By J.B. Priestley
The Heinemann performs sequence bargains modern drama and vintage performs in sturdy lecture room versions. during this play an inspector interrupts a celebration to enquire a girl's suicide, and implicates all the party-makers in her demise.
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In Major Vexted’s house a séance has taken place. Suddenly the lights go out, and a man appears out of the rain. It turns out that all the persons who had known Ronnie Vexted before his death in action will meet him again. Millar’s play is exceptional in that it neither idealises nor sentimentalises the returned soldier: during his lifetime Ronnie had been a disagreeable character, he had made several women unhappy, had cheated the butler out of his savings, had misappropriated the mess funds and had forced his father to help him out of one scrape after another.
In Act II (1915) Smith has become a Colonel in the regiment where Alec serves as a Lieutenant, while Sir Dennys has joined the new National Reserve as a Private. A great deal of harmless fun results from Colonel Smith’s visit to Sir Dennys’s house where the family are in agony over the question of how to behave to a superior officer who is also a tradesman. Act III is set in the future when Smith and Alec have both returned as highly decorated officers, Smith as Brigadier General. Now it is the older Broughtons who would like their daughter to marry the successful General, and Smith reveals that he has been in love with Betty all along, which leads to the happy ending.
28 The Theatre of War When her true identity is revealed, her husband faces a court martial, but after a series of farcical situations (as the Brigadier describes it, ‘to judge by the row, people began to fall downstairs in relays’, 50), a number of preposterous coincidences allow all difficulties to be resolved, the Brigadier is promoted to Divisional General and Glenister is sent to Paris on leave with his young wife. 36 3 The Home Front The term ‘home front’ was used at the time both in a serious and in a derisive sense.