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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)

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