Abraham Lincoln

By John Drinkwater.

Roles: Caleb Jennings / William Scott.

Honest Sentiment

Having experimented with a series of new plays, Coventry's Belgrade Theatre turns to a good old one, John Drinkwater's Abraham Lincoln. The play wears well and the production is one of the theatre's best. One of the things that a playwright in 1918 was not ashamed of was a little honest sentiment. An example is the episode of the condemned soldier (admirably played here by Alan Howard) whose life Lincoln spares.

The interesting point is that last night, when the soldier's subsequent death in action was announced, the theatre was filled with agonised "Ohs" - a kind of audience-reaction I have not heard for a long time.

Alan as the soldier

The Belgrade players (a score of them) are joined by Robert Marsden, whose Lincoln is a model of authority through restraint. The theatre's director, Bryan Bailey, has produced the play with great care, helped by a new designer, Sally Hulke.


The Birmingham Mail, 4.11.59.

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