'Fall of Duty' is a new play by Alison Child, directed by Rosie Wakley.



1916 An actor falls from the sky in Northern France. A hundred years on can Sue and her son Jack, 20, escape political turmoil and an addiction to infinite warfare?  Four people thrust together by war, song, reality and escapism, but pulled apart by a century. The true story of Basil Hallam and Forces’ sweetheart, lesbian, Elsie Janis, recreating ‘Gilbert the Filbert the Knut with the ‘k’’. 


 I'm Gilbert the Filbert the Knut with a K

The pride of Piccadilly the blasé roué

Oh Hades, the ladies, who leave their wooden huts

For Gilbert the Filbert the Colonel of the Knuts.


You may look upon me as a waster, what?

But you ought to see how I fag and swot

For I'm called by two, and by five I'm out

Which I couldn't do if I slacked about

Then I count my ties and I change my kit

And the exercise keeps me awfully fit

Once I begin I work like sin

I'm full of go and grit.



Basil’s co-star. Elsie Janis "Night after night Elsie would be greeted at the stage door of the Palace  Theatre by well wishers who mobbed her car and insisted on pushing it in a triumphant procession to her hotel. One evening from out of the crowd came a low voice,                                                                         “Mademoiselle Janis, vous étiez épatante au jour d’hui.” Elsie called to the girl. She ran across the street dodging a bus and was invited to come backstage after the upcoming Saturday matinee. That’s how legendary theatrical lesbian Eva Le Gallienne  walked into Elsie’s life." *

Elsie was the first women to write, direct and star in her own silent movie. She features in the ‘Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy’, ‘Queer Readings of American Players in American Theatre History’. And Tallulah Bankhead’s autobiography. Don't think I don't want to explore Elsie, son, because I do. There's lots to explore!

*From Queer Readings of American Players in American Theatre History" Kim Marra (Editor), Robert A. Schanke (Editor)

Supported by the English Department and the Centre for Every Day Lives at War, at the University of Hertfordshire, the National Lottery and the Arts Council.