Posts Tagged ‘Ada Reeve’


Herbert Darnley and company on tour during 1917/18 in the United Kingdon in Mr Mayfair

August 2, 2014

Herbert Darnley (1872-1947), English actor manager, song writer, composer and playwright, on tour in the United Kingdom in 1917/18 in Mr Mayfair, a musical comedy written by himself and Wal Pink. The piece was first produced at Leamington Spa on 10 September 1917 before the tour began at the Hippodrome, Willesden, north London on 15 October; the original cast included Herbert Darnley and Dan Leno Jr. (top photo, respectively centre and far right), Violet Parry, Wyn Blundell, J. Spry-Palmer, Line Hicks, Basin Hambury and Iris De Villiers. The cast list dates from the same tour.
(photos: unknown, 1917)

Herbert Darnley, whose real name was Herbert Walter McCarthy, enjoyed a busy career, both as a performer and writer. He began his theatrical career in the late 1880s on the music hall stage as one of the Darnley Brothers (Albert and Herbert), patter and sketch comedians, singers and dancers; they also appeared in a number of pantomimes. He afterwards appeared as an actor on his own account as well as producing plays and sketches and continuing his work as a writer and composer, particularly of songs and material for music hall performers like Dan Leno, for whom he co-wrote ‘No More Fancy Balls for Me!‘ and ‘The Tower of London,’ and alsoAda Reeve. Darnley himself made a number of recordings for Berliner and The Gramophone & Typewriter Co Ltd between 1900 and 1903, including ‘My Next Door Neighbour’s Garden‘ (which owes a good deal to Gus Elen’s ‘If it Wasn’t for the ‘Ouses in Between’). In spite of his talent and efforts Darnley was not financially successful and found himself in the Bankruptcy Court in 1909 and again in 1917. He died after a long illness at his home in Clapham, south London, on 6 February 1947.

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The Richmond Hippodrome, Richmond on Thames, Surrey, originally the Richmond Theatre and Opera House is now known as the Richmond Theatre.


John Bardsley (1883-1916), English tenor

September 21, 2013

autographed halftone postcard photograph of John Bardsley (1883-1916), English tenor
(photo and postcard: unknown, United Kingdom, circa 1910)

Before leaving for the United States in August 1913 to fulfil a contract with the Aborn Opera Company, John Bardsley sang at several Promenade Concerts in London between 1906 and 1911. Among other commitments (see below) he also appeared in two musical plays: Butterflies, at the Apollo Theatre, London (12 May 1908), with Ada Reeve, Louis Bradfield and Hayden Coffin; and A Persian Princess, at the Queen’s Theatre, London (27 April 1909), with George Graves, Carrie Moore and Ruth Vincent. He also made a number of gramophone recordings.

‘Shortly after singing faintly, ”Drink to me only with thine eyes,” John Bardsley, a tenor who formerly was a member of the Covent Garden Opera Company in London and the Century Opera Company in New York, fell back on his bed and died.’
(The Wairarapa Daily Times, Saturday, 13 May 1916, p. 3b)

‘New York. – Dying of pneumonia, John Bardsley, tenor, sat up in bed, sang ”Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes,” and fell back dead.’
(The Day Book, Chicago, Illinois, Friday, 7 April 1916, p. 30b)

‘Was Formerly Well Known as a Singer of Operatic Roles.
‘John Bardsley, formerly a well known tenor of the Aborn Opera Company and for the last two years one of the entertainers at Shanley’s, was buried yesterday from the undertaking rooms at 2748 Broadway. He died early Thursday morning of pneumonia.
‘Mr. Bardsley was born in Lancaster, England, and was 32 years old. He won the Ada Lewis free scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London when 17 years old and at 25 was tenor with the Beecham Opera Company at the Covent Garden. He made his first appearance in the United States with the Aborn troupe and was especially successful in light opera roles. One of his best successes was in ”Pinafore” at the [New York] Hippodrome [9 April 1914].
‘His wife and three small children were at his bedside during his illness. Mr. Bardsley leaves three brothers, all of whom are with the British troops in France, one of them being a captain. Burial was at Woodlawn Cemetery.’
(The Sun, New York, Saturday, 8 April 1916, p. 9g)


