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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 440

updated
Saturday, 25 February 2006

Shock-headed Peter,
children's farce
by Philip Comyns Carr and Nigel Playfair
with music by Walter Rubens,
revived at the Garrick Theatre, London, 14 December 1901,
41 matinee performances

Shock-headed Peter, Garrick, 1901

A scene from Shock-headed Peter, Garrick, London, 14 December 1901,
showing 'shock-headed Peter (Mr. George Grossmith, jun.) in the middle.
On the left he is being pointed at by his father (Mr. Reginald Crompton),
who cured his children of misbehaviour by letting them do everything they pleased,
and his mother (Miss Kate Bishop). On the right are Peter's sister, Harriett (delightfully played by
Miss Kitty Loftus), Fidgetty Phil (Mr. H.M. Woodward), and Augustus (Mr. R.C. Herz),
who grew thin because he would not eat his soup.'

(from an original drawing by Fred Pegram)

'With one back cloth, six humorous young people, and a score of little children [including Marie Löhr making her London debut] the Garrick has managed to make a most amusing entertainment out of "Struwwelpeter" under the title Shock-headed Peter. The story ingeniously demonstrates the method of training which insists that a naughty child shall do precisely what it wants to do and then bear the consequences. It is all very simple, but in the hands of Mr. Philip Comyns Carr and Mr. Nigel Playfair it is most amusing without ever once becoming pedantic and without a single trace of vulgarity.
'The company is unusually good. The hit of the production is Miss Kitty Loftus as the little girl Harriett in early Victorian frocks. Miss Loftus is the very incarnation of happy mischievous childhood, and she so thoroughly enjoys her part that her humour becomes infectious. She would make a perfect Alice. She is admirably supported by Mr. George Grossmith, jur., in the title-rôle, by Miss Phyllis Beadon, a little girl who dances with extraordinary skill, and by Mr. Reginald Crompton, who sings excellently.'
(J.M. Bulloch, The Sphere, London, Friday, 5 January 1901, p.30b)

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Carr and Playfair's Shock-headed Peter was first produced at the Garrick Theatre, London, on 26 December 1900, when the chief characters were played by the same cast as in the 1901 revival. The piece was revived again at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 21 December 1912, when the title role was played by Edmund Gwenn and mama was again played by Kate Bishop.

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