Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure
Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure is a 1921 play written by Walter Hackett. It was a hit on the West End, where it ran for 18 months, and also on Broadway, where it was performed under the title Captain Applejack. It has been adapted multiple times as a movie and also as a stage musical.
|Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure|
|Written by||Walter Hackett|
|Date premiered||19 July 1921|
|Place premiered||Criterion Theatre|
Ambrose Applejohn is bored with his life in Cornwall, where he lives with his ward, Poppy Faire. He decides to sell his country estate so he can find excitement elsewhere. Several strangers appear at his door, all claiming reasons to be there that have nothing to do with the sale. One woman says she is a Russian dancer trying to defect, and a man claims to be looking for her. A couple says their car has broken down. Applejohn assumes they are all really prospective buyers investigating his home.
That night Applejohn dreams he is a pirate, Captain Applejack. His visitors appear in the dream as his adversaries. The next day, he discovers that the visitors are thieves hunting for a treasure map hidden in the house. Applejohn and Faire overcome the criminals, and he decides that life in Cornwall is exciting enough after all.
The play was previewed at the Theatre Royal, Brighton on 11 July 1921, under the title Spanish Treasure. After being retitled Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure, it made its West End debut at the Criterion Theatre on 19 July 1921. Charles Hawtrey produced and starred as Applejohn; Marion Lorne played Poppy Faire. The play continued at the Criterion over a year, until 19 August 1922, with 454 performances. It then moved to the Savoy Theatre on the Strand, opening there on 2 October 1922 and running until 27 January 1923, with 139 performances.
While the West End production was still ongoing, a Broadway production was launched, this time titled Captain Applejack. Wallace Eddinger played Applejohn, with Phoebe Foster as Faire. Sam H. Harris produced. It opened on 30 December 1921 at the Cort Theatre, where it ran for 195 performances, closing in June 1922.
Cast and characters
The characters and cast from the West End and Broadway productions are given below:
|Character||Criterion Theatre cast||Savoy Theatre cast||Cort Theatre cast|
|Ambrose Applejohn||Charles Hawtrey||Charles Hawtrey||Wallace Eddinger|
|Poppy Faire||Marion Lorne||Marion Lorne||Phoebe Foster|
|Horace Pengard||Edward Rigby||
|Lush||Arthur Fayne||Arthur Fayne||John Gray|
|Mrs. Pengard||Annie Esmond||Annie Esmond||Helen Lackaye|
|Anna Valeska||Hilda Moore||Hilda Moore||Mary Nash|
||William Stack||Hamilton Revelle|
||Wilson Blake||Walter F. Scott|
||Austin Fairman||Harold Vermilye|
|Mrs. Agatha Whatcombe||Mona Harrison||Mona Harrison||Marie Wainwright|
A reviewer for The Spectator "thoroughly enjoyed" the play, despite criticizing it as "silly" and "loosely put together". In The New York Times, Alexander Woollcott praised the play as a "droll and ingenious farce".
- Wearing, J. P. (2014). The London Stage 1920-1929: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel (2nd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-8108-9301-6.
- Wearing, J. P. (2014). The London Stage 1920-1929: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel (2nd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-8108-9301-6.
- "Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 September 1922. p. 5.
- Woollcott, Alexander (31 December 1921). "The Play". The New York Times. 71 (23, 352). p. 14.
- "Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure at the Criterion Theatre". The Spectator. 30 July 1921. p. 141.