British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
King John (1941): Old Vic Theatre Company, New Theatre, London
PrKing John (1941)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Esme Church (Queen Elinor); Ann Casson (Arthur); Lewis Casson (Cardinal Pandulph); George Hagan (Philip the Bastard); Ernest Hare (Hubert); Ernest Milton (King John); Abraham Sofaer (Philip, King of France); Sybil Thorndike (Constance).
According to the news cuttings at the V&A Performance archive, the production also played in Kendal and in venues in Scotland as part of the Old Vic's C.E.M.A. tours.
"Other outstanding performances in this stirring and vital production were Abraham Sofaer's Philip, King of France..." ~ Theatre World, [V&A Performance archive un-dated news cutting]
"The English are a study in scarlet, the French are more exposed to the blues. The stage blazes, until the deeds of darkness are due and Little Arthur must contribute his sad share to English history. The colouring is in all things vivid and self-assertive." ~ Ivor Brown, Observer, 1 June 1941
"The scenery is not elaborate; curtains with heraldic beasts and devices supply the background, but by an ingenious use of mime and the principles of ballet, by effects of grouping and lighting, by the sweep and fall of banners, by formalized attitude and gesture, by, indeed, using properties and protagonists as an artist uses colour and composition, the producers convey the full impression of the impact of great events and make the play throughout not only exciting but beautiful to watch." ~ The Times, 9 July 1941
"What a bad play this is!...And what a wretched lot of characters!...Mr. Tyrone Guthrie and Mr. Lewis Casson, calling in Mr. Frederick Crooke to design the scenery and costumes, made the play beautiful to look at....And why must Prince Henry be given to a young woman?" ~ James Agate, Sunday Times, 13 July 1941
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