Escape (play)

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Escape playtext.jpg
Written by John Galsworthy
Date premiered12 August 1926 (UK)
26 October 1927 (US)
Place premiered Ambassadors Theatre London (UK)
Booth Theatre
New York City (US)
Original languageEnglish
Genre Drama
Setting Hyde Park, London and Dartmoor

Escape is a play in nine episodes by the British writer John Galsworthy. The world premiere was on August 12, 1926 [1] at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End, produced by Leon M. Lion. The play ran until March of the following year, when it went on tour of England with Gerald Ames in the lead role. [2]


Subsequently, the play transferred to Broadway where it was produced and staged by Winthrop Ames [3] (no relation of Gerald Ames). The American production ran for 173 performances from 26 October 1927 to March 1928 at the Booth Theatre, New York City. [4] It was included in Burns Mantle's The Best Plays of 1927–1928.

The play was made into a film in 1930. [5]


Former World War I British Army Captain Matt Denant protects a poor prostitute from an over-persistent plainclothes police detective. In a scuffle Denant hits the officer who as a result falls, striking his head, and dies. Denant gets sentenced to Dartmoor Prison for manslaughter and escapes from a work detail. The plot is a series of episodes where Denant meets people who will either abet or obstruct his escape thus becoming a study in class structure and ethos according to Galsworthy's interpretation of 1920s British society.

Cast of UK Premiere in order of appearance [6]

Cast of US Premiere in order of appearance


Newspaper advertisement for The Campbell Playhouse presentation of "Escape" (October 15, 1939) Campbell-Playhouse-Escape.jpg
Newspaper advertisement for The Campbell Playhouse presentation of "Escape" (October 15, 1939)

Escape was adapted for the 1930 film Escape , and remade in 1948. [7]

A radio adaptation of play was broadcast in two parts August 15 and August 22, 1937, on the Columbia Workshop . Orson Welles starred as Captain Matt Denant. [8] :338

The play was adapted for the October 15, 1939, episode of the CBS Radio series The Campbell Playhouse . The cast included Orson Welles (Matt Denant), Wendy Barrie (Lady in the hotel), Ray Collins (Murdered cop, Forgiving Judge, Unforgiving Farmer), Jack Smart (another Cop, Farmhand), Edgar Barrier (Priest and Cabbie), Bea Benaderet (Girl in park, Woman at picnic), Harriet Kay (Maid), Mabel Albertson (Bessie) and Benny Rubin (Man at picnic). [8] :354 [9] :57 [10] [11]

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  1. "Austin Trevor". IMDb .
  2. Surrey Mirror, p5 Friday 12 August 1927 -
  3. "Production of Escape - Theatricalia".
  4. League, The Broadway. "Escape – Broadway Play – Original - IBDB".
  5. 1 2 "Phyllis Konstam". Initiatives of Change UK. Retrieved 2 March 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. The Magazine - Programme No.605, Grantley & Co.Ltd, 28 Leicester Square, London WC2
  7. Goble, Alan (1 January 1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN   9783110951943 via Google Books.
  8. 1 2 Welles, Orson; Bogdanovich, Peter; Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1992). This is Orson Welles . New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN   0-06-016616-9.
  9. Orson Welles on the Air: The Radio Years. New York: The Museum of Broadcasting, catalogue for exhibition October 28–December 3, 1988.
  10. "The Campbell Playhouse". RadioGOLDINdex. Archived from the original on 6 December 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  11. "The Campbell Playhouse: Escape". Orson Welles on the Air, 1938–1946. Indiana University Bloomington. 15 October 1939. Retrieved 31 July 2018.