Friday, May 15, 2020


Elizabeth Shepherd, Erik Howell, Donald Pickering, Paul Jones.
"In Lieu of Reviews"

Reviews of live theatre being impossible during these days of the pandemic, THEATRE'S LEITER SIDE is pleased to provide instead accounts of previous theatre seasons--encompassing the years 1970-1975-for theatre-hungry readers. If you'd like to know the background on how this previously unpublished series came to be and what its relationship is to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage volumes (covering every New York play, musical, revue, and revival between 1920 and 1950), please check the prefaces to any of the entries beginning with the letter “A.” See the list at the end of the current entry.

Michael Barrington, Paul Jones, Donald Pickering.
CONDUCT UNBECOMING [Drama/India/Law/Mystery/Period/Trial] A: Barry England; D: Val May; S/C/L: Finlay James; P: Donald Albery and Roger L. Stevens; T: Ethel Barrymore Theatre; 10/12/70-2/14/71 (144)

A British melodrama about a red-coated, Kiplingesque regiment in late 19th-century India that was flogged for being terribly old-fashioned (Martin Gottfried called it “a theatrical wax museum”) and for utilizing mechanical characters instead of human beings.  Still, a decent number of reviewers found it gripping, “well-wrought” (Harold Clurman), and entertaining.

First produced by the Bristol Old Vic, and later a West End hit, Conduct Unbecoming played on Broadway with four of its original actors. Its tale concerns a kangaroo court martial held by an Indian Army regiment when one of their numbers, Second Lt. Edward Millington (Jeremy Clyde), a disaffected young officer, is unjustly suspected of having compromised the regimental honor by assaulting an officer’s attractive widow, Mrs. Marjorie Hasseltine (Elizabeth Shepherd). The deed involved a sword thrust to her rear end, in the manner of the company sport of pig-sticking.

Richard Lupino, Paul Harding, Paul Jones.
His defense is placed in the hands of another young officer, Second Lt. Arthur Drake (Paul Jones), whose sense of fair play demands that he get to the bottom of the case rather than simply help his superiors convict the defendant.
Elizabeth Shepherd, Jeremy Clyde, Paul Jones.
Clive Barnes summed up the positive response by claiming Conduct Unbecoming to be “quite a wonderful example of this genre. It is a whodunit, a why-he-did-it and a where-it-was-done of . . . unusual interest and quality.” Donald Pickering, who played Capt. Rupert Harper, received a Tony nomination for Best Feature Actor in a Play. Indian-born actress Madhur Jaffrey had a supporting role.

Previous entries:

Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
The Advertisement/
All My Sons
All Over
All Over Town
All the Girls Came Out to Play
Alpha Beta
L’Amante Anglais         
American Gothics
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little       
And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers
And Whose Little Boy Are You?
Anna K.
Anne of Green Gables
Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead
As You Like It
The Au Pair Man

Baba Goya [Nourish the Beast]
The Ballad of Johnny Pot
Barbary Shore
The Bar that Never Closes
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
The Beauty Part
The Beggar’s Opera
Behold! Cometh the Vanderkellens
Be Kind to People Week
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill
Bette Midler’s Clams on a Half-Shell Revue
Black Girl
Black Light Theatre of Prague
Black Picture Show
Black Sunlight
The Black Terror
Black Visions
Les Blancs
Blasts and Bravos: An Evening with H,L. Mencken
Blue Boys
Bob and Ray—The Two and Only
Boesman and Lena
The Boy Who Came to Leave
A Breeze from the Gulf
Brief Lives
Brother Gorski
Bullshot Crummond
The Burnt Flower Bed
Button, Button
Buy Bonds, Buster

The Cage
Candide (1)
Candide (2)
The Candyapple
Captain Brassbound’s Conversion
The Caretaker
La Carpa de los Raquichis
The Carpenters
The Castro Complex
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Changing Room
Charles Abbott and Son
Charley’s Aunt
Charlie Was Here and Now He’s Gone
Chemin de Fer
The Cherry Orchard
The Chickencoop Chinaman
The Children
Children! Children!
Children in the Rain
Children of the Wind
The Children’s Mass
A Chorus Line
The Chronicle of Henry VI: Part 1, Part II,
The Circle
Clarence Darrow
Cold Feet
Conditions of Agreement