Ada Reeve in Durban, 1909, and Chicago, 1911

August 8, 2013

Ada Reeve (1874-1966), English actress and singer, with a Zulu rickshaw boy in Durban on her visit to South Africa in 1909
(photo: unknown, Durban, South Africa, 1909)

‘Chicago, Ill., Nov. 1 [1911] (Special to The Billboard). – It is not characteristic of we Americans to acknowledge inferiority, but we must this week make an exception to the rule. Two European artists appeared as the feature attractions at the Majestic, and both proved themselves worthy of such positions. Ada Reeve delightfully charming, winsome, magnetic, beautiful and, well, we could apply flattering adjectives by the score and not do full justice to this clever artist. When one thinks of the great nervous strain under which Miss Reeve made her initial American appearance, she is to be doubly congratulated. She came as a sort of a lightning flash to the Majestic. Her billing did not reach the house management until last Thursday, and her photos arrived late Saturday night. There was no opportunity for the justified publicity in featuring such a star as Miss Reeve, still she managed to set a new record in Hitdom by her clever work. Miss Reeve has never before appeared in an American theatre, through in dear old Lun’on she is the pet of the aristocracy. She landed in New York on Thursday morning; made a flying trip half way across the States and opened to a capacity house on Monday afternoon. We greeted her cordially and extended a welcome to her which seemed to be received with much gratitude. After a wee minute of nervousness she accepted us as friends and proceeded to impel a real ”glad-to-meet-you” feeling. Her songs are light and of the cheer-up variety, and are rendered in a sweet voice emitted through constant smiles. We applauded her roundly after her first effort, and though she had been one of us less than a week, she ”came back” in a true American spirit. Ada Reeve has established herself in the hearts of Chicago’s theatregoing public through her appearance at the Majestic this week, and doubtless a very short space of time will make her name known as well, if not better than that of Vesta Victoria.
‘Simone De Beryl, a product of sunny France, and late of the Folies Bergere [was the other attraction at the Majestic.]’
(The Billboard, Chicago, 11 November 1911, p. 9a)


Ada Reeve

April 18, 2013

Ada Reeve as the principal boy in the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool, Christmas 1908
(photo: C Co, Liverpool, 1908)

London Coliseum, 27 September 1915
‘Miss Ada Reeve has returned to the Coliseum – a fact that was intensified on Monday by two enthusiastic and crowded houses. One again the London public can enjoy the delightful experience of hearing a really gifted comedienne interpret a song so fully, completely, and with such an absolute command of every shade of expression that each phrase vividly stands out. In the case of the diseuse it often happens that the music is sacrificed to the words, and the art of the composer, which has been welded with that of the poet, loses its significance. But Ada Reeve has the gift – rare on any stage – of giving out the tune with a richness and volume of tone, and at the same time revealing the pathos or humour of the words. There was a touch of raillery in her opening number, “Ladies, beware” [from the musical comedy, Peggy, Gaiety, London, 4 March 1911, originally sung by Phyllis Dare; Miss Reeve recorded this song for HMV twice in 1915, but both versions were rejected and never issued], which hardly prepared her audience of Monday afternoon for the depth of pathos she revealed in “Lonely,” a song burdened with unavailing regret, and rendered with a sweet melancholy that touched all hearts. The dreaminess and charm of “My Oriental girl” were in vivid contrast to the banter and sarcasm of “Foolish questions” (HMV B-523, mx HO-1806ae, recorded Hayes, near London, 16 September 1915; 1.5mb mp3), which in its turn yielded pride of place to the domestic sentiment of “Jim,” the exquisite little monologue of a coster’s wife who talks to her baby. The cheering audience was too insistent to let Miss Reeve depart, even after five songs, and she obliged with a sixth, singing before the “tabs” “The girl I left behind,” which made a special appeal to the large number of Tommies in front. The distinguished artiste has returned to London in the full possession of her powers, and her popularity was never greater.’
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 29 September 1915, p.14d)

