Marie Henderson as she appeared in the title role of Mazeppa, Astley’s Amphitheatre, London, 1872

April 13, 2014

Marie Henderson (1841/44?-1882), English actress manageress as she appeared in the title role of Mazeppa, Astley’s Amphitheatre, London, 6 March 1872.
(carte de visite photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, 1872)

‘ASTLEY’S NEW ROYAL AMPHITHEATRE. – Lessees and Directors, JNO. and GEO. SANGER. – Triumphant Success of the Great Equestrian Spectacle, MAZEPPA; or, The Wild Horse of Tartary, produced for the First Time at this Theatre under the present management, on a scale of magnificence never before attempted, with entire new and beautiful scenery by Arthur Henderson. Terrific Cataracts of Real Water. Marie Henderson’s Mazeppa acknowledged to be the greatest success of any Equestrian Actress of the present day. The Great Circus Performance EVERY EVENING, concluding with the Opening of the Grand Pantomime, in which AMY SHERIDAN will give her beautiful and chaste impersonation of LADY GODIVA. The Company has been greatly augmented, and will comprise Misses Amy Sheridan, Marie Henderson, Cicely Nott, Eliza Newton, Rose Mayne, Emily Randall, &c.; Messrs. T.H. Glenney, W. Randall, Henry Dudley, E.H. Hazlewood, and a host of Auxiliaries. Balcony stalls, 3s.’ boxes, 2s.; upper boxes, 1s. 6d.; great pit, 1s.; private boxes, from 5 guineas to 1 guinea. – THIS MORNING (Wednesday) and on SATURDAY, at 2.0, will be given the Entire Great Equestrian Performance, concluding with the Opening of the Grand Pantomime LADY GODIVA. – Box-office open, under Mr. Drysdale, from 11.0 till 4.0.’
(The Standard, London, Wednesday, 6 March 1872, p. 1a, advertisement)

‘The proprietors of an amphitheatre who did not include Mazeppa in their season’s repertoire would be deemed guilty of a gross breach of duty towards the lovers of equestrian spectacles. The Messrs. Sanger are much too good generals not to know this, and everybody who heard that the far-famed Astley’s had fallen into their hands at once anticipated, sooner or later, a revival of the popular drama, and a reintroduction of the ”wild horse of Tartary.” The revival has come at last, and, as everybody of course saw the gorgeous Christmas Pantomime, and thereby ascertained what splendid resources the Messrs. Sanger have at command, none will need much assurance that Mazeppa has been produced on a scale of magnificence far surpassing anything before attempted either her or elsewhere. Mazeppa has always proved popular, and doubly so since the title role has been undertaken by ladies whose physical beauties, combined with uncommon pluck and daring, have made them fitting representatives of the part. The name of Menken will always be intimately associated with Mazeppa, and she has now a worthy successor in Miss Marie Henderson, whose abilities as the Amazon Chief in The Last of the Race [Astley’s Amphitheatre, 21 October 1871], and as St. George in the Christmas Pantomime [Lady Godiva; or, Harlequin St. George and the Dragon, and the Seven Champions, Astley’s, 26 December 1871], we have recently had to chronicle. Miss Henderson is an actress of considerable spirit, and possesses admirable elocutionary powers. Added to these qualifications we ave the fact that she has a handsome figure, and we have said enough to assure our readers that in her they will find a very attractive, a very daring, and a very accomplished hero, who is likely to make the perilous journey and to brave the dangers of the plains of Tartary for many weeks to come in presence of thousands of ardent and applauding admirers. To add to the effectiveness of the representation every resource of this extensive establishment has been ”requisitioned.” Mr. Arthur Henderson has supplied some new, beautiful, and appropriate scenery, so that we are brought face to face with the plains, the rocks, the hills, and even with the ”cataracts of real water” which beset the track of the persecuted hero. The Polish Tournament is a most brilliant display, the effect being he9ghtened by a host of auxiliaries in picturesque costumes, and by the introduction of a vase number of horses. The performance also introduces real sheep, a camel, and a dromedary. The ”wild horse” is sufficiently ”fiery” to arouse excitement in the minds of all on-lookers. The piece throughout is watched with breathless interest, and Miss Henderson especially is overwhelmed with the most enthusiastic of congratulatory cheers. We have said above that everybody has seen the Pantomime here. We may be mistaken, but, should that be the case, there is hope yet for the unfortunate ones, as the excitement of Mazeppa is supplemented by the glories of the opening of Lady Godiva, in which Miss Amy Sherican plays so conspicuous a part, and in which the abilities of the Misses Henderson, Cicely Nott, Emily Randall, and Messrs. Glenny, Randall, Dudley, Hazlewood, &c., are so well and so prominently exhibited. Let us not omit to remind parents who are anxious to give the little people a treat, that the morning performances take place every Wednesday and Saturday.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 10 March 1872, p. 11b)


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