Posts Tagged ‘acrobats’


Flora MacDonald, British music hall serio-comic vocalist and dancer

June 22, 2015

Flora MacDonald (active 1864-1871), British music hall serio-comic vocalist and dancer, variously billed as a ‘Scotch and Irish Serio-Comic and Dancer,’ ‘Character Vocalist’ and ‘Scottish cantatrice and danseuse
(carte de visite photo: Henry Burrows, 21 Islington and 59 Moorfields, Liverpool, probably mid 1860s)

‘MISS FLORA MACDONALD (Serio-Comic Vocalist and Dancer), now fulfilling a highly successful Engagement at the above Music Hall, will be at liberty on the 19th December, 1864. fifth call nightly. Address as above.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 December 1864, p. 1c)

‘On Thursday evening [27 February 1868], an accident of an alarming nature happened in the Dundee Music and Opera House, by which a gymnast, one of the Brothers Beleena – narrowly escaped with his life, and the audience were thrown into a state of great excitement. Previous to the Brothers Beleena appearing on the stage, Miss Flora Macdonald, a serio-comic vocalist and dancer, had been performing, and she was received with great favour, and rapturously encored three times. After her third appearance, the audience, in spite of the conductor’s bell only ringing once, signifying that some other performers would appear, made a most determined attempt to get her again on the stage, and a slight misunderstanding seems to have existed between the Brothers Beleena and Miss Macdonald, as all the three came on at the same time. The Brothers Beleena, however, remained; and some of the audience, evidently displeased at Miss Macdonald not reappearing, began hissing. It is supposed that this had had the effect of throwing the former into a state of agitation. Whether this was the case or not, the Brothers Beleena ascended with great agility the rope to the double trapeze, which was suspended from the roof of the hall, right above the orchestra, at a height of about twenty-four or twenty-five feet from the floor. They went through some very clever and daring gymnastic performances, which many of the audience, especially females, could not behold except with fear, but for which they received, from the greater bulk of the audience, the warmest approbation. The elder and stronger of the two hung from the trapeze by the legs, while he caught the younger by one of the hands as he was falling past him, and swung him in the air. This and other equally daring feats, as we have already stated, were accomplished in safety. The next exhibition of their agility was intended to be of a similar kind. The elder of the two swung from the trapeze by the legs, and while in this state it was evidently his intention to catch the younger by the left ankle. By some miscalculation, however, the leg of the younger brother came some few inches short of the reach of the elder, and he fell head foremost into the orchestra. The sensation created amongst the audience on witnessing such a spectacle can be better imagined than described. Screams and sobs escaped from men and women, and a number of those in the front seats rushed in a state of excitement to see whether the unfortunate performer had been killed by his fearful fall. The other performers also hurried to ascertain what was the matter. The unfortunate man, when picked up from amongst the feet of the band, lay in the arms of his supporters in a state of unconsciousness, with the blood flowing from a wound on the skull. He alighted with his head on the sharp edge of the footstool used by Mr. Butler, the leader of the orchestra, with such force that he broke it, after having struck in his descent the neck of that gentleman’s violin. The unfortunate gymnast was carried into an ante-room, and messengers were instantly despatched for medical aid. Dr. Duncan arrived in a cab in the course of ten minutes after the accident occurred, and found him sitting in a chair quite conscious, but complaining of pain in his head, ribs, and back. On examination, it was found that he had sustained a large scalp wound of semi-circular shape, and about three or four inches in length, on the crown of the head, and some slight bruises on the forehead; but, so far as could be seen, he did not appear to have received any very serious injury. The wound was sewed up, and the sufferer was removed in a cab to his lodgings in the Nethergate. Falling a distance of upwards of twenty feet, and alighting on the crown of his head, it is a wonder he was not killed on the spot. It is supposed that he must have saved himself by his hands from receiving the full force of the fall.’
(The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, Sheffield, Monday, 2 March 1868, p. 4a)


Four unidentified acrobats, probably French, mid 1860s

June 14, 2015

Four unidentified acrobats in a sunny courtyard
(half of a stereoscopic photo: unknown, probably French, mid 1860s)


Agar and Young, comic acrobats

June 1, 2014

Agar and Young (active 1924-1943), comic acrobats and pantomime performers
(photo: unknown, United Kingdom, mid 1920s)


the Redmond Brothers in the pantomime Aladdin, Kennington Theatre, London, 1904/05

