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Amy Sedgwick as Sergeant Buzfuz

June 21, 2013

Amy Sedgwick (1835-1897), English actress, in character as Sergeant Buzfuz
(carte de visite photo: Robert W. Thrupp, 66 New Street, Birmingham, early 1870s)

‘Miss AMY SEDGWICK’S Dramatic Recital.
‘The Dramatic Recital given gratuitously in aid of the suffering French on Monday, at Exeter Hall, was worthy of all who ”assisted,” and deserved a far greater patronage than it received. A choir of seven hundred voices, conducted by Mr. G.W. Martin, filled the vast orchestra, and sang a ”Hymn of Peace” (composed by Mr. Martin), a ”French War Song,” and ”Rule Britannia,” with much vigour and effect. Their greatest achievement was, however, ”The Marseillaise,” which, being declaimed with extraordinary power, was encored, and repeated with cheers and shouts from all parts of the Hall. Indeed, sympathy for the French could hardly have been expressed with greater vehemence if the scene had been the Alhambra instead of Exeter Hall. But our chief business is with Miss Sedgwick, and, greatly as that lady has delighted us many a time and oft, we never remember her to have produced a more legitimate effect than upon this occasion. Beginning with scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Miss Sedgwick charmed all hearers by the exquisite expression she gave to the impassioned language of the hero, and the tenderness of the heroine, making us feel at every moment what a loss it is to the stage that the lady should be absent from the boards of one of our chief Theatres… .
‘The entertainment concluded with the amusing and laughable speech of Sergeant Buzfuz. Miss Sedgwick was attired in the usual costume of the bar, wig, gown, and bands complete, and to see her occasionally tugging at the gown and adjusting the wig after the manner familiar to us in the courts of law was drollery itself. The audience began to titter as soon as they saw it. After a few phrases of Sergeant Buzfuz’s wonderful appeal to the Jury they laughed outright, and before the speech was half concluded it was accompanied by a continuous roar of merriment. Anything more successful we have seldom witnessed. At the conclusion the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, who had kindly presided on the occasion, spoke a few words in a most impressive manner as to Miss Sedgwick’s philanthropy in so generously tendering her gratuitous services,and the goodness of heart she had shown in the hour of need in bestowing all her energies and best efforts in the endeavour to alleviate the sufferings of others. (Applause.)…’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 26 February 1871, p. 11d)

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