London Wall premiered in 1931 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, one of five plays by John Van Druten that enjoyed success in London in the early 30’s. This romantic drama charts the lives and loves of the women employed as shorthand typists in a bustling City law firm. It was acclaimed for its deftly etched characters and richly detailed atmosphere and ran for 170 performances before being made into a movie called “After Office Hours” featuring most of its West End cast.
London Wall tells the story of Pat Milligan, a naïve young typist who falls for the charms of a predatory junior lawyer. Watching with concern is the firm’s senior secretary, her too-timid suitor, and several others in the office. Presiding over all is Mr. Walker, gamely trying to navigate a new kind of office where men and women must work side by side. “Amid the drudgery of everyday tasks there are flashes of passion and aspiration…It’s a gossipy, competitive environment, which is evoked in a wry, elegant and often very funny style that invites comparisons with Mad Men.” (The Evening Standard)
“RIVETINGLY ENTERTAINING!” Michael Billington, The Guardian
London Wall had its first London revival last year when an enthusiastically received production had a brief, sold-out run at the tiny Finborough Theatre before transferring. “Comes up fresh as paint,” hailed Charles Spencer of The
Telegraph, “a fascinating and sometimes deeply touching play…A piece that proves both dramatically engaging and a fascinating theatrical time-capsule.”
“Set in the 1930s, the extraordinary thing is that 80 years on, notwithstanding bursts of feminism, the Pill and loosening of social corsets in all directions, much of the discussion between its workers could still be transplanted to the present day. Lowly paid employees (more often than not female) still scurry, obeying a “lord and master” in fear of losing their jobs. Talk over lunch and tea breaks is still of who is going out with whom, who may be near to getting their man to the altar, and who has just been jilted. It could be Mad Men but 20 years earlier.” (The Arts Desk)
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About this organization
The Mint Theater Company is dedicated to searching out worthy but neglected voices from the past, with a sharp appetite for timeless but timely plays that speak to issues, struggles and questions that are as current as today‚ headlines.