GUTHRIE Anstey - Autograph Letter Signed 1929 about productions of his play
Anstey GUTHRIE (1856-1934)
Autograph Letter Signed ("Anstey Guthrie") to "My dear Knutsford" [Sydney Holland, 2nd Viscount Knutsford], following a chance meeting, giving details of the theatrical productions of his best-known work, Vice-Versa.
3 pages 8vo, 24 Holland Park Road, Kensington, 5 April 1929.
". . . I recognised you at once on Barnes Bridge, by your face & voice, which have changed very little since the old Hall days. [Guthrie and Knutsford had been contemporaries at Trinity Hall, Cambridge]. It struck me that you were considerably less deaf than when we last met at the Reginald Smiths! . . . As to 'Vice Versa', I expect the stage version you remember was the two-act one by Edward Rose, done at the Old Strand in 1883 . . . I sold my share to Rose for £25 when he was going touring with it. In 1910 I did a three act version & bought back Rose's version from his executors for £100. The three act version was done at the Comedy at Christmas 1910 . . . Both Rose's & my version are frequently done by amateurs, but my version has never been revived at a London theatre . . . The last time it fell through because Nelson Keys, who was to have played the boy Dick, afterwards the father, backed out for some reason & I felt sure the revival wouldn't be anything of a success without him . . . For nearly 35 years I've been a keen cyclist, & seldom rode less than 1000 miles a year ever summer. But I'm finding it too much of a strain now [Guthrie was 72 at the time of writing] . . . I'm still a fairly good walker & can do 16 to 18 miles a day without trouble . . ."
A popular humourist in his day, Guthrie's reputation declined sharply after his death, though his work still has its admirers. His novel Vice Versa, the story of a father and son who magically exchange bodies, is his best-remembered work, and, apart from the stage adaptations mentioned here, it has been adapted several times for film and television.
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