Posts Tagged ‘A.W. Pinero’

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Fay Davis as Monica Blayne in The Tree of Knowledge, St. James’s Theatre, London, 1897

February 1, 2015

Fay Davis (1869-1945), American actress, as Monica Blayne in R.C. Carton’s play, The Tree of Knowledge, produced by and starring George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 25 October 1897.
(cabinet photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 23806-1a, which appears to be a cropped version of negative no. 23806-1, which is described in the copyright registration form submitted by Alfred Ellis on 29 April 1897 as ‘Photograph, panel [i.e. 8 ½ x 4 in.] of Miss Fay Davis … Three quarter length standing figure, with hat on, leaning against cabinet.’)

Fay Louise Davis was born in Houlton, Maine, Massachusetts, on 15 December 1869, the youngest child of Asa T. Davis (1830-?), the proprietor of an express line, and his wife, Mary F. (nèe Snell, 1835-?). She visited England for the first time in 1895, arriving at Southampton on board the S.S. Columbia on 16 May. Introduced to London society by Edith Bigelow (first wife of the noted American journalist and author, Poulteney Bigelow), she soon received an offer from Charles Wyndham to join his company at the Criterion Theatre, London. Her first appearance was there as Zoë Nuggetson in The Squire of Dames, a comedy adapted by R.C. Carton from the French, produced on 5 November 1895. Her immediate success brought further offers, including the part of Fay Zuliani (photographed by Alfred Ellis) opposite George Alexander in A.W. Pinero’s comedy, The Princess and the Butterfly; or, The Fantastics, produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 29 March 1897.

Miss Davis was married at the home of Mrs Frank M. Linnell, 61 Columbia Road, Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, on 23 May 1906, to the English actor manager, Gerald Lawrence (1873-1957). The latter’s first wife, whom he had married in 1897, was the actress Lilian Braithwaite, who obtained a divorce from him in November 1905.

Fay Davis’s final professional appearance was as Mary Dawson in Vivian Tidmarsh’s ‘unusual comedy,’ Behind the Blinds, produced at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, on 10 October 1938, in which her husband played Richard Dawson.

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January 28, 2013

a scene from A.W. Pinero’s comedy, His House in Order,
produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 1 February 1906,
with George Alexander and Irene Vanbrugh
(photo: unknown; printed by J. Miles & Co Ltd,
68 & 70 Wardour Street, London, W, 1906)

This halftone postcard flyer advertises A.W. Pinero’s comedy, His House in Order, produced by George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 1 February 1906. The reverse has printed details including prices of admission and directions to the theatre: ‘The St. James’s Theatre is situated in King Street, St. James’s, a few yard from St. James’s Street and Pall Mall. Piccadilly omnibuses pass within 150 yards of the theatre (alight at the top of St. James’s Street); Regent Street omnibuses proceeding South (alight Piccadilly Circus); those going North (alight at Waterloo Place).’ The production included George Alexander and Irene Vanbrugh in the leading roles, supported by Nigel Playfair, Herbert Waring, E. Lyall Swete, Bella Pateman, Beryl Faber, Marcelle Chevalier, Iris Hawkins and others.

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January 28, 2013

a scene from A.W. Pinero’s comedy, His House in Order,
produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 1 February 1906,
with George Alexander and Irene Vanbrugh
(photo: unknown; printed by J. Miles & Co Ltd,
68 & 70 Wardour Street, London, W, 1906)

This halftone postcard flyer advertises A.W. Pinero’s comedy, His House in Order, produced by George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 1 February 1906. The reverse has printed details including prices of admission and directions to the theatre: ‘The St. James’s Theatre is situated in King Street, St. James’s, a few yard from St. James’s Street and Pall Mall. Piccadilly omnibuses pass within 150 yards of the theatre (alight at the top of St. James’s Street); Regent Street omnibuses proceeding South (alight Piccadilly Circus); those going North (alight at Waterloo Place).’ The production included George Alexander and Irene Vanbrugh in the leading roles, supported by Nigel Playfair, Herbert Waring, E. Lyall Swete, Bella Pateman, Beryl Faber, Marcelle Chevalier, Iris Hawkins and others.

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Harry Fragson, English variety comedian and entertainer at the piano

January 4, 2013

Harry Fragson (1869-1913)
English variety comedian and entertainer at the piano,
in his monologue, ‘Le Grand Flegme Britannique.’
(photo: unknown, Paris, 1904)

‘Mr. Harry Fragson tells me he was very nervous on making his first appearance at the Tivoli (says a writer in the Daily Express), for some of his songs were novel in character. But the Tivoli, with its audience well round the singer, is just the small drawing-room house suited to an entertainer at the piano, and none of Mr. Fragson’s little effects are lost.
”’It is not quite the same thing over here, going from a theatre to a music-hall, than it is in Paris. Over there an artist passes from the theatre to the vaudeville house without any misgiving. Barral went to Olympia direct from the Comédie Française. Gallois passed without a moment’s hesitation from Olympia to the Théà tre des Varietés. Here, of course, you would feel a little shock if you saw Mr. George Alexander go from Pinero to the Palace, but we view things differently in Paris.”
‘The practice, of course, is growing here. Mr. Willie Edouin contemplates the halls. Mr. Chevalier turns with ease from ”Pantaloon” to ”The Fallen Star.” Indeed, he may be said to belong as much to the variety house as to the legitimate theatre. In August, Mr. George Grossmith, jun., hopes to be able to appear at the Palace.
‘Mr. Fragson is evidently a great favourite with the King. His Majesty, when Prince of Wales, head him sing many times at the Paris Figaro office. The conductors of the big French journal give tea parties at the offices, and to several of these parties King Edward went. King Leopold was a constant visitor. On Mr. Fragson’s arrival in London the King sent him a photograph, which I have just seen. It bears a suitable inscription in the King’s handwriting, and, of course, Mr. Fragson is inordinately proud of the gift. The signature Edward VII. shows the ”seven” put down as an ordinary numeral, with a little stroke across it, making it look like a capital ”F.”’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 28 July 1906, p. 59d/e)