facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Following official government advice theatres are currently closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus. For more information on cancelled performances click here.

08 April 1936: Novello is The Happy Hypocrite

First Published 23 April 2008, Last Updated 23 April 2008

Ivor Novello was a romantic matinee idol and Hollywood star in 1936, which is why it was something of a surprise to audiences at His Majesty’s to see him play an ugly, gambling, womanising, rake of a man in Max Beerbohm’s play The Happy Hypocrite, which opened on 8 April 1936.

The Happy Hypocrite, written in 1897, tells the story of Lord George Hall (Novello), who brings his debauched ways to an abrupt end after he is struck by cupid’s arrow while out on the town with his lover La Gambogi. His new heart’s desire is a young dancer called Jenny Mere, who says she will only marry a man with the face of a saint. Lord George subsequently purchases a mask to disguise his ugliness and discards his distinctly un-saintly ways in order to marry Jenny, casting La Gambogi aside in the process.

Starring alongside Novello in this production were Vivien Leigh as Jenny, Isabel Jeans as La Gambosi and Marius Goring as Amor.

Welshman Novello first found public acclaim as a singer and composer during World War One with the song Keep The Home Fires Burning. He went on to write and star in many musical shows and plays in the West End, including The Truth Game – written under the pen name of H E S Davidson – Glamorous Night, Symphony In Two Flats, Party, Murder In Mayfair, Careless Rapture and The Dancing Years, and wrote the music for many more. He began screen acting during the silent era with films including The White Rose, The Rat, Hitchcock’s The Lodger and Downhill, going on to find even greater acclaim in the talkies. He died in 1951 in the flat he owned above the Strand theatre in Aldwych, where he had often performed. In 2005 the theatre was renamed the Novello.

Playwright Beerbohm was the younger half-brother of actor-manager and third SOLT President Herbert Beerbohm-Tree. A radio broadcaster, critic, caricaturist and writer, Beerbohm’s works include the stories A Christmas Garland, Seven Men, the novel Zuleika Dobson and The Happy Hypocrite, which he wrote in 1897. Originally a short story, it was first performed as a play in 1900 at the Royalty, starring Frank Mills and Mrs Patrick Campbell.

CB

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.