Mint Theatre streams free a rediscovered play by Miles Malleson

Miles Malleson, photo credit unknown

If he is remembered at all today, Miles Malleson would be best remembered for the numerous film and theatre roles in which he seemed to perpetually play dithering vicars or absent-minded petty officials in British comedy films from the 1930s to the 1960s. His charming expressions of befuddled Britishness made him a much-loved (and often working) actor.

But what is less remembered about the man that he was also a produced writer and translator of plays, particularly of those by Moliere. He also adapted for the stage works including short stories by Tolstoy and Chekhov. In the thirties and forties Malleson also contributed to many film screenplays, some of which he had small acting parts in.

After his death in 1969, his work became increasingly forgotten, especially as a writer. Until Mint Theater came across his work, over forty years later.

Mint Theater Company is a company based in New York, established in 1992, which stages rediscoveries of unjustly-forgotten works. One could could think of Mint as the American equivalent of London’s mighty Finborough Theatre in its work to revive plays worth seeing again.

Mint Theatre staged Malleson’s YOURS UNFAITHFULLY (1933) in 2016/7 to much acclaim, and followed this with staging his play CONFLICT (1925) in 2018.

CONFLICT is now available on demand until July 10 for free in the USA and UK. Please check for availability in other countries.

The recorded play lasts for 1 hour 52 minutes.

Directed by Jenn Thompson, the play follows Lady Dare Bellingdon, who craves something more. Unwilling to commit to Sir Major Ronald Clive, a Conservative standing for Parliament whose values don’t extend to his sexual relationship with Bellingdon, she ends up caught between Clive and his political opponent, the passionate and crusading Tom Smith in the work set in 1920s London. The play features two of Malleson’s favourite subjects for drama, sex and politics.

Recorded live in June 2018, with a three-camera HD setup, the production features Jessie Shelton as Lady Dare Bellingdon, Jeremy Beck as Tom Smith, and Henry Clarke as Sir Major Ronald Clive.

“We know there are many theatre lovers out there who are not in New York or are not ready to attend live performances, so we’re happy to share this wonderful production, which shares a director, set designer, and two actors with our current production of Chains by Elizabeth Baker,” says Mint Production Artistic Director Jonathan Bank. “Our national streaming audience was vitally important to us in 2020 and 2021 and we won’t abandon them now that we’re back to producing live performances.”

To watch CONFLICT and find out more, click here

“AN IMMACULATELY WELL-MADE, COMPREHENSIVELY SATISFYING PIECE OF THEATER, OLD-FASHIONED IN STYLE WITHOUT FEELING AT ALL DATED, AND THE MINT’S PRODUCTION, DIRECTED BY JENN THOMPSON AND FEATURING AN ENSEMBLE CAST OF SUPREME MERIT, IS BEYOND PRAISE.” – Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal