The Middle Watch
by Ian Hay & Stephen King-Hall, produced by Eric Hart
25 February 1939, Crofton Halls
We know little about The Middle Watch, other than that it was the Players’ third or possibly fourth performance, in February 1939, and was successful enough to encourage the more ambitious Hassan five months later.
With the Society still lacking a permanent home, the play was put on at the Crofton Halls and produced by Eric Hart. A curiously pompous review by one ‘FPR’ in an unidentified local paper (see below) seemed more concerned with the application of asterisks to theatre reviews than what was happening before his eyes, and probably left the director and cast (or ‘caste’ as he preferred to spell it) wondering ‘but what did you actually think of the show?’
Without doubt to modern eyes this would seem a quaint and possibly insulting farce concerning British service personnel abroad and predictably stereotyped foreigners, but for its time, when most of the audience would have never met anyone from outside the British Isles, it would have been a diverting evening’s entertainment. The reviewer in a rare moment of clarity described it as “a good result”.