14 March 1921
WHEN Miss Clemence Dane, already known as an accomplished novelist, stepped on to the stage of St. Martin's Theatre on Monday night and informed the audience, exceedingly enthusiastic about her play, that she could not make a speech (a statement which she very charmingly falsified) someone in the gallery gallantly and truly retorted, 'But you can write a play!' And, indeed, Miss Dane can write a play! The time she spent on the stage as an actress was clearly not wasted, and she has brought to the making of A Bill of Divorcement much knowledge of the theatre on its technical side. Her skill is so great that even when she commits grave errors, such as would involve another dramatist in disaster, she is able to retrieve her losses and skip easily into safety. Twice in the last act she nearly pushed her play over on to its side, and once in the second act she let it stagger dangerously; but she contrived to elude trouble, and the curtain finally descended amidst such applause as has rarely been heard in a London theatre, and has certainly not been heard there for some time.
A Bill of Divorcement is a piece of the theatre which looks uncommonly like a piece of life. It is a remarkable first play, although it is not so good as Miss Dane's first novel, Regiment of Women, in which she displayed very brilliantly that delight in dissection, that barbarous love of exposing a creature's writhings, which is characteristic of the ablest women novelists. The play has, I imagine, been written strictly to