Posts Tagged ‘F.C. Burnand’

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Phoebe Don, English burlesque actress and singer

February 2, 2015

Phoebe Don (active 1872-1882), English burlesque actress and singer, latterly music hall serio-comic and dancer, in an unidentified role, possibly as the Prince in the pantomime The House that Jack Built, produced at the Surrey Theatre, London, 26 December 1878
(two carte de visite photos: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, circa 1878/79)

Ixion; or, The Man at the Wheel, a burlesque by F.C. Burnand, produced at the Court Theatre, London, Wednesday, 5 February 1873
‘What old playgoer is there who fails to have a pleasant reminiscence of that ”Ixion” which made the fortune of the New Royalty Theatre ten years ago? The chic of Miss Jenny Wilmore as Ixion, the charms of Miss Ada Cavendish as Venus, the delicious pertness of Miss [Blanche] Elliston as Juno, the drollery of Felix Rogers as Minerva, the unctuous officiousness of Joseph Robins as Ganymede after the fashion of Mr. Wardle’s Fat Boy [in Dickens’s Pickwick Papers], still linger in our memory. Was it only our hot youth which impressed us with the devout belief that the goddesses of the little theatre in Dean-street [Soho, London] made up a galaxy of beauty which never had been, would be, or could be surpassed? Labuntur anni; we have grown to despise puns, to stickle for the dramatic unities, and to declaim against what we are pleased to call dramatic nudities and we rather anticipated that the ”Ixion” of 1873 would be likely to dis-illusion us as to the ”Ixion” of 1863. We are glad to say that this is not the case. The ”Man at the Wheel” of the Court appears to us to be in all respects equal to the ”Man at the Wheel” of the New Royalty. It hangs fire, indeed, in the prologue, which is altogether an unnecessary encumbrance, and it contains allusions to topics of the last decade which might be modernised with advantage. But is pleased us more than anything of the same kind that we have seen since the ”Vivanière” [i.e. Vivanière; or, True to the Corps, an operatic extravaganza by W.S. Gilbert, produced at the Queen’s Theatre, London, 22 January 1868]; Mr. [Edward] Righton is the most mirth-moving Minerva possible; the charms of Miss Phœbe Don, Miss M. Don, and half a dozen other Olympians could only be expressed by an unlimited number of notes of admiration; the songs are really funny and sparkling, the dances are lively, and the whole extravaganza has an amount of ”go” in it which is very attractive indeed. We should be rather glad if Bacchus could be transformed into a stanch [sic] teetotaller; for with Marks very tipsy half through ”Lady Audley’s Secret,” and Bacchus very tipsy all through ”Ixion,” we have an unpleasant surfeit of inebriation. In real life a drunkard is an exceedingly unpleasant companion, and we are not much more fond of him on the stage. Furthermore, we have a decided objection to those repeated encores of songs and dances which are now so common; and we cannot help thinking that an advertisement to the effect ”that such and such a dance is encored four times nightly” must have a decidedly repellent effect on sensible people. But here our cavilling ends, and we heartily recommend ”Ixion” to our readers.’
(The Observer, London, 9 February 1873, p. 3c/d)

‘Mr. R. BLACKMORE as organised another company for a five months’ season in Calcutta, the artistes engaged comprising Messrs Crawford, Cowdery, [George] Titheradge, Bond, E. Sheppard, Owen, Beverley; and the Misses Alice Ingram, Bessie Edwards, Alma Sainton, A. Rose, Phœbe Don, G. Leigh, F. Seymour, and Tessy Hamerton. They sailed from Southampton on the 21st inst. in the ”Poonah.” The Corinthian Theatre will be the scene of their operations.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 24 September 1876, p. 4c)

