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Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Show's the Thing

Friday, June 7th., Cadogan Square, London.

To the Victoria Palace to see "The Show's the Thing", with Gracie Fields therein. Her husband, Archie Pitt, appears to be the author of this musical piece. My admiration for the show which is the thing has reserves. But my admiration for the way in which the author infallibly hits the nail on the head every time is without reserve. Archie Pitt knows the taste of his audience profoundly. Loud sallies of laughter going off like a gun very thirty seconds or so - throughout the evening. This kind of success proves by comparison how chill and partial is the enthusiasm aroused by successful pieces in an ordinary West End theatre. Certainly it is a very agreeable sensation to see two thousand people unanimous in uncontrolled mirth.

Production work began on Archie Pitt’s show, ‘The Show’s the Thing’, in 1928. As with many of Archie’s productions, the show had a tour in the provinces before coming into the West End, It officially opened at the King’s Theatre, Southsea over Christmas1928. Gracie variously featured as, The Lady With The Elastic Voice, The Maid Victoria, a Spanish Dancer, The Cleaner and even Archie’s daughter in one scene. There were constant changes in the scenes and songs, honing it to perfection before it arrived in London. 

The show opened in London for a successful run at the Victoria Palace, but had to move out for the next variety show to move in. ‘The Show’s the Thing’ then transferred to theLyceum Theatre, opening the 19th August 1929, before transferring again to the Winter Garden Theatre, Drury Lane. The show played three West End theatres, but ultimately was turned out of two of them, even though the Box Office was turning in more money than when the show went in.


Additionally for June 7th., see 'The smell of success'

He says he smells a good or bad play. Showing MS. of an accepted play to Edgar he said: "Smell that. Smell it. Doesn't it smell good?" Once, when listening to an idea for a play, he sniffed all the time - sniff, sniff, sniff - and at the end said: "No, that doesn't seem to me to smell very good." Once Michael Morton intruded on him; he refused to listen, but Michael made him. Michael said: "My idea is for a little Russian girl who wants to study, and she can't get away unless she takes the prostitute's ticket - the yellow ticket as it is called. That's what they have to do you know." Said Woods, startled: "It is? It is? I'll buy your play." Morton said it wasn't finished. "Never mind, I'll buy," and he bought it on the spot. He always thus makes up his mind at once, and won't wait. The legend is that he never makes a mistake. But it can't be so.

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