19 JULY 1957, Page 32

SIR,—What could be more ironic than the j u xtr position of

David Watt's empty theatrical column last week and the fulsome self-congratulation with which Sir Stephen King-Hall records his own magnificent contribution to the English stage? Mr. Watt can find little to commend and nothing to notice. Sir Stephen provides the reason for this barrenness. Could such, tedious, low-brow amateurishness, such limited comedy and such trite themes as presently fill (arid kill) our theatres be concocted anywhere save in a country where men like the amiable Sir Stephen write jolly little plays to please their jolly little daughters? It is bad enough to write the things, but he even gets them put on. And he wonders that they were rejected even by a few managements! Such obvious masterpieces forsooth ! Off the Record! How could they fail to see its merits? 0 blind, generation! If such brilliance can be missed then le: the theaties close; they do not deserve to survive; How could Sir Laurence fail to present a' Hallmarked masterpiece to save the doomed St. James's? 01.1' worthy to die that worshipped not at this artistic altar!

If only all of Sir Stephen's excellent, money' making plays and the dreadful matinee masterpieces like them had 'always been rejected our theatre' might not have been clogged with stupid, half-class 'farces.' If only Sir Stephen were concerned that , good plays are turned down and less worried that the commercial johnnies make a mistake occasionalltr. When the theatre is dying it is rather nauseating to s read these coy, smug articles in your columns. 1111„ sort of opportunist, boodle-conscious outlook cu: the Arts makes me, and, I hope, a lot of others, Puk.e,, We can only thank God that TV now exists, wherein such worldly competence as Sir Stephen's may receive its due canonisation. Heaven forbid that the theatre should be saved for The Middle Watch and The Iron Duchess.—Yours faithfully,

Pall Mall, SW I