From Mrs Rozanne D'Elia Sir: I am writing to applaud
(though perhaps regretfully) your extremely outspoken and truthful article (March 31) on Sir Noel Coward and ' Binkie ' Beaumont. While being unable to do anything but entirely admire 'The Master' for his wonderful talent and personality and all that he did for British theatre, I cannot agree with your article more regarding Mr Beaumont, who, to my own knowledge, did wield the 'mailed fist,' as you so aptly stated, at all those who dared to oppose his stranglehold on the West End.
My mother, Mary Clare, star of Nckl Coward's Cavalcade at Drury Lane, was a victim of the 'closed door' technique for so many years in so many ways, even to the point of not a mere mention of her name in connection with Cavalcade, in the ' birthday ' and ' Tributes ' programmer on Sir Noel. It was glibly stated during these interviews that on the first night of Cavalcade there was a bad stage hold-up when the hydraulic lift stuck, nearly wrecking the show, but conveniently unmentionable was the fact that it was my mother who saved the situation and held the show together by improvising an entire scene, enabling them to repair the lift — thus saving the show and the then Mr Coward's face. Perhaps this alone might have deserved a word or mention, quite apart from the fact that her very considerable talent contributed greatly to the success of his play. One wonders just how much talent the public has been deprived of, and how many good actors have been 'broken ' during Mr ' Binkie ' Beaumont's reign. Once again, thank you for your frankness.
Rozanne D'Elia 141 Coleherne Court, London SW5.
Note: It is regretted that most of the letters received, predominantly endorsing the Waspe view, cannot, for legal reasons, be printed. — Editor, The Spectator.