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Malcolm Cherry and Gladys Cooper in The Misleading Lady

May 19, 2013

Malcolm Cherry and Gladys Cooper, in Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard’s play, The Misleading Lady, produced in London at the Playhouse Theatre on 6 September 1916 with a run of 231 performances.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1916)

‘An American comedy, The Misleading Lady, one of London’s productions at the Play House [sic], is whimsically declared to be amusing just because it is crude. Yet it is impossible not to like The Misleading Lady. The principal artists are Miss Gladys Cooper, Mr. Malcolm Cherry, and Mr. Weedon Grossmith. The plot primarily consists of a flirtation between the hero and heroine, in the course of which the misleading lady induces her partner to propose marriage, and then turns him down with the explanation that it was only her fun! The admirer is tragically hurt, and angrily declares that, as she has used her primitive weapons, that is to say, her charms, he will use his, namely, his brute force. Whereupon he throws this young society girl over his shoulder and carries her off in his motor car to his rustic shack in the Adirondacks. There are some lively scenes before the modern Petruchio masters this Katherine sufficiently for her to say she is quite willing to become his wife. And yet all this did not make the play. As in America by another comedian [i.e. Frank Sylvester], so in England by Mr. Weedon Grossmith, the winning card was an escaped lunatic, the pet of the keepers, and the delight of the audience, which thinks he is Napoleon! This is an intensely pathetic character, a harmless, lovable travesty of a man, capable on occasion of real dignity. ”Boney,” as the two keepers call him, renders a small service to the hero, who accepts the suggestion that he should present his mad benefactor with a sword. Boney takes it with the silly grin of the imbeceile, but as soon as he feels it in his hands his expression changes to one of deep earnestness, he draws his shabby figure to its full height, and with tremendous impressiveness, he creates the giver ”Marshal of France,” and stalks grandiloquently away, the three men standing at the salute! Half the audience laughed, half nearly wept, and all cheered.’
(The Auckland Star, Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, 30 December 1916, p. 14e. The London cast also included Ronald Colman as Stephen Weatherbee, a character played in the New York production by John Cumberland.)

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