Posts Tagged ‘Henry Ainley’


Henry Ainley in The Great Conspiracy, Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 1907

August 15, 2014

Henry Ainley as he appeared as Captain Roger Crisenoy opposite Irene Vanbrugh‘s Jeanne de Briantes in Madeleine Lucette Ryley‘s drama, The Great Conspiracy, which was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, on 4 March 1907. The piece ran for 60 performances.
(photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, 1907)

‘A play with an idea no fresher than that of a young girl’s outwitting of Napoleon – a play, in fact, with the plot and the sort of Bonaparte that have already served in musical comedy, yet a neat, well-planned if artificial piece that is as full of excitement as it is of improbabilities, and, for all its lack of true emotion, gives its three principal interpreters at the Duke of York’s fine opportunities for acting – as is The Great Conspiracy. Mrs. Ryley’s adaptation of M. Pierre Berton‘s Belle Marseillaise. The conspiracy in question, planned by the young heroine’s elderly husband, is one that fails, but the chief conspirator escapes, and Napoleon tries vainly to wrest from the wife the secret of her husband’s safety. Finally he hits on the device of marrying her afresh to a favourite young Captain of his who is infatuated with her, and with whom she, in turn, is in love. Her long colloquy with Napoleon, and the bridal scene, in which she explains to her lover the obstacle that stands in the way of their felicity, make the play. Yet it is the three chief players that make the success of the piece – Miss Irene Vanbrugh, who is alternately arch and tender, and has, in the bridal scene already mention, a moment of exquisite pathos; Mr. John Hare, a very slim and frigid Napoleon, yet authoritative, masterful, and grim; and Mr. Henry Ainley, surely the most attractive stage-lover we have on the London boards, because he is not afraid of emotion, and because to charming intonations of voice he adds perfect tact. With its thrilling story and its splendid representation, there should be a long run in store for The Great Conspiracy.’
(The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 9 March 1907, p. 362c)


Henry Ainley in the title role of Fishpingle, 1916

July 17, 2013

Henry Ainley (1879-1945), English actor, in the title role of Fishpingle, a comedy by H.A. Vachell, Haymarket, London, 30 May 1916
(photo: Malcolm Arbuthnot, London, 1916)

‘In the title-rôle of Mr. Horace Vachell’s new play, Fishpingle, at the Haymarket, which has proved to be a success, even though the critics were a bit lukewarm about it at first. The notion of a butler who knows better then his master is not new, but Mr. Vachell goes a step further and makes him his master’s own elder brother slightly removed and unblessed by the Church. Fishpingle is a clever admixture of eugenist and match-maker, and Mr. Ainley has admirably caught the spirit of the part.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 14 June 1916, p.327)

‘In Mr. Vachell’s successful play at the Haymarket in which the butler is a species of “deux ex machina” who proves to be the baronet’s elder brother (slightly removed), and who controls the destinies of all the other characters in the play, including those of the footman and the housemaid.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 21 June 1916, p.362a)