“The Silver Whistle”

Ernest Thesiger as Mr. Beebe

Duchess Theatre, London

May 1 - 12, 1956

15 perf


“‘The Silver Whistle’ (Duchess) is a comedy, of American origin - though it has been, implausibly, Anglicised - that reminds me of Pollyanna and her mission.  That tiresome child was resolved to spread a little happiness.  The voluble, personable tramp who gets admission to an old folks’ home - thanks to a borrowed birth certificate by which he passes as seventy-seven - appears to have much the same idea.  He has a vein of appalling whimsy.  Our occasional gentle amusement at his wilder freaks of the imagination is overlaid by the certain knowledge that before long he and the author (Robert McEnroe) will blurt into fragrant-minute verbiage.

Textually, it is a sorry night.  We have to get our pleasure from the vigorous attack of Peter Cushing, and from the delicate performances of such players as Mary Merrall, Olga Lindo, and Robin Bailey.  Mr. Bailey has become one of the most expressive actors in the theatre; we shall  not forget his mingling of primness and passion as a vicar called, annoyingly, in the programme, ‘The Reverend Watson.’  And we cannot help admiring Ernest Thesiger’s wry pathos, though here my admiration is affected by grief that an actor of Mr. Thesiger’s quality should have to play so deplorable a part.”

The Illustrated London News, May 12, 1956