Posts Tagged ‘Bedford music hall (London)’


Clive Watts, English comedian and eccentric dancer

February 26, 2014

Clive Watts (1865?-1932), English comedian and eccentric dancer, who appeared at music halls and in pantomime, revue and other popular entertainments
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1910)

The Bedford music hall, London, week beginning Monday, 20 July 1908
‘Clive Watts scores heavily with ”Please, Mr. Manager” and some excellent patter. Smartly dressed, he also executes a neat and clever eccentric dance, which is loudly applauded.’ (The Stage, London, Thursday, 23 July 1908, p. 11e)

‘Clive Watts is a comedian who can tell funny stories and sing comic absurdities with equal ability. He made a great hit with his stories, and the audience appreciated his efforts. His dancing was really marvellous and he introduced many new steps into his whirlwind dancing.’
(Weymouth and Portland Standard, Weymouth, Dorset, England, Tuesday, 10 March 1914)


Madeleine Rossiter

October 5, 2013

Madeline Rossiter (1888?-1964), English actress, singer, dancer and entertainer
(photo: Arthur Squibbs, Tenby, South Wales, circa 1910)

Madelaine Rossiter (Mrs William Henry Olley) is at present first recorded during 1905 as a dancer in C. St. John Denton’s UK touring company of the musical comedy, Kitty Grey, with Hilda Guiver in the title role. She afterwards had a varied career on the music hall and variety theatre stage, in pantomimes and concert parties. In addition to her work in the United Kingdom she was also a favourite in Australia and the Far East. During 1928 she was with Daniel Mayer’s company on a UK tour of Rose Marie, in the part of Wanda, in which she scored a success with the ‘Totem Tom-tom‘ number, in which she danced and was accompanied by the chorus; with Nancie Lovat in the title role.

* * * * *

The Bedford music hall, London, week beginning Monday, ‘Miss Madeline Rossiter, a clever and pretty Creole, is loudly applauded for a couple of songs and a particularly graceful dance.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 28 November 1907, p. 18b)

The Tivoli Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia, Thursday, 29 March 1917.
‘Madeline Rossiter, the swarthy dancer and singer of the Strollers Company appearing at the Tivoli Theatre, again scored the biggest hit in the new programme staged on Thursday evening last. Her chief contribution was a dainty little song, ”Why do you keep laughing at me with those big brown eyes?” with a particularly sharp pronunciation of ”Laughing,” turning it into the accepted Americanism ”Laffing.” The artist followed this up with a rhythmic dance to the melody of the same tune, throwing in a little suggestion of the spring song dance as well. The big audience was not slow to appreciate it, and insisted on Miss Rossiter coming back for an encore. Her response was a brilliant effort in foot and toe work. She is without doubt one of the finest dancers seen in this city for many years.’
(The Mail, Adelaide, Saturday, 31 March 1917, p. 13c)

Madeline Rossiter eventually retired to Scarborough, Yorkshire, where she died at the age of 76 in 1964.


Frank Backus

July 6, 2013

Frank Backus (1848?-after 1901), English comedian, billed in 1874 as ‘The Voluble and Eccentric Negro Delineator’
(photo: unknown, probably UK, 1870s)

‘MESSRS. J.C. MARSHALL and FRANK BACKUS beg most respectfully to thank Albert D. Lane, Esq., for his kindness in giving them an Engagement and Benefit, and also presented them with a handsome Silver Cup on their farewell benefit, January 10th, 1868. Yours most respectfully, J.C. MARSHALL and FRANK BACKUS, the Only American Flag Comedians in England. Present Engagement, ORIENTAL MUSIC HALL, GRAVESEND.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 February 1868, p. 1c, advertisement)

Bellamy’s Royal Model Gallery, Alford, Lincolnshire, December 1870.
‘BELLAMY’S ROYAL MODEL GALLERY has been located here during the past three weeks, and at this time of year is very acceptable. In addition there is a promenade concert every evening, in which some well-known artistes appear, including Miss Victorine Bellamy, an excellent juvenile pianist; Mrs. Pat Dennis, a good Irish comedian; and Mr. Frank Backus (Negro comedian) whose songs, dances, jokes, &c., create roars of laughter.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 1 January 1871, p. 5a)

‘MR. FRANK BACKUS, American comedian and Minstrel Corner Man, will be at Liberty June 12th and future dates for Troupe or Concert Hall Business. First-class Wardrobe. Address, 87, Cleveland-street, Doncaster.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 4 June 1871, p. 16b)

The Bedford Music Hall, London, February 1880
‘Mr Frank Backus (a Negro comedian) who next undertook the task of amusing the audience, thoroughly succeeded in accomplishing it. He sang of being ”Samuel the Great.” ”The Nigger Swell,” ”I’m going to Kentucky once more,” and ”There’s a funny little Nigger I know,” were also sung by him. His rendering of the last-named merry, laughing lay was preceded by facetious talk about being in gaol and about trades. While some of his sayings were familiar many were fresh. His manner is original and funny. He made the people laugh heartily.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 8 February 1880, p. 4a)

The People’s Palace of Varieties, London, October 1881
‘The name of Mr Alf. Rivers was in the bill, but he did not appear, owing, it was announced, to indisposition. His place was taken by Mr Frank Backus, who caused great amusement by his Negro eccentricities. He talked in fluent and humorous fashion about the disadvantages of being married, and sang of being a coloured boy aged twenty-one, who is fond of dancing. His second discourse was concerning various trades, and included smart puns and jokes. The titles of newspapers were ingeniously worked into a piece about what the newsboy sells, and might be, as he does. This facetious speech was followed by a song with the retrain ”I’m going to Kentucky once more.” He finished with a dance of an original and nimble kind, which, like his other doings, caused hearty applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 8 October 1881, p. 4b)

Robinson Crusoe, pantomime, with Amy Grundy in the title role, Theatre Royal, Nottingham, Christmas, 1881
‘… Mr. Frank Backus as King Cockalorum introduces some sprightly dancing, and makes much of the somewhat minor character.’
The Stage, London, Friday, 6 January 1882, p. 5a)

The Coliseum, Leeds, December 1885
‘THE SAN FRANCISCO MINSTRELS. – This band of sable minstrels have at present a brief engagement at the Coliseum, Leeds. They gave the second of a series of eight entertainments on Saturday evening, and the crowded state of the house indicated afresh how popular still is this class of amusement. The variety which the programme of such a band usually presents, and which is no doubt one of the chief attractions, is here found in full measure. There is a good display of vocal power, with the sentimental and comic happily blended, delightful choruses, in which the instrumentalists take no unimportant part, much laughter provoked by the end men, with burlesque, negro eccentricities, and ventriloquism to heighten the merriment. The comic business is not entirely new – it never is – but taken as a whole it is very amusing. Mr. Charles Wilson’s singing of ”Tidings of Comfort and Joy,” is irresistibly funny, as are also the joint performances of himself and his droll colleague, Mr. James Sanford, in ”Nic-nacs.” Mr. Frank Backus does the chief part of the dancing, and does it well. The ventriloquist is Mr. Frank Mordaunt, who also excites hilarity. Amongst the vocalists, none excel Mr. A. Clifford, who has a find baritone voice, and Mr. Fred Salcombe, one of the tenors. the entertainment is a capital one of its kind.’
(The Leeds Mercury, Leeds, Monday 28 December 1885, p. 5c)