‘CALCUTTA.
‘My dear Tahite, – Miss [Rosa] Cooper‘s benefit came off a few days ago. She played Miami in ”Green Bushes,” and the house was wedged. I understand the low-comedy man of this theatre is engaged to Mr. Coppin. The artist and the manager are shortly going to China in a panorama (”The Prince in India”). The French opera has been a disheartening failure. I never saw anything so bad, even at a third-class concert in Melbourne. Miss Bessy Edwards is a pretty taking actress, and Miss Phœbe Don, if not a great actress, is so bewilderingly beautiful a woman, that young men – and for the matter of that old men – go distraught about her… .’
(The Australasian, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 28 April 1877, p. 19c)

The House that Jack Built, pantomime, produced at the Surrey Theatre, 26 December 1878
‘Miss Phoebe Don, a promising young actress and singer, plays the part of the Prince effectively, and is ably seconded by Miss Nelly Vane as Princess Rosebud.’
(The Daily News, London, Friday, 27 December 1878, p. 6a)

Venus; or, The Gods as They Were and Not as They Ought to Have Been, a burlesque by Edward Rose and Augustus Harris, produced at the Royal Theatre, London, on 27 June 1879
‘The new extravaganza, ”Venus,” can hardly be deemed worthy, from a literary point of view, to follow Mr. [G.R.] Sims‘s still-popular comedy of ”Crutch and Toothpick.” Mr. Edward Rose and Mr. A. Harris are named as the authors of ”Venus,” and Mr. rose is so graceful a writer that probably he should be credited with work the goodness of which may have been drowned in the noise and obtrusive horse-play of the first night’s representation. The extravaganza, however, was possibly merely intended to served as a vehicle for the exhibition of the majority of the mythological deities, from Venus (Miss Nelly Bromley) to Adonis and Mars, who find comely representatives in Miss Alma Stanley and Miss Phœbe Don. Subdued to a tone more in keeping with the smallness of the house, ”Venus” may now run smoothly, and the vivacity of Miss Kate Lawler as a dashing Cupid would certainly be appreciated none the less for a little moderation. But ”Venus” will not be a second ”Ixion.”’
(The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 5 July 1879, p. 7b)

Nelly Power’s benefit, the Cambridge music hall, London, Wednesday, 27 October 1880
‘… The Sisters Lindon, in a duet in praise of waltzing, were generally admired, as was Miss Phœbe Don in her song with the chorus commencing ”D’ye take me for a stupid little silly?” a chorus which the audience was not slow to take up… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 31 October 1880, p. 4c)

London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, London, week beginning Monday, 8 November 1880
‘… Mr Fred Law, who should rapidly make his way in public favour, sang ”Allow me to see you home,” and ”If a girl likes to kiss me,” in a merry style; and was following by handsome Phœbe Don, who, though possessed of only a small voice, makes the most of it, and contrived to win admiration in her song of the ”Little Cat,” and in another which allowed the audience to exercise their own sweet voices… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 14 November 1880, p. 4b)

Phoebe Don played the small part of Blue Peter in the pantomime Robinson Crusoe, produced at Drury Lane Theatre, on 26 December 1881, of which the stars were Dot and Minnie Mario, James Fawn, Miss Amalia, Arthur Roberts, Fanny Leslie, Harry Nicholls and Charles Lauri junior. Miss Don’s last known appearances were at the London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, London, in May 1882.

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Ada Lee, English actress and singer, sister of Jennie Lee

March 23, 2014

Ada Lee (1856?-1902) English music hall serio-comic and burlesque actress, as she appeared during 1871,1872 and 1873 in H.B. Farnie’s adaptation of Offenbach’s comic opera, Genevieve de Brabant, first produced at the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, on 11 November 1871.
(carte de visite photo: Fradelle & Marshall, 230 & 246 Regent Street, London, W, 1871-1873)

Alhambra Palace music hall, Hull, week beginning Monday, 8 February 1869
‘Miss Ada Lee, a lady-like and pleasing serio-comic, meets with great applause in ”One a penny swells.”’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 14 February 1869, p. 12b)

