Archive for January, 2014


Beatrice Ferrar, Miss M.A. Victor and George Giddens in the revival of Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy, She Stoops to Conquer; or, The Mistakes of a Night, Haymarket Theatre, London, 9 January 1900

January 30, 2014

Beatrice Ferrar (1876-1958) as Miss Neville, Miss M.A. Victor (1831-1907) as Mrs Hardcastle and George Giddens (1845-1920) as Tony Lumpkin in the revival of Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy, She Stoops to Conquer; or, The Mistakes of a Night, produced at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on 9 January 1900.
(cabinet photo: Window & Grove, 63a Baker Street, London W, 1900)

‘Messrs. [Frederick] Harrison and [Cyril] Maud’s projected series of revivals of standard English comedies at the Haymarket made an auspicious commencement on Tuesday evening with She Stoops to Conquer. Goldsmith’s masterpiece was, on the whole, a judicious choice for the opening production, for there has been no performance of this play in London of any importance since the revivals at the Vaudeville and the Criterion in the spring of 1890. That delightful actress, Miss Winifred Emery [Mrs Cyril Maude], who was the Miss Hardcastle of the former occasion, now returns to the part, and plays it, as will be expected, with a more sustained vivacity and finesse than in her more juvenile days. Mr. Giddens, who was the Tony Lumpkin of Mr. [Charles] Wyndham’s cast, now repeats his richly humourous and forcible impersonations of the loutish young Squire. Miss M.A. Victor as Mrs. Hardcastle, and Mr. Sydney Valentine as Diggory, are also distinguished recruits from the Criterion cast. Conspicuous among the now-comers is Mr. Cyril Maude, who breaks the tradition of his part by emphasising the peevishness and irritability of Mr. Hardcastle at the expense of his more genial qualities. The change, though it took the spectator somewhat by surprise, was not unwelcome, and it must be confessed that Mr. Maude’s portrait is drawn by a master-hand. Young Marlow finds an excellent representative in Mr. Paul Arthur, the young American actor, whose recent performance of the Prince in Captain Marshall’s clever and fanciful comedy [A Royal Family] at the Court Theatre, has won for him so large a tribute of praise. Miss Beatrice Ferrar and Mr. Graham Browne are respectively the Miss Neville and Hastings of the cast. The comedy, which is acted throughout with a spirit and precision of touch that auger well for the management’s experiment, was received with great cordiality.’
(The Graphic, London, Saturday, 13 January 1900, p. 54)

‘… Mr George Giddens gave us a genuinely rough and rural Tony Lumpkin, a real bit of boorish aristocracy, unforced, unexaggerated, but in the richest and rarest vein of low comedy… Miss M.A. Victor was exquisitely amusing, and, at the same time, perfectly easy and reposeful as Mrs Hardcastle. The part suited her exactly, and she gave a reading of it which delighted the audience greatly, and even added to Miss Victor’s extensive and intense popularity. Miss Beatirce Ferrar’s Miss Neville was younger and more hoydenish than is customary; but, in practice, this proved an advantage, and ”Neville’s” scuffles and combats with Tony sent the house into roars of laughter, and greatly assisted the success of the revival. In the more serious passages of the part Miss Ferrar showed how keenly acute she is by nice enunciation and by sufficiently subduing her vivacity… .’

(The Era, London, Saturday, 13 January 1900, p. 13d)


Mabel Bardine on a tour of music halls in the United Kingdom during 1908 in the sketch, Nell of the Halls

January 27, 2014

Mabel Bardine (1878-1948), American vaudeville actress, on tour in the United Kingdom during 1908
(postcard photo: unknown, UK, probably 1908)

During her tour of UK music halls in 1908, Mabel Bardine played Nell in the sketch, Nell of the Halls and was supported by Hugh Ardale as William Millerton and Leila Russell as Madeline.

Empire Palace music hall, Leeds, week beginning Monday, 28 December 1908
‘Mabel Bardine and company present Nell of the Halls, which allows this clever and vivacious American actress plenty of scope to show her dramatic powers.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 31 December 1908, p. 8d)

‘Mabel Bardine, the American actress who started wide discussion in London last summer by producing the sketch Nell of the Halls, will open Monday for a ten-weeks’ tour on the United time.
‘Miss Bardine’s sketch was produced just after the close of Rose Stahl in the English capital with the playlet, The Chorus Lady. Both sketches were built from the same story and were practically identical. Miss Bardine at the time denied all knowledge of Miss Stahl’s vehicle.’
(Variety, New York, Saturday, 6 March 1908, p. 8d)


The Browns of Brixton, Edwardian concert party

January 26, 2014

The Browns of Brixton (active circa 1907-1908), English concert party
(postcard photo: Wheeler & Haddock, Church Street, Folkestone, probably 1907)

The Browns of Brixton’s personnel were Violet Orme (who played the violin), Dorothy Payne, Edwyn Wolseley, Alfred Bennett and Lawrence Hanray. The party appears not to have stayed together very long; by 1908 Messrs Wolseley and Bennett were members of The Whims, another company of entertainers. Mr Hanray (standing, second from left in the above photograph), an actor of wide experience, died at the age of 73 in 1947.


Oliver (‘Olly’) Barratt, English actor, dancer and banjulele player

January 26, 2014

Oliver (‘Olly’) Barratt (1900-?), English actor, dancer and banjulele player
(photo: unknown, probably United Kingdom, circa 1928)

Oliver Barratt appeared between 1926 and 1928 with Macdonald and Young’s touring musical comedy companies, first in Little Nelly Kelly and then in Lady Be Good. The leading part of Susie in the latter was played by Annette Mills. In 1937, Barratt appeared with Fred Wynne, Mona Vivian and others in Roy Barbour’s touring revue, Blackpool Breezes.


