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Description

This souvenir programme, dated 20 April 1927, is for a production at the Cardiff Playhouse (now the Prince of Wales pub) by Cardiff Jewish Amateur Players of “The Little Brother” by Benedict James. The proceeds of the performance were donated to local Jewish charities.

It is not known if this was a one-off performance or if the Cardiff Jewish Amateur Players was an ongoing group.

Contents:

Nine pages of the programme (images 2-5 and 8-12) contain advertisements for businesses, e.g. Pooles Limited, meat salesmen and contractors; Heath & Sons, selling music instruments and equipment; The Half Price Shops, ladies’ and children’s outfitters; The Hayes Bridge, Ironmongery stores; Faye & Clompus, selling gowns, coats, costumes, and millinery; The Carlton Shoe Co., selling shoes; Chamberlain & Sons (Cardiff) Ltd., wine and spirit merchants; W. P. Caryl, optician, Brain’s brewery; Pavilion, café and ballroom; Zemla’s delicatessen stores. In addition, Miss Hylda Clompus advertised her services as teacher of elocution.

Two pages in the middle of the programme (images 6-7) include a group photograph of the Cardiff Jewish Amateur Players; the photos of the organiser, Abe Zeidman, and producer, Jack Parkin; programme of music; and the cast list in order of appearance.

Image 13 is original photograph of the cast of “The Little Brother”. Comparing this image to the one included in the theatre programme, you will notice that the latter features an additional cast member in the back row, Maurice T. Mendelsohn. His photo was provided by the Manchester Jewish Dramatic Society and added to the original group photograph.

Image 14 is a newspaper article entitled, ‘For Jewish Charities: Enjoyable performance at Cardiff Playhouse’. A largely favourable review mentions several members of the cast, including Hylda Clompus, referring to her “fine elocution”.

Benedict James (1871-1957) was born in Blaenavon and appears to have been best known as a screenwriter in the silent film era, but he also wrote several plays, at least three of them on Jewish themes. “The Little Brother” was based on a novel by an American Jew, Milton Goldsmith, “Rabbi and Priest”, and premièred at the Ambassadors Theatre in London before being produced on Broadway, where it ran for 120 performances in 1918-19 with Tyrone Power in the cast. The plot concerned a Rabbi and a Catholic priest; the Rabbi's son and the priest's ward marry and are disowned, though it turns out that the two ministers are in fact brothers, separated forty years earlier after their parents were killed in a pogrom.

Sources.

- British Film Institute: https://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2bab2e37e4.
- Brotmanblog: A Family Journey: https://brotmanblog.com/2019/05/13/miltons-family-album-part-xiii-the-creative-talent-of-milton-goldsmith-himself/.
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedict_James.

Acknowledgements: With thanks to Robert Nathan, who shared the programme and agreed to its publication, and to John Minkes for his article, ‘THE LITTLE BROTHER – CARDIFF JEWISH AMATEUR PLAYERS IN 1927’, which had been published in the Bimah magazine, number 90, September 2019.

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