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Harry Fragson, English variety comedian and entertainer at the piano

January 4, 2013

Harry Fragson (1869-1913)
English variety comedian and entertainer at the piano,
in his monologue, ‘Le Grand Flegme Britannique.’
(photo: unknown, Paris, 1904)

‘Mr. Harry Fragson tells me he was very nervous on making his first appearance at the Tivoli (says a writer in the Daily Express), for some of his songs were novel in character. But the Tivoli, with its audience well round the singer, is just the small drawing-room house suited to an entertainer at the piano, and none of Mr. Fragson’s little effects are lost.
”’It is not quite the same thing over here, going from a theatre to a music-hall, than it is in Paris. Over there an artist passes from the theatre to the vaudeville house without any misgiving. Barral went to Olympia direct from the Comédie Française. Gallois passed without a moment’s hesitation from Olympia to the Théà tre des Varietés. Here, of course, you would feel a little shock if you saw Mr. George Alexander go from Pinero to the Palace, but we view things differently in Paris.”
‘The practice, of course, is growing here. Mr. Willie Edouin contemplates the halls. Mr. Chevalier turns with ease from ”Pantaloon” to ”The Fallen Star.” Indeed, he may be said to belong as much to the variety house as to the legitimate theatre. In August, Mr. George Grossmith, jun., hopes to be able to appear at the Palace.
‘Mr. Fragson is evidently a great favourite with the King. His Majesty, when Prince of Wales, head him sing many times at the Paris Figaro office. The conductors of the big French journal give tea parties at the offices, and to several of these parties King Edward went. King Leopold was a constant visitor. On Mr. Fragson’s arrival in London the King sent him a photograph, which I have just seen. It bears a suitable inscription in the King’s handwriting, and, of course, Mr. Fragson is inordinately proud of the gift. The signature Edward VII. shows the ”seven” put down as an ordinary numeral, with a little stroke across it, making it look like a capital ”F.”’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 28 July 1906, p. 59d/e)

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