‘Mr. EDITOR. – Sir, With reference to your favourable criticism of Jenny, in Kind to a Fault, I have much pleasure in informing you that my sister, ”Ada Lee,” kindly played the part to oblige me, until Saturday last, when I played it myself, according to previous arrangements. Trusting ou will insert this in justice to her, I remain, dear Sir, your faithfully, JENNY LEE. Royal Strand Theatre, August 11th [1870].’ (The Era, Sunday, 14 August 1870, p. 10c)

The Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, season commencing Monday, 2 October 1871
‘The second dramatic season of this theatre, under the management of Mr. Charles Morton, commenced on Monday evening… . True to its title, the Philharmonic puts forth music as the chief attraction in a remarkably rich bill of fare. The piece de resistance of the present season is a compressed version of Herve’s celebrated opera bouffe, Chilperic, produced under the direction of Miss Emily Soldene, who sustatins the principal character with that spirit and bright intelligence which, added to other gifts of nature and grace of person, have won for this lady a very distinguished place amongst the votaries of the lyric drama in London… . The other parts in the opera are for the most part very happily filled. The Fredegonde of Miss Selina [Dolaro], a lady endowed with a sweet pliant voice and most graceful appearance, is a very charming performance. Miss [Alice] Mowbray, as the High Priestess, Miss [Clara] Vesey as the Spanish Princess, and Miss Lenard as the hero’s sister-in-law, acquit themselves creditably both in acting and singing; whilst Miss Ada Lee and Miss Isabella Harold make very pretty ”pet pages” indeed …’
(The Standard, London, Friday, 6 October 1871, p. 3b)

Bush Street Theatre, San Francisco, 3 November 1879
‘The principal event of the week has been the production of The Magic Slipper by the Colville Opera company, who made their first appearance at the Bush-street Theatre, Nov. 3 to the largest audience of the season… . Miss Eme Roseau, the leading star of this organization, although a beautiful woman, cannot be congratulated on achieving a recognition for any attainments requisite for the position… . Miss Kate Everleigh made a handsome Prince, and might perhaps have scored a success had she been compelled to act the part in pantomime. Miss Ella Chapman nightly received a warm welcome for the sake of ”auld lang syne,” and bids fair to retain her former popularity, as she has already succeeded in dancing herself into the good graces of her audiences. Miss Ada Lee’s graceful bearing, and the charming and pleasing manner in which she portrayed the Prince’s secretary, have made her a favorite. The admiration this little lady excites is not one white lessened by the fact that she bears a great resemblance to her sister Jennie, and the she possesses the most shapely limbs ever seen here… .’
(The New York Clipper, New York, New York, Saturday, 22 November 1879, p. 274g)

Melbourne, Australia, 17 April 1884 – Opera House, Melbourne
‘Mr F.C. Burnand’s burlesque Blue Beard was produced at this theatre last (Easter) Monday. Miss Jennie Lee, Miss Ada Lee, and Mr Harry Taylor sustain the principal roles. The piece suffered much from imperfect rehearsal, and has not go in through going order yet.’
Melbourne, Australia, 21 April 1884 – Opera House, Melbourne
Blue Beard now runs smoothly and evenly. The various performances are at home in their roles, and the burlesque may have a good run. Miss Jennie Lee and Miss Ada Lee are the life and soul of the piece.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 21 June 1884, p. 15c)

‘Miss Ada Lee has returned to London after an absence of several years in Australia and South Africa, having fulfilled successful engagements with Messrs Williamson and Musgrove, Brough and Boucicault, and Frank Thornton and Jennie Lee.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 August 1895, p. 8c)

Ada Lee succumbed to the bubonic plague during a visit to Australia with the Charles Arnold Company, dying in Sydney on Saturday, 1 March 1902.

