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Somerset Mum

"I once found myself in Petrograd and I was excessively bored," Somerset Maugham recalled years later. "I hardly understood Russian at all, but I decided that the only way to cheer myself up was to go to the theatre, choosing the largest and cleanest I could find, and sat down to watch the play.

"It was a comedy, and so far as I could judge the audience found it amusing. It did not amuse me in the least because I could not understand a single word of what it was about. But toward the end of the first act it seemed to me that there was something vaguely famliar about the situation on the stage. I had a sense of listening to something I had heard in a dream. I looked down at the programme to discover who had written it. The author's name was 'Mum' and the name of the play was Jack Straw."

[Maugham's Jack Straw was first produced in 1908.]

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