Posts Tagged ‘Dick Whittington and His Cat (pantomime)’


Julia Warden

May 24, 2013

Julia Warden (Mrs George H. Mostyn, fl. 1877-1900), English actress, as she appeared in the title role of the pantomime, Dick Whittington and His Cat, New Theatre Royal, Park Row, Bristol, produced on Saturday, 23 December 1882
(carte de visite photo: Harvey Barton, Bristol; from the collection of Maurice Wilson Disher)

‘NEW THEATRE ROYAL. – There was again last night an enormous audience at this house to witness the gorgeous holiday pantomime of ”Dick Whittington.” The pantomimes’ excursion train brought a regular army of visitors, and so many made their way to Park-row that after the popular parts of the theatre had been filled to their utmost capacity, and a very large number had taken seats in the dress circle and orchestra stalls, several hundreds had to be turned from the doors. A crowded audience is never without its influence on the actors, and the piece went with great spirit. Miss Julia Warden, having recovered from her indisposition [bronchitis], resumed the part of Dick, and upon her appearance received a very marked recognition. Miss Agnes Taylor, who so cheerfully and so gracefully acted in the title rôle during Miss Warden’s illness, filled once more her original character, and was deservedly applauded. All the salient parts of the pantomime were received with marked enthusiasm. Several of the songs and dances were encored, the scene with the living marionettes was literally screamed at, and the disclosure of the beautiful scene of Hampstead Heath provoked such a furore that the Messrs. Chute were compelled to appear and bow their acknowledgements. Miss Fanny Brown and her ballet troupe also came in for a share of approval, and all the artistes, we should say, must have been gratified.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Tuesday, 30 January 1883, p. 5e)

‘The 1882-3 pantomime was ”Whittington and his Cat,” the former finding an excellent exponent in Miss Julia Warden and the latter in Master Cummins. As Alice Fitzwarren Miss Amy Grundy was delightful; as idle Jack Mr. George Thorne was, as at all time, ”top hole” and Mr. E.M. Robson made a capital ”old woman.” there were several important features of the work, which was written and produced by Mr. C.H. Stephenson. Amongst these was a violin solo by Mlle. Rita Presano, a double panorama of the Thames (Mr. Arthur Henderson), and the ”Turn again Whittington” sounded by an octave of magnificent bells, manufactured for the Messrs. Chute at a cost of £450. A further welcome item was the inclusion in the cast of Messrs. Henderson and Stanley, the ”living Marionettes.” Mr. Harry Paulo was the clown.’
(The Bristol Stage, G. Rennie Powell, Bristol, 1919, p. 126)


Doris Ashton

May 20, 2013

Doris Ashton (fl. 1919-1938), English popular singer, variety theatre entertainer and pantomime principal boy
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1919)

Doris Ashton appears to have had some success as a popular singer in the United Kingdom during the 1920s and ’30s. She began her career in 1919 and that year and the following she was at the London Coliseum. In 1920 she made a handful of recordings in London for the Regal label. She next appeared in Pot Luck!, described as a ‘Cabaret Show,’ which opened for a successful run at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 24 December 1921. The cast also included Jack Hulbert, Beatrice Lillie, Mary Leigh, Margaret Bannerman, Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, and Maidie Scott. ‘Miss Doris Ashton has a good voice, which she has no need to force.’ (The Daily Mirror, London, Tuesday, 27 December 1921, p. 12a)

During 1926 and again in the 1930s, Doris Ashton made a number of broadcasts for the BBC. In the late 1920s she also appeared with the entertainer Billy Rawson. They were at the London Palladium together in 1928, the year in which they made an 8 minute synchronized sound film in London for the De Forest Phonofilm company, which was released in May that year. In January 1929 the couple appeared in the pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat, at the Metropole Theatre, Glasgow. This was followed in March by a personal appearance on stage at the Astoria cinema in London.

Doris Ashton’s other pantomime parts included as the Princess Guenevere in the Brixton Theatre, London, pantomime of 1927/28, St. George and the Dragon. At Christmas 1931 she was principal boy at the Brixton Theatre’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. ‘Miss Doris Ashton is a principal boy good enough in diction, presence, and voice for Drury Lane – or should it be in these days be the Lyceum?’ (The Times, London, 28 December 1931, p. 8b) (The last Drury Lane pantomime was The Sleeping Beauty at Christmas 1929). Miss Ashton returned to the Brixton Theatre for the Christmas pantomimes of 1936 and 1937, respectively Babes in the Wood, when she appeared as Robin Hood, and The Sleeping Beauty, when she appeared as the principal boy.


Nan Stuart

February 23, 2013

a photograph of Nan Stuart (fl. early 20th Century),
British actress and singer
(photo: Dobson Studios, Liverpool, circa 1920)

Among Nan Stuart’s London appearances are the following: as Lisbeth in The Love Mills, a comic opera with music by Arthur Van Oost, Globe Theatre, 3 October 1911 (24 performances); as Alice in the pantomine, Dick Whittington and His Cat, Lyceum Theatre, 26 December 1911; Simone in the musical comedy, Oh! Oh!! Delphine!!!, Shaftesbury Theatre, 18 February 1913; and Maid Marion in the pantomime, Babes in the Wood, Lyceum Theatre, 27 December 1920.

The Love Mills, a comic opera with music by Arthur Van Oost (1870-1942) and additional numbers by Louis Hillier. This English version, with lyrics by Leslie Stiles, was produced at the Globe Theatre, London, on 3 October 1911. The original operetta, De zingende molens, had been produced at the Théâtre des Galeries in Brussels earlier in 1911.
‘AN unpretentious comic opera that died in its infancy. Why? Because there was no “note” in it, because it was too long, because so many of the incidents were obviously pushed in to keep the ball rolling. Had it not been for Mr. George Barrett, who was really funny as the Constable, and Miss Nan Stuart, who captivated all hearts as Lisbeth, the play would have been too boring for words. However, it can’t be helped now. I’m always sorry when a play is not a success.’
(Ded Hed, ‘Drama of the Month,’ The Playgoer and Society Illustrated, London, [15 November] 1911, p. 65)