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Rumpelstiltskin; or, The Woman at the Wheel, New Royalty Theatre, London, 1864

August 19, 2013

three carte de visite photographs of characters from F.C. Burnand’s extravaganza, Rumpelstiltskin; or, The Woman at the Wheel, produced at the New Royalty Theatre, Soho, London, 28 March 1864.
left to right: Miss Pelham as Roseken, Lydia Maitland as Prince Poppet, Edmund Edmunds as Rumpelstiltskin, and below: Ada Cavendish as Princess Superba
(photos: Southwell Brothers, London, 1864)

‘A lively overture preceded the extravaganza of Rumpelstiltskin; or, The Woman at the Wheel. The wheel is simply the wheel of fortune, from which, by the aid of Rumpelstiltskin, the heroine manages to spin straw into gold. Mr. Burnand, with charming candour, in a brief preface in the book of words, informs us that the story is taken from that of the Brothers Grimm, and that he has helped himself to any other little characters or incident he thought likely to add to the interest of the piece. The wisdom of attempting to tell the story of a burlesque in a brief criticism is, rather questionable. The lively airs, the pretty dances, the naivete and abandon of the actors and actresses, refuse to be set down on paper. Yet for a due appreciation of the story they are necessary, and without them the narrative cannot do justice to the author. Briefly, the story is this. King Tagarag, like many a king (especially of the burlesque and pantomime), has an empty exchequer. He conceives, also like many another stage monarch, a notable scheme for getting the same filled, the novelty of which is not very striking. It is the marriage of his son, Prince Poppet, to the Princess Superba, who has wealth untold. There is one little obstacle to this scheme. The Prince has lost his heart to a miller’s daughter. He refuses, and goes to see the miller’s daughter, is surprised by his Royal father, who is told that the miller’s daughter can spin gold from straw. She is cast into prison until she can prove the assertion. While she is bewailing her inability Rumpelstiltskin, the dwarf, makes his appearance, proposes marriage, offers a bond for signature, and promises to endow her with the ability to spin the gold from straw if she signs. She signs, afterwards spins out the gold, and is about to join hands with the Prince, when the Dwarf appears to demand her hand. An arrangement is made, by which she is to have, however, three days before the fulfilment of the contract, and if in the meantime any one can guess his name it is to be void. By the aid of an old witch this is discovered, the dwarf virtuously endows the bride, and the extravaganza concludes with a stage covered with nuggets of gold huge enough to have a wonderful effect on the money market of King Tagarag’s kingdom. So much for the story. It is the least part of the piece. The acting throughout is good. The varied accomplishments of the ladies who gather under the banner of the New Royalty found an ample field. Miss Ada Cavendish looked, dressed, and acted the haughty Princess with skill. Admirable as her Venus, in Ixion [i.e. Burnand’s extravaganza, Ixion; or, The Man at the Wheel, produced at the New Royalty, Soho, London, 28 September 1863], was, her Princess Superba is unquestionably better; the scene in which she assumes the wig and gown and appears as Counsel for the Defence is a capital one. Miss Lydia Maitland makes a pleasing Prince Poppet. Mrs. [Charles] Selby’s character is not a very great one, but she invests it with a power that makes the scene in which she takes part one of the best of the piece. Miss Pelham, as Roseken, the beloved of Prince Poppet, and Miss H. Pelham also played satisfactorily. Mr. Edmund Edmunds made a promising debut as Rumpelstiltskin. His singing and acting are alike good, and the character is perfectly made up. Mr. Joseph Robins, who plays the mother of Roseken (the Miller’s wife), is very droll, and his part as a witness at the trial is admirably done. Broad as it is, the habitues of law courts will recognise in it the fruit of faithful study or that class of witness who are the plague of barristers. Mr. W.H. Stephens, as the King, and Mr. Wagstaff, as Goldensticken, his usher, were amusing. In the second scene, which is the Exterior of Jolinosio’s Miss Rosina Wright, aided by a strong corps de ballet, executes some of the most graceful dances we have seen for some time. In scene four the Miller’s daughter is put on her trial as a gold spinner, and she accomplishes the task most completely, sheets of gold spreading over the floor and all around as she turns her wheel, and the Hall of the Palace suddenly changing its exterior appearance t represent the same metal. Scene five is pretty, but unpretentious. Scene six, not as much for scenic effect as for parody of a trial which takes place in it, is the best of them all. Author, actors, and actresses have continued to make it so, and it is the best one of its character we have witnessed. It leads up to the “Abode of Golden Gilt,” and a well-delivered epilogue by Mrs. Selby, followed by a general dance, terminates this capital extravaganza.
‘We deeply regret to have to add that a sad circumstance, which took place on the first night, rendered the task of the ladies and gentlemen on the stage one of peculiar difficulty, and had scarcely less effect on the audience. Mr. H. Seymour, who made his first appearance in the character of the Miller, was seized with a fit that terminated fatally. Mrs. Selby, with much natural feeling and emotion, announced the fact to the audience. Mr. Phelps took up the character, and has continued to play it since. Mr. Burnand also, when called before the curtain, alluded to the sad circumstance under which the latter part of his work had for the first time been played. Mr. Phelps has now studied the part, for which he was at first wholly unprepared, and the piece goes off amid enthusiastic demonstrations of approval.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 3 April 1864, p.11b/c)

