Lonsdale's first successful comedy, and the one that helped establish him as a dramatist was Aren't We All? (1923). It set the tone and subject matter for many plays to come; epigrammatic wit, irony and neatly constructed near-farcical situations, dealing with polite manners and modern marriage (in this case, adultery). The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1926), in which the mistress of a gang of burglar-servants gives up her criminal career to marry into aristocracy, is probably the best known of Lonsdale's 15 plays. In On Approval (1926), an insufferable wealthy middle-aged widow invites a man up to her remote house in Scotland 'on approval' - to see if a marital match is possible. But the man is not alone and, snowed in, they are forced to confront the undesirability of the match. Canaries Sometimes Sing (1929) has an easygoing playwright, bored with his silly, socially ambitious wife, falling in love with the wife of a visiting friend. The abrupt ending completes an uncompromising attack on British hypocrisy.
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