Ada Reeve
Ada Reeve as she appeared at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, December 1908
(caricature by Max Lowe, 1908)


Ada Reeve

February 9, 2013

Ada Reeve (1874-1966),
English actress and singer
(photo: unknown, late1920s)

Ada Reeve at the Tivoli, Melbourne, Saturday, 1 September 1923
‘New Songs at Tivoli.
”’Soon the new songs will be old songs, and I hope you will like them just as well,” said Miss Ada Reeve in a bright little speech of thanks following an enthusiastic reception at the Tivoli Theatre on Saturday. Last seen here in revue, Miss Reeve has returned to the vaudeville type of entertainment, in which her fine work is better known to Australians.
‘The new songs were all contrasted, giving Miss Reeve many opportunities for the illustration of her very great skill, recognised the world over, in comedy and pathos. As ever, her humour was delightful, and her more serious moods gripped the hearts of her hearers. Good advice to wanderers – ”Don’t Forget to Come Back Home” – was followed by a humorous discourse on dancing and loving. ”My Son,” a mother’s fireside reverie on the promise and the downfall of a youth, was impressively given. The interior setting helped this number and some of the others. ”Ain’t It Nice?” was another light reflection on the simple joys of youth. A chorus-song told of the pleasure found by a tramp (though perhaps more apparent to the song-writer) in the moonlight and other features of the open-air life. There followed some highly favoured songs with the retrains ”I never forget I’m a lady,” ”When Richard the First sat on the throne,” and ”Ain’t yer, Jim?” All were great successes.
‘Among other new turns on a bright bill were the graceful posing and gymnastics of the seven Franchettis (whose make-up enables them to represent groups of statuary), and the popular comedy of Morris and Kuming. The singers known at the Big Four began a brief return visit, and Ristori and others continued to please.’
(The Argus, Melbourne, Australia, Monday, 3 September 1923, p. 12a)


February 2, 2013

May Leslie Stuart (fl. early 20th Century)
English actress and singer,
as she appeared in A Waltz Dream,
Daly’s Theatre, London, 7 January 1911
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1911)

‘In the course of an interesting chat with an Era representative recently Miss May Leslie Stuart, the charming daughter of Mr. Leslie Stuart, said: –
‘“Following some chorus work at Daly’s in The Count of Luxembourg [20 May 1911] and A Country Girl [probably on tour], Mr. Arthur Collins offered me the part of an Italian girl in The Hope at the [Theatre Royal, Drury] Lane [14 September 1911]. My next engagement was with Mr. Hale Hamilton in Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford at the Queen’s [14 January 1913] – when, you may remember, I played the part of the ingénue, Dorothy. I recall that this was a somewhat strenuous rôle, in that much kissing was a rather prominent feature. The run ended, I paid a most pleasant visit with my husband, Mr. Cecil Cameron, to the United States. Mr. Cameron is, by the way, playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Granville Barker in New York.
‘“I appeared with my husband at the Alhambra in a sketch entitled The Girl Next Door. I am afraid I am guilty of writing the ‘book.’ Edward Royce produced the sketch, and it was so successful that it ran for six weeks at the Alhambra, and then for a good while in the provinces.
‘“As I think you will be aware, it was originally arranged that clever and charming Ada Reeve should take up her old part of Lady Holyrood in Florodora [revival, Lyric, London, 20 February 1915], but for reasons of health this was eventually found to be impossible. And so – here I am! I am quite delighted to have the opportunity of playing the part, also to sing the rather “catchy,” in more senses than one, number ‘Jack and Jill,’ which my father has written for me.’
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 24 March 1915, p.7d)

