Posts Tagged ‘Aladdin (pantomime)’


Gladys Saqui, Australian-born dancer in the pantomime Aladdin, Grand Theatre, Leeds, Christmas 1907

March 23, 2014

Gladys Saqui (1884-1919), Australian-born dancer, as she appeared as Nicee in the pantomime Aladdin, produced at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, at Christmas 1907. The principal parts in this production were played by Constance Hyem (Aladdin), Nell Emerald (Brigette), Frank Danby (Widow Trankey) and J.F. McArdle (Abanazar). The cast also included Hebe Bliss, G.H. Elliott and Olive Crellin.
(photo; J. Garratt, Leeds, 1907)

Gladys Mignon Saqui was born in Australia in 1884, one of the children of John ‘Jack’ Isaac Saqui (1855-1916), a cigar manufacturer and bookmaker, and his wife Esther (Stella) (née Barnett, 1852?-1946), who were both born in London’s East End and married in 1878. Two of Gladys’s sisters, Maie (1880-1907) and Hazel (1887-1975) were also actresses; the former was married in 1903 as his first wife to Arthur Hope Travers (1875-1938), a Grenadier Guardsman, and the latter was married in 1908 to the well-known actor manager, Nelson Keys (1886-1939). Maie and Gladys Saqui made professional appearances in their native Australia and once in England all three sisters were sometime under contract to George Edwardes. Maie first appeared in London in The Geisha (Daly’s Theatre, 25 April 1896 – 28 May 1898) towards the end of its run. Gladys Saqui appeared on tour and also as a dancer in The New Aladdin (Gaiety Theatre, London, 29 September 1907) and The Belle of Britanny (Queen’s Theatre, London, 24 October 1908).

* * * * *

‘Miss Maie Saqui, the famous Gaiety girl, whose death is announced this week, belonged to a sporting family. Her grandfather, Austen Saqui [Abraham Austin Saqui (1834-1889)], was a well-known bookmaker and owner of racehorses in Australia. Her father, Jack Saqui, followed in his father’s footsteps as a penciller, and began at the early age of 14 years. At the age of 20 he was making books on the Melbourne Cup to the extent of £1,000. About the same time he married. His daughter Maie was trained as a dancer under her aunt, Mrs. [Julia] Green, the well-known teacher of dancing in Melbourne, who was originally a Miss Saqui. Maie was not intended for the stage, but when her father, a wealthy man, lost his money in the land boom, Mrs. Saqui brought her daughter to England, where her brilliant career is known to every one. During more recent years Miss Saqui retired, and left the stage, and although in delicate healthy for some time past, her death came as a great shock to her numerous friends and relatives, among whom is Miss Sadi Green, now married to a son of Mr. Purves, the Melbourne barrister, and residing in England.’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Saturday, 11 May 1907, p. 4e)


”K” Sisters & Kathleen, English variety entertainers

October 22, 2013

”K” Sisters and Kathleen (active 1917-1920), English variety entertainers
(postcard photograph: Dyche, Birmingham, circa 1920)

According to a notice placed in The Stage (London, Thursday, 21 June 1917, p. 8b), the ”K” Sisters and Kathleen offered ‘a Parisian Whirlwind Waltz, Roller and Ice Skate Dancing, and a Vocalist who can Sing.’ Their contact address at that time was 115 Coventry Road, Birmingham. They are last mentioned in early 1920 as appearing in Jack Arnold’s pantomime Aladdin, at the Victoria Theatre, Lye, Dudley, West Midlands.


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)


Gertrude Briscoe

May 16, 2013

Gertrude Briscoe (fl. 1890s), English musical comedy and pantomime dancer and small part player
(photo: Powls & May, Birmingham and Bordesley, mid 1890s)

Gertrude Briscoe appeared as a dancer and small part player in various musical comedies and pantomimes, at least once in London (in the Drury Lane pantomime, Aladdin, Christmas 1896), but mostly on tour.

Theatre Royal, Hanley
‘Mr George Edwardes’s No. 1 company has been drawing big houses here this week with A Gaiety Girl. In the title-rôle, not by any means an exacting part, Miss Miriam Clements acts well, and makes a charming figure … ‘The three Gaiety Girls are notable figures as given by Miss Evelyn Murton, Miss Gertrude Briscoe, and Miss Rosina Hillyer …’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 5 May 1894, p. 18d)

Theatre and Opera House, Cheltenham
Morocco Bound was played here on Monday evening. The burden of the work falls to the share of Messrs. G.T. Minshull and Willie Drew, who as Spoofah Bey and Squire Higgins act with abundant humour. Miss Eva Levens has won enthusiastic applause for her spirited acting and charming dancing as Ethel Sportington; Miss May Roy has been most successful as the Countess; Miss Flo Morrison sings prettily as Ethel; and Miss Gertrude Briscoe has scored with an eccentric dance. All the other parts are excellently acted.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 1 December 1894, p. 19e)

