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Hilda Trevelyan and Pauline Chase in a revival of J.M. Barrie’s fairy play, Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 16 December 1907

August 14, 2013

Hilda Trevelyan as Wendy and Pauline Chase as Peter in J.M. Barrie’s fairy play, Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, revived at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 16 December 1907
(photo: Bassano, London, 1907)

‘The Christmas season in the playhouse has begun thus early, for the Duke of York’s has reopened for the fourth year in succession with Peter Pan, Miss Pauline Chase reappearing as Peter and Miss [Hilda] Trevelyan as Wendy. I know of no type of entertainment with the exception of the Savoy operas that has created such a cult as Peter Pan, and like those delightful entertainments it has introduced the playhouse in quarters where it was never heard of before. Peter Pan parties are likely to be the vogue of the day as they were last season, and there will probably be a new outburst of Peter Pan literature of various kinds.’
(J.M. Bulloch, The Sphere, London, Saturday, 21 December 1907, p.238a)

‘The vogue of Peter Pan is really extraordinary. The first night it was produced on this its fourth-year season it was received with almost hysterical enthusiasm by a house which knew every line of the script and every turn of stage management. Every new “line,” every new bit of business, came as a delightful surprise, and the entertainment was sent off with a welcome as hearty as the cheers which have just made Tetrazzini a lion elsewhere.
‘The other theatre entertainments for children – Alice in Wonderland not excepted – have never attracted such a huge audience as Peter Pan. This is rather astonishing, for unlike Alice it has curiously grown-up elements in it which deserve the attention of some serious student of psychology although nobody has treated it in that light. Yet I believe it is just those elements – some of them like a sad, far-off voice – that attract grown-ups, and it is just these moments which Miss Pauline Chase with all her charm does not capture. Thus, for example, when standing on the rock amid the rising seas, she exclaims “To die would be a great adventure,” she says it as a child from a copybook not as one who feels it – as Melisande would have felt it.
‘Miss [Nina] Boucicault [in the first production of Peter Pan, Duke of York’s, London, 27 December 1904] with her fine wistfulness is the true Peter, but on the first night her place was the stalls and not the stage. In all the lighter moments Miss Chase is very bright and pretty, leaving the pathos to Miss Trevelyan, a far more experienced actress, whose Wendy has lost none of its delicacy. Mr. Robb Harwood, replacing Mr. [Gerald] Du Maurier, is excellent as the Pirate Hook, and Miss [Sybil] Carlisle resumes her part of Mrs. Darling to the excellent inconsequence of Mr. A.E. Matthews as the father of the children. The mounting is just as ingenious as ever, showing an extraordinary appreciation of the child’s desire to see the inside of things.
‘The entertainment has, as I suggested last week, duly produced its own literature, for Mr. John Hassall has issued a series of six long panels illustrating Mr. Barrie’s charming story. The pictures, which are issued by Lawrence and Jellicoe at 2s. each (unframed), are beautifully reproduced in colour and form ideal decorations for a nursery.’
(J.M. Bulloch, The Sphere, London, Saturday, 28 December 1907, p.264a)

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