Florodora revived, Lyric Theatre, London, 20 February 1915
‘Miss Evie Greene, the original Dolores, got a most enthusiastic reception on her first appearance, and her beautiful singing and fine acting enraptured her audience. The years that have elapsed since Miss Greene first played this part seem merely to have strengthened the magnetism of her personality. She has never sung “Queen of the Philippine Islands” better than she did on Saturday night; indeed, her performance has lost none of the sprit and charm of the original impersonation… As Lady Holyrood, Miss Ada Reeve’s original part, Miss May Leslie Stuart displays a fresh sense of humour and gives a very natural performance, clever and full of piquancy. She sings “Tact” excellently, and also a song, “Jack and Jill,” of which the words and music have been specially written by [her father] Leslie Stuart for this revival, and which wins hearty applause … In response to great enthusiasm Miss Evie Greene made a little speech at the end of the evening, acknowledging herself to be an old friend, but trusting that she did not “look the part.”’
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 24 February 1915, p.11b)

May Leslie Stuart, accompanied by her father Leslie Stuart on the piano, made four gramophone recordings in London during 1915 for the HMV label. These were ‘Jack and Jill’ from the 1915 revival of Florodora (03430) and ‘Don’t Blame Eve’ (03431), both re-issued on C590; and ‘Is That You, Mr. O’Reilly?’ and ‘Heligoland’ from the revue, 5064 Gerrard (Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, 19 March 1915. In 1916, Miss Stuart appeared as Lady Orreyd in Sir George Alexander’s film production of The Second Mrs Tanqueray


January 30, 2013

Ada Reeve (née Adelaide Mary Isaacs, 1874-1966), English actress and singer
(photo: LPSCo, probably London, late 1880s)

‘Portrait of an English Actress Now Amusing Americans.
Ada Reeve, the clever English actress now in this country, was born in London, England, March 3, 1871. She is the eldest of the ten children of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Reeve, well-known professionals, her mother’s stage name being Miss Saunders. Manager Frederick Wright instructed Miss Reeve and placed her upon the stage at a very early age. She made her first appearance as a child actress as Willie Carlisle in East Lynne, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, she being at that time 8 years of age. Starting upon a four-months’ tour with this company, she acquired much experience by reason of being required not only to play child parts, but, in emergency, to don long dresses and do general utility work. Having made rapid advancement in her art, and displaying remarkable capability, she was next placed in pantomime, and made her first appearance in this new fields at the age of 9 years, at the Pavilion theater, London, playing the Old Man of the Sea in a production of Sinbad, in which Bessie Bonehill played the title role. She continued at the Pavilion playing children’s parts, until the date of the first production of George R. Sims’ play, Jack In the Box, in which she created the part of the Italian boy, a role specially written for her by the author. This production occurred at the Theater Royal, Brighton, with Fannie Leslie as the star, and with Ida Heath also in the cast. She continued to tour with Miss Leslie during that season, and returned to the Pavilion theater in time for the Christmas pantomime, Red Riding Hood, in which she played the title role. She then made a second tour with Jack In the Box, and again returned to the Pavilion for the pantomime season, playing on this occasion the Genie of the Bells in Dick Whittington, and being understudy for the title role, which she played for one week with great success. She was at this time 12 years old. At the age of 13 Miss Reeve began her music hall career, playing her first engagement in this like of work at Gatty’s [sic] Music hall, the Hungerford, at Charing Cross, London. Although she had become a favorite in the music-halls, she had no intention of abandoning pantomime, and her new manager therefore accepted for her an engagement whereby she appeared at the Elephant and Castle, London, playing this time the title role in Sinbad. Returning at the end of the Christmas season to the music halls, she appeared in turn at all of the prominent halls in the English metropolis until the return of the next holiday season, when she appeared in the Christmas pantomime at the Britannia theater, Hoxton, London, to which house she returned at the corresponding period a year later. Last year she was engaged at the Prince of Wales’ theater, Birmingham, to play the principal boy role in Aladdin, and at the termination of her present engagement in this country will return to England and at the same house will appear in the principal girl role in Little Bo Peep. She contemplates returned to this country next season, when she will probably be seen in farce comedy.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Wednesday, 27 December 1893, p.2c)