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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)

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