‘A New Musical Duologue, Written by Harold Cheverelles, Music by Jennie Frankin, Produced at St. George’s Hall at a Matinee on Friday, Dec. 6th.
‘Svengali … Miss Jennie Franklin
‘Trilby … Mr Harold Cheverelles
‘This proved to be a very feeble skit on the ”Trilby” theme, and was amateurish and wearisome in the extreme … ‘Miss Gertrude Briscoe gained applause with a graceful Spanish dance.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 December 1895, p. 11c)


Bessie Butt

April 16, 2013

Bessie Butt (fl. early 20th century), English dancer, actress and singer, as principal boy in Aladdin, pantomime, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Christmas 1909
(photo: Langfier, Glasgow, 1909)

‘Born in London within the sound of Bow Bells [the traditional description of a Cockney], Miss Bessie Butt commenced her stage career at a very early age by playing the child part in [Minnie Palmer’s popular vehicle] My Sweetheart. While still in her early ‘teens she toured through many European countries in company with her brothers – the Reed Family – and made quite a big reputation as a transformation dancer, being billed as “Baby Butt.” An unfortunate illness kept her from the stage for a long period, and her next appearance was under the management of Mr. John Tiller, who looked upon her as one of the most promising of his young recruits.
‘Having ambitions, Miss Butt decided on doing a single turn on the halls, and at once sprang into popularity wherever she appeared. The late Walter Summers saw her, and recommended her so highly to Mr Robert Arthur that she was engaged by him as second girl for the Kennington theatre pantomime of Red Riding Hood, and there she made her first great success in [singing] “Ma blushing Rosie.” The late Clement Scott [dramatist and theatre critic, 1841-1904] was so taken with this number that he went several times to hear it. Miss butt’s next appearance was [on tour] under the management of Mr. George Edwardes as Susan in The Toreador [originated by Violet Lloyd, Gaiety, London, 17 June 1901], and this was followed by Sophie in A Country Girl [originated by Ethel Irving, Daly’s, London, 18 January 1902] and Thisbe in The Orchid [originated by Gabrielle Ray, Gaiety, London, 26 October 1903]. After this she was for twelve months at the London Coliseum, where she created several parts, notably the Black Pearl in Mr. Leslie Stuart’s song specially written for Mr. Eugene Stratton, and produced at the Coliseum in 1905. She also appeared as a wonderfully life-like doll in Mr. Will Bishop’s [ballet] My Gollywog. This was in 1906.
‘A pantomime engagement as Cinderella at Cheltenham was followed by a return to the halls under the managements of Mr. Oswald Stoll, the late Mr. G.A. Payne, and others; and then Miss Butt was seen and secured by Mr. Lester Collingwood to play the title roole in his pantomime of Cinderella at the Alexandra, Birmingham, in 1907. The success was phenomenal, as the run of the pantomime was a record for the country. On that occasion also Miss Butt won the “Owl” cake and diamond ring in a local beauty competition. This year Miss Butt has discarded skirts and gone in for principal boy, and as Dandini at the Royal County Theatre, Kingston, she is undoubtedly the hit of a most successful [Cinderella] pantomime [; other members of the cast were Dorothy Grassdorf, Hilda Vining and Laurie Wylie]. During her short career she has introduced many popular songs, of which probably the most successful have been “Scarecrow,” “Amelia Snow,” “Cherries are blooming,” “Peggy, the pride of the Mill,” and “Sunshine Soo,” her latest effusion, which is likely to eclipse in popularity all the others.
Gifted with youth, beauty, a sweetly clear and distinct voice, a genius for dancing, and unlimited vivacity, there is no knowing to what heights this clever lady may aspire.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 January 1909, p.13c)

Bessie Butt

Bessie Butt
(photo: White, Bradford, circa 1908)


Kitty Loftus

February 8, 2013

Kitty Loftus (1867-1927), English actress, singer and dancer
in the title role of Aladdin,
the Theatre Royal, Brighton, pantomime, Christmas 1890,
with Edward Lauri jr as Snip-a-Snap.
(photo: W. & A.H. Fry, Brighton, Sussex, 1890/91, negative no.62519-3)

Kitty Loftus, appearing in the Crystal Palace pantomime, Christmas 1891/92, recalls a dramatic panic
‘Panics in places of amusement do not, happily, always end disastrously, as is shown by a singular and somewhat amusing mishap which occurred some time ago in a small town in North Wales, during a performance given by a theatrical company, which included Miss Kitty Loftus, at present appearing in the Crystal Palace pantomime. The stage was composed of long deal tables, the tops of which projected some distance over the supports, but was quite firm, so long as the weight upon it was evenly distributed. During the performance, however, several members of the company incautiously collected at the wings, and, the weight being suddenly removed from the centre of the stage by a general exit, up tilted the tables, depositing the group of actors in a heap on the ground, and bringing down at one fell swoop, in a wreck resembling very much the earthquake scene in Claudian, the entire proscenium and stage fittings. The sudden collapse naturally alarmed the audience very much, and a serious panic seemed imminent; but, happily, owing to the coolness and self-possession displayed by Miss Loftus and one or two other members of the company, the entire audience got safely out of the hall, suffering from nothing more serious than a slight fright and a little squeezing.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 9 January 1892, p. 10a)


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)