September 22, 2013

‘Willie, come here!’ A colour lithograph and halftone postcard photograph of the Redmond Brothers (active early 20th Century), comedians and ‘grotesque acrobats,’ as they appeared in the pantomime Aladdin at the Kennington Theatre, London, SE, 24 December 1904. The cast included Rachel Lowe as Aladdin and Harry Brayne as Widow Twankey.
(photo: unknown; postcard: Valentines Pantomime Series, 1904)


Geni Family, acrobats

September 14, 2013

Geni Family (fl. early 20th Century), German-born international gymnasts and acrobats
(photo: unknown, circa 1910)


Genaro Theol Trio

May 12, 2013

Genaro Theol Trio (fl. early 20th Century) ‘The Flexible Equilibrists’
(photo: unknown, circa 1907)

Amuzu Theatre, Denton, Texas, October/November 1909
‘At the Amuzu tonight Genaro and Theol will open an engagement of three days. Genaro and Theol are contortionists of wide reputation and are classed as among the best in this line of work. Added expense was incurred, the management of the Amuzu states, in bringing this act here, but there has been no increase in admission announced.’
(Denton Record-Chronicle, Denton, Texas, Thursday, 28 October 1909, p. 4c)

The Temple vaudeville theatre, Fort Wayne, September 1913
‘With a Fort Wayne girl, Dagmar Dunlap on the bill, the Temple has an offering for the first half of the week that can boast of a lot of real merit. For three performances Sunday the house was crowded, with every seat taken and people turned away, and every person in the house eagerly awaited the appearance of Miss Dunlap and heartily applauded her work at the close of every number she gave. Miss Dunlap is a harpist of no small ability and the selections she rendered at the performance yesterday were charmingly given. She has a beautiful voice, too, and one of her responses to the hearty applause was a song, she playing her own accompaniment on the harp.
‘The headliner this week is the act of the ”Colonial Maids,” seventeen young ladies who appear in the regulation minstrel costume and give a regular old-time minstrel performance. They are right there with all of the goods, too, even to the [four] end men with the tambourines, the jokes with the interlocutor, and the black-face work. A number of songs are given, most of them new and all of them well-sung and worthy of every bit of the hearty applause accorded to them.
‘Aline, ”the girl with the hoops,” held the audience spell-bound yesterday with her clever work with the hoops. She starts them rolling along the floor, making them execute fancy curves and jumps and do all manner of stunts that no one ever thought were in the repertoire of a perfectly sedate hoop. She can juggle them, too, one of her features being the juggling of a hoop, a peach and a flag. She also does some fancy work with flags, spinning them around her head a few times and tieing them in knots while they are flying.
‘Marie Genaro, ”the flexible Venus,” is another big feature of the bill. Marie can double herself in several places and then force herself through a hoop that is scarcely large enough for the average person to go through straight. She does other novel feats, too, and her work is roundly applauded.
”’A Night at the Cabaret” closes the bill. One of the features of this act is the singing of ”Kill That Bear” by Tessie Hayes. The violin and harp numbers are good, too. The pictures this week are excellent, and the bill as a whole is a sure winner.’
(The Fort Wayne News,, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Monday, 22 September 1913, p. 4b)


Lizzie Tabra

March 18, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Lizzie Tabra (fl. late 1870s/early 1880s), English serio-comic, sometime in partnership with Gus Levaine, vocal and instrumental duettists
(photo: unknown, circa 1880)

