A century ago this week, we reviewed the debut play by a 20-year old actor, then unknown as a playwright: Noël Coward.
I’ll Leave It to You, a ‘light comedy in three acts’ opened on May 3 at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester. Our reviewer commented: “The author describes the piece as a light comedy, but it really borders on farce. The dialogue is witty at times, and many pungent allusions catch the fancy of the audience. The piece throughout was greatly relished on Monday; it is some time since the Gaiety rang with such hearty and continuous laughter.
“The acting throughout is of a high standard. Kate Cutler, although looking somewhat youthful for the mother of a grown-up family, displays all that womanly charm which wins all hearts. As Uncle Daniel, J Farren Soutar brings to bear a quiet manner which is vastly effective. Noël Coward gives a spirited performance as Bobbie, and Douglas Jeffries, in a more sober vein, is excellent as Oliver. Muriel Pope, at one time a prominent member of Miss Horniman’s company, is graceful and charming as Evangeline. Stella Jesse is to be complimented on an intelligent and clever performance as Sylvia. Moya Nugent, as Joyce, plays with marked success, and Esme Wynne does well as Faith Crombie. Mrs Crombie has an able exponent in Lois Stuart. EB Hunter contributes a capital character sketch as the butler, Griggs.”
Later that year, the play transferred to the New Theatre in the West End, where it was again lauded by our critic as “clever young Noël Coward’s bright and entertaining piece” when it opened on July 21.
For more from The Stage Archive, visit thestage.co.uk/archive