Henrietta Hodson as Jack o’the Mill in the pantomime The House That Jack Built for Little Goody Two Shoes, Theatre Royal, Bristol, Christmas 1863

January 25, 2014

Henrietta Hodson (1841-1910), English actress and singer, as Jack o’the Mill in the pantomime The House That Jack Built for Little Goody Two Shoes; or, The good Fairies and Merry Pranks of the Good Little People, produced at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, on Christmas Eve, Thursday, 24 December 1863
(carte de visite photo: Horatio Nelson King, 42a Milsom Street, Bath, 1863)

‘THE THEATRE ROYAL. On Thursday, being Christmas eve, the first performance took place of the grand Christmas pantomime. It is called The House that Jack Built for Little Goody Two Shoes, and combines the prominent features of those famous nursery stories… . The rearing of ”the house that Jack built” is managed in an exceedingly clever and bustling scene. A heath is discovered covered with enormous mushrooms, which, by the power of Dame Red Cap, are changed into about a hundred ”pixies,” who are commanded to do Jack’s work. A pigmny representation of a real life scene follows, and the house springs into existence in a surprising manner. The scene in which the fairies meet is unusually delicate and beautiful; a heath by sunset is one of the best scenic effects we have seen for years, and the ”realms of enchantment,” in which the transformation takes place, is one blaze of gold and jewels. The acting of the introduction is excellent. Miss Hodson is a capital Jack, and sings charmingly; she introduces a very pleasing song, ”Holly, ho!” by Mr. W.F. Taylor, a verse of Mr. Rennie Powell’s highly popular ”Minstrel Bird, ” Ardoto’s ”Il Vaccio,” and several other compositions. Miss Madge Robertson is a very pretty Goody, and also sings very agreeably. Mr. Elliott, as Dame Red Cap, is humorous and pungent, and the Misses Hunt and Leigh are unusually good in the fairy parts. In the harlequinade, as well as the introduction, Miss Powell dances with exquisite grace and lightness. A ballet of flowers introduced by her and the fairies is alike original, pretty, and clever. The harlequin (à la Watteau) is well represented by Miss [Kate] Bishop; the Clown, Mr. [William] Persivani, is in the highest degree a merry one, and provokes great laughter; and the Sprite (Mr. Faust), and Pantaloon (Mr. [Denlin] Johnson) are also excellent.’
(The Bristol Mercury, and Western Counties Advertiser, Bristol, Saturday, 26 December 1863, p. 8b)

‘The pantomime of 1863-4, The House that Jack Built for Little Goody Two-Shoes, was one of the most successful of the elder Chute’s [i.e. James Henry Chute] productions. Miss Henrietta Hodson – who in the course of the evening sang ”Holly Ho,” composed by W.F. Taylor, a fellow-citizen, and ”The Minstrel Bird,” composed by myself – was a delightful Jack, whilst Miss Madge Robertson was most winsome in the character of Goody Two-Shoes. ”Freddy Marshall” played a dog; Mr. Persivani was clown; columbine, Miss Powell.’
(G. Rennie Powell (Rennie Palgrave), The Bristol Stage, Bristol, 1919, p. 62)


Harriett Vernon as Sir Thomas Wyatt in the burlesque, Herne the Hunted, produced at Toole’s Theatre, London, on 3 July 1886.

January 24, 2014

Harriett Vernon (1852-1923), English music hall singer and burlesque actress, as Sir Thomas Wyatt in the burlesque, Herne the Hunted, produced at Toole’s Theatre, London, on 3 July 1886.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1886)

Toole’s Theatre, London, Saturday evening, 3 July 1886
‘This house opened for the Summer season on Saturday evening, under the management of Messrs. [William] Yardley and H.P. Stephens… . Herne the Hunted [the third item on the bill] is principally noticeable for the clever manner in which the principal characters sing and danced. What story it possesses is certainly not worth relating; but the antics and quaint manner of Mr. Arthur Williams as the ”Demon Hunter,” who admits that he is a fraud; the animation of Miss Emily Spiller as Mabel Lyndwood, and of Miss Harriett Vernon as Sir Thomas Wyatt; the clowning of Mr. Allnutt as Henry VIII.; and the humour of Miss Harriet Coveney as Katherine of Arragon are all worth recording. Mr. Frank Wood has no opportunity as Will Somers; but Mr. [Herman] De Lange makes a capital French Ambassador, and renders great assistance to the vocal music. Perhaps the funniest incident of the burlesque is the fox hunt, which occurs in the last scene (the burlesque is divided into five). Pantomime hounds cross the stage, followed by all the Royal party and retainers, and, last of all – the fox! The French Duc shoots the quarry with a Lowther-arcadian gun [i.e. toy guy: Lowther Arcade in London’s Strand was once famous for its toyshops], and returns in triumph, shouting ”Vive la France!” The music, selected and composed by Mr. Hamilton Clarke, is bright and inspiriting; and Mr. Arthur Williams has a topical song, ”Just in the old sweet way,” which is certain to achieve popularity. Messrs. Yardley and Stephens were called at the fall of the curtain.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 5 July 1886, p. 2b)


Lydia Thompson, English dancer, burlesque actress and theatrical manageress

January 23, 2014

Lydia Thompson (1838-1908), English dancer, burlesque actress and theatrical manageress, who was well known on both sides of the Atlantic during a career which flourished for much of the second half of the 19th Century.
(photo: unknown, probably 1880s; cigarette card issued by W. Duke Sons & Co with Preferred Stock cigarettes in a series numbering 240, USA, circa 1890)