South London Palace music hall, London
‘After an absence extending over two years Mr Fred Evans has again returned to the scene of his former triumphs, and with his world-famous ballet troupe has contributed not a little to the enjoyment of the habitués of the above-mentioned transpontine place of entertainment. What name he gives to the extraordinary ballet in which he appears we are not in position to say, but this we can with truthfulness assert, that from beginning to end it proves provocative of laughter of the most uproarious character. Mr Evans himself appears as a droll fellow, dressed in all sorts of colours, and prepared to make love, to turn his congrères, or to leap through windows at half a moment’s notice. His humour is only surpassed by his agility, and the thunders of applause which greet him afford eloquent testimony that his doings are keenly appreciated. Miss Amy Rosalind, looking as bright and dancing as blithely as ever, is the damsel of the sketch, and well does she play her part. Mr Harry Wright personates an amorous Quaker, who comes in for no small share of Mr Evans’s thwacks, and takes his punishment with the best possible grace. Mr Loraine represent a love-making soldier, and before the end is reached these two gentlemen find themselves transformed respectively into a chair and a table. Mr Turtle Jones, who seems to enjoy being knocked about, puts in an appearance as a pastrycook, and he presently takes the form of a harp. All these pieces of human furniture suffer from the hot poker wielded by the man in motley. This funny ballet should be seen by all those who love to laugh. The famous Jackley troupe have been re-engaged. They now introduce a new trick, several of the more agile members turning a somersault over the heads of eight or nine people seated in a row. Mr Sam Torr nightly finds a ready chorus for his capitally rendered song called ”The Same Old Game.” The daring flights of those clever little people Lillo and Slspa continue to excite wonder and admiration and to evoke great applause. Mr Tom Warde’s clog dancing is generally admired, and the topical ditties of Mr Tom Vine never fail to call forth expressions of approval. Sivori Poole is still here, and stands in the very front frank of favourites. Mr Pat Feeney’s Irish songs and jigs lend a pleasing variety to the entrainment; Miss Tabra, in serio-comic song, finds hosts of admirers; the Brothers Wills, in their comical sketches, cause much merriment; and a capital company is completed by Cole and Leonie (duettists) and La Petite grace, very properly designated the ”juvenile wonder.”’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 16 April 1876, p. 4d)


Lenton Brothers

February 10, 2013

carte de visite photograph of
The Lenton Brothers, acrobats
‘Wonders of the World’
(photo: James Sunderland, Birmingham, UK, 1880s)

The Lenton Brothers to appear at Greene’s Opera House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Friday, 21 May 1886 ‘GREENE’S OPERA HOUSE. The simple announcement that Barlow, Wilson & Rankin’s minstrels are to be here Friday evening will be sufficient to fill the house. They always give a splendid performance, and on this occasion will introduce several new specialties, among which are the Lenton Brothers, a couple of English acrobats said to be unequaled in their line. Mr. Carl Rankin will also positively appear here. Reserved seats are now on sale a the opera house office.’
(The Cedar Rapids Times, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Thursday, 20 May 1886, p. 3e)


The Vedmars on tour in the United States with Watson’s Americans burlesque company, March 1903

January 10, 2013

The Vedmars (fl. early 20th Century), comedy acrobats
(photo: unknown, circa 1905)

The Vedmars on tour in the United States with Watson’s Americans burlesque company, March 1903
‘Watson’s Americans, which will be the attraction at the Gaiety for the first three days of next week, is one of the largest and oldest burlesque companies on the road. The management have spared neither time nor money to get the best talent in the profession this season. This large organization consists of 35 people. The company is headed by the versatile artists, Jeanette Dupre and W.B. Watson. Among the other artists are ”Selbini,” the phenomenal trick cyclist and juggler. This act alone is well worth the price you pay for admission. The Vedmars are direct from the music halls of London, which is a sufficient guarantee of their worth. Ella Shields, the phenomenal baritone; West and Williams, Hayman and Hayman, Batchellor Sisters, Burke and Raymond, and many others. Mr. Watson is producing the farce of Levy in Japan by request of different managers. This farce was a howling success last season. It introduces all members of the company.’
(The Albany Evening Journal, Albany, New York, Saturday, 21 March 1903, p. 6g)

‘The name sounds Hindoo, but the pose is Greek. The Vedmars, Renee and Bert, are, needless to say, lights of the vaudeville stage. There ”stunt” has a few original touches in it and is worth staying for, even if it’s after a musical act.’
(The Standard and Vanity Fair, New York, Friday, 16 February 1906, [p. 4])


The Brothers Honrey, English acrobats and clowns

January 9, 2013

Honrey Brothers (Daniel and William, fl.1870s),
English acrobats and clowns
(photo: J. F. Naddermeier, Walsall, England, 1870s)

‘WILLIAM HONREY, of the Brothers Honrey, musical clowns and grotesques, died on Sunday, 15 51, Boundary-street, C.-on-M., Manchester, in very straitened circumstances. If any brother and sister artistes would kindly contribute a little towards the funeral expenses, the amounts will be thankfully received and duly acknowledged if sent to Sam Vernon at the address mentioned.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 February 1895, p. 17b)

‘HONREY. – On Sunday, Feb. 10th, at Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, William Honrey (Armstrong), the Prince of Wales’s clown. Inquiries to Ellen Collins, 3, Gun-street, Bishopsgate, London, Gaertner and Richards note. Australian, Irish, and Spanish papers please copy.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 16 February 1895, p. 12c)