20 JANUARY 1950, Page 13

Alexandra Palace

For the most part, plays televised from theatres are an abomina- tion ; they are neither theatre nor television. But I confess to a sneaking pleasure I took in Mr. Tod Slaughter's monstrous piece of nonsense, Spring-Heeled Jack, Which was relayed from the old Theatre Royal, Stratford-Atte-Bowe. First, the company kept a straight face—with the exception, perhaps, of Mr. Slaughter himself, who wears a countenance of villainously convoluted rubber. Secondly, the storm of hisses from the audience (plus an occasional ribaldry from the same source which winged its happy way into the microphone) could have come only from a theatre audience ; it could not have emanated from that cloister, the studio. But why did the cameras not go a logical step further, and bring audience and stage into the right relation, by showing us the theatre itself— all boxes and circles in the proper horse-shoe shape—from time to time during the drama ? The audience here was half the play, and (though markedly audible) was invisible.