Dorothy Cheston

I have recently been assisting Donald Calthrop in his Shakespeare productions. To my mind he is a wonderful producer. I put Dorothy Cheston on to him; she had acted for five years in the U.S.A. but couldn't get a decent job here. On the strength of what I said he actually gave her the part of Viola, without ever having seen her act! It was a frightful risk; but I knew she would come through, & she jolly well did; & has had some great notices.

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