This specific production does not yet have a description, but the play itself does:
The ‘Wee Men’ are the mischievous imps of Scottish folk-lore and one night they are on the prowl for a baby girl; the eldest old-man of the tribe is to be forced to take a bride.
Cast & Crew
|Unknown||Eric H Messiter|
|Director||H K Ayliff|
Came across this review in the Musical Times February 1 1924 whilst looking for references to my grandfather Rutland Boughton. He is credited with the incidental music for the production and the following review was provided by Gladys Ward. I have added a photograph of the complete review.
The ‘Wee Men’ are the mischievous imps of Scottish folk-lore, and one night they are on the prowl for a baby girl ; the eldest old-man of the tribe is to be forced to take a bride. The Blue Lady with her baby flees from them; she leaves the baby sale behind the protecting rowan over the lintel of the door of the cottage of Grandpa Grumps, the village cobbler. But a cantankerous customer, wishing to do him harm that night, removes the rowan, and the ‘wee men’ enter and make oft with the precious baby. The baby’s name is James, however, which proves to the ‘wee men’ that he cannot be a girl; but before their mistake has been discovered they have endowed him with ‘the wings of imagination, the bowl of pathos, and the feather of laughter.’ We learn just before the end that the baby’s surname was Barrie, and a solution of a literary problem as convincing as most has been propounded to us. The authoresses of a children’s play of considerable charm are two Scottish ladies, Misses Brenda Girvin and Monica Cosens. and the incidental music is by Rutland Boughton. Produced at the Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, on December 26 for a five weeks’ run, the little musical play met with a good deal of enthusiasm from children of all ages, in spite of an infusion of Scottish (dialect well enough done to be a trifle baffling to the Birmingham public, but scarcely well enough done to pass for the real thing.
A Rowan’ duet for Grandpa and his niece Patsy early in the cottage scene has an attractive lilt ; it is an inter-polated number, and not by Mr. Boughton. The composer of The Immortal Hour is never at a loss, however, when dealing with fairies and other unseen people and the airy lightness of his music to the scenes in which these play a part is just the sort of thing which carries conviction. lie has his own formulas for the unseen, of course, and those who know his Fiona Macleod settings do not need to be told what these are, but they are here tempered very finely to the mood of a play designed to appeal to the child mind. A March of the Wee Men is conceived in a vein at once simple and grotesque which is extremely captivating when heard in association with the action devised to accompany it. The score does not suggest that the composer spent much time in polishing it, but Mr. Boughton’s first-hand thoughts are nearly always his most apt, and in this music he accomplishes what he set out to do.
Added by Nicholas Thompson – April 8th 2012
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