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Lady in Danger (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lady in Danger
Written byMax Afford
Alexander Kirkland (US version)
Date premiered28 February 1942
Place premieredIndependent Theatre, Sydney
Original languageEnglish
Genrecomedy-mystery
SettingLondon

Lady in Danger was a play by Australian writer Max Afford. It was one of the few Australian plays to enjoy a run on Broadway. It was also adapted for radio and television.[1]

Plot

Monica Sefton is the wife of a sacked reporter. She plans to write a thriller to restore the family fortune. She accidentally stumbles upon a Nazi spy ring.

Production history

1942 amateur production

The play was first produced by Doris Fitton at the Independent Theatre in Sydney in early 1942.[2]

1944 professional production

The play was seen by representatives of J.C. Williamsons Ltd, the leading theatrical producers in the country, who bought the rights. Since Williamsons had not produced an Australian play in over 20 years this was seen as a positive step for Australian playwriting.[3]

The play made its professional debut on 15 March 1944 at the Theatre Royal in Sydney and was positively received.[4]

Afford said “The season at the Independent, gave me an opportunity to improve any weaknesses. Naturally, the professional production will be a more elaborate one particularly in the last act, which requires sliding panels and secret passages.” [5]

The play was published in 1944.[6]

1945 Broadway production

Ad in Detroit Free Press 18 Mar `945
Ad in Detroit Free Press 18 Mar `945

The play was also optioned for production on Broadway, although it was rewritten by Alexander Kirkland to be set in Melbourne, Australia and be about a Japanese spy ring. The character of Bill Sefton was changed to an American soldier who was stationed in Melbourne, and his wife Monica now grew up in Japan, not Germany. The other characters played Australians.[7] Kirkland finished his new draft by September 1944.[8] Robert Cummings and Jane Wyman were announced as possible stars.[9]

Lady in Danger premiered in Detroit in March 1945.[10][11]

Cast

  • Ronald Alexander as Detective Dennis Marsh
  • Gary Blivers as Frederick Smith
  • Helen Claire as Monica Sefton
  • Vicki Cummings as Sylvia Meade
  • Clarence Derwent as Chief Inspector Burke
  • Elfrida Derwent as Miss Hodges
  • Paul Fairleigh as Karl Kurt
  • Hudson Faussett as Constable Pogson

Response

Reviews were not strong and it closed after twelve performances.[12][13]

The Cincinnati Enquirer said "there is not the tiniest suspicion of comedy throughout and the only mystery about the entire sorry affair is how in the name of things theatrical it was produced in the first place."[14] Walter Winchell said "it had better have stayed down under."[15] The Daily News called it "a tepid chiller."[16]

"That's not: too good, is it?" said Afford. "Still, ¥ don't suppose you can hitthe jackpot eveir time."

1955 radio adaptation

The play was adapted for radio on the ABC in 1955.[17][18]

1959 television version

Lady in Danger
Based onplay by Max Afford
Written byPhilip Albright
Directed byColin Dean
StarringMadi Hedd
James Condon
Queenie Ashton
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducerLes Weldon
Running time60 mins
Production companyABC
Release
Original networkABC
Original release9 September 1959 (live broadcast Sydney)[19]
24 September 1959 (taping Melbourne)

The play was adapted for television on the ABC in the 1950s.[20] Broadcast live in Sydney on 9 September 1959, a kinescope recording ("telerecording") was made of the broadcast and shown in Melbourne on 24 September 1959.[21]

Cast included Madi Hedd, James Condon and Queenie Ashton.[22] It is not known if the kinescope recording still exists.

Cast

Production

It was the first drama directed by Colin Dean at the ABC. He was assigned the job by ABC's Director of Drama, Neil Hutchinson. "It was a 'try-out' to see if I can do it," said Dean. "It wasn't a substantial play."[23]

An especially trained cat was used for certain scenes.[24]

Reception

The Age said it "provided an interesting hour's entertainment... outstanding feature was the fine sustained acting from Madi Hedd... James Condon... was not quite as convincing."[25]

The Sydney Morning Herald called it a "neatly tailored thriller" which set "out to do nothing more ambitious than pass an entertaining hour" and "did just that and nothing more in a very competent live television production... [the cast] all played as though they had been doing this kind of thing for most of their working lives. Colin Dean's production aptly matched their efficiency and craftsmanship."[26]

See also

References

  1. ^ Michael J. Tolley, 'Afford, Malcolm (Max) (1906–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 10 January 2013.
  2. ^ ""LADY IN DANGER"". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 2 March 1942. p. 7. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  3. ^ "MUSIC AND DRAMA". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 4 April 1942. p. 6. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  4. ^ "MUSIC AND DRAMA". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 18 March 1944. p. 6. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  5. ^ Australasian Radio Relay League., The wireless weekly : the hundred per cent Australian radio journal, Wireless Press, retrieved 20 April 2019
  6. ^ The Australian woman's mirror, The Bulletin Newspaper, 1924, retrieved 20 April 2019
  7. ^ "MUSIC AND DRAMA". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 11 December 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Kirkland, Afford Pen New Thriller". Daily News. 24 September 1944. p. 230.
  9. ^ "His play may have its face lifted". The Sun (2188). New South Wales, Australia. 18 March 1945. p. 4 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE SUNDAY SUN). Retrieved 30 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "AUSTRALIAN'S PLAY ON BROADWAY". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 28 March 1945. p. 20. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  11. ^ "'LADY IN DANGER' OPENING TONIGHT: ESPIONAGE PLAY, FIRST SEEN IN AUSTRALIA, TO MAKE BOW AT BROADHURST THEATRE IRWIN TO BE PRODUCER THAT TRUEX FAMILY" by SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 29 Mar 1945: 29.
  12. ^ "New York Critic Finds S.A. Author's Play Dull". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 31 March 1945. p. 8. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  13. ^ "SPY THRILLER ENDS ITS BROADWAY RUN: IN LONG-RUN COMEDY" by SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 9 April 1945: 22.
  14. ^ "Ham Holiday". Cincinnati Enquirer. 1 April 1945. p. 60.
  15. ^ Winchell, Walter (8 April 1945). "Lady in Danger". The Cincinnati Enquirer. p. 38.
  16. ^ Chapman, John (31 March 1945). "'Lady in Danger' a Tepid Chiller with an Australian background". p. 151.
  17. ^ Radio adaptation of Lady in Danger at Ausstage
  18. ^ "WEEKEND LISTENING". The Argus (Melbourne). Victoria, Australia. 15 October 1955. p. 4 (The Argus WEEKENDER). Retrieved 9 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "Afford thriller on TV identifier". ABC Weekly. 9 September 1959. p. 12.
  20. ^ Leslie Rees, Australian Drama in the 1970s, Angus & Robertson, 1978 p 232
  21. ^ "TV Guide". The Age. 24 September 1959. p. 17.
  22. ^ "ABN 'Live' Drama". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 September 1959. p. 11.
  23. ^ "Interview with Colin Dean". ABC TV Gore Hill. November 2004.
  24. ^ ""Role" for a cat on TV". The Age. 24 September 1959. p. 12.
  25. ^ "Madi Hedd Impresses in Lady in Danger on TV". The Age. 8 October 1959. p. 14.
  26. ^ "Competent Thriller on ABC 2". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 September 1959. p. 14.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 August 2021, at 03:23
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