Stiffy and Mo are a couple of bell-boys at a hotel, who find themselves mixed up in the troubles of two young lovers, Helen and Frank, and Helen's father, Hiam Plaster. When the father arrives at the hotel, he is suspicious and demands to see his daughter. Stiffy and Mo help keep Frank hidden and then devise a plan to trick Mr Plaster into accepting Helen's relationship with Frank. As usual, however, the two larrikins manage to turn the situation upside down with their shenanigans. An Age review from 1925 proposes that the 'title could easily have been changed to "The Hotel Impossible" without altering the significance of the entertainment' (16 February 1925, p.11).
Songs known to have been incorporated into the 1924 production include 'I am the Manager,' 'We are a Couple of Bellboys,' and 'At the Grand.' The 1925 Bijou Theatre production included 'What'll I Do?' and 'Rose of the Rio Grande.'
The 1932 revival saw Joe Lawman take over the role previously played by Roy Rene (Mo) and Jack Kellaway ('Erb).
The Nat Phillips Collection manuscript is subtitled 'A Tabloid Musical Comedy Revue in One Act.' The cast of original characters comprised Stiffy, Mo, Mr Bings, Frank, Helen, Eddie, Estelle, Harry, Mrs Tutankaman, Hiam Plaster (Helen's father), and girls. Reviews from 1927 indicate that, by then, the production included the additional characters Cuthbert and Miss Pancakes.
A similarly titled revusical, The Grand Hotel was staged by the Walter George Smart Set ca. 1918. It is not yet clear if Phillips adapted or utilised any material from the Smart Set company's version, or if both revusicals are based on another work.
An edited version appears in 'What Oh Tonight: The Methodology Factor and Pre-1930s Australian Variety Theatre - Appendices.' Clay Djubal, Ph D Thesis, 2005, pp.76-87.
1924: Fullers' Theatre, Sydney, 6-12 September.
1925: Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, 14-20 February.
1925: Majestic Theatre, Adelaide; 20-26 June [as The Grand Hotel].
1926: Empire Theatre, Brisbane, 16-22 October.
1927: Fullers' Theatre, Sydney, 6-12 August (as Bellboys).
1927: Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, 5-11 November (as The Bell Boys).
1928: Fullers' Theatre, Sydney, 1-7 December.
1932: Grand Opera House, Sydney, 13-19 February.