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Mary Godsall

May 26, 2013

Mary Godsall (1844-1922), English actress, as she appeared as Meenie during the run of Dion Boucicault’s dramatization of Rip Van Winkle at the Adelphi Theatre, London, first produced there on 4 September 1865, with Joseph Jefferson in the title role
(Window & Bridge’s patent Diamond Cameo Portrait carte de visite, photos: Adolphe Beau, London, 1865)

The Cabinet Theatre, London, Wednesday, ‘The little building in Liverpool-street, King’s cross, which was formerly used as a lecture hall, &c., has been fitted up and licensed under the above name for dramatic performances by Mr. J. Dryden. On Wednesday night last was played a new drama by Mr. G. Wood in three acts, entitled The Sisters; or, The Rovers of Salee. both the piece and the acting were below the range of criticism of any kind. The most ordinary knowledge of the English language on the part of the author must have sufficed to have shown him the absurdity of the combinations of words in which the piece abounds. Anything more absolutely ridiculous and farcical than the parts intended to be serious it would not be easy to imagine. The repetition of the sentences by the actors and actresses, of whom there was a long list, was quite as bad, or worse, than the matter, in those cases where they knew what they had to say, which was a very rare occurrence. Consequently the stage was continually kept ”waiting.” We left at the close of the second act, when, after a ”wait” of longer duration than usual, the curtain descended on the emotional, impromptu exclamation of a father to the two sisters, ”Well, come my dears, we’ll be off.” It is just possible that with training and education Mr. Bingley and Miss Mary Godsall might learn to make a passable use of what natural qualifications they possess. The others have none… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 13 March 1864, p. 10c)

F.C. Burnand’s English version of La Belle Hélène, produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 30 June 1866
‘Miss Godsall’s beauty of feature and remarkable grace of movement and expression make Glauce a very attractive personage.’

‘MISS GODSALL, of the Theatres Royal, St. James’s, and Adelphi, London, and New Prince of Wales and Theatre Royal, Liverpool, will be Disengaged at Easter, and will be happy to treat with responsible managers for Juvenile and Burlesque Business. Address, 98, Brownlow-hill, Liverpool.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 31 March 1867, p. 1b)

From 1867 little or nothing appears to have come Mary Godsall’s way in the form of theatrical engagements. Instead she seems to have pursued a career as an artist, describing herself in the 1901 Census as an ‘artist, painter, sculptor.’ Long before that, however, she was commissioned by the British Museum to make drawings of certain ancient Roman coins in the Department of Coins and Medals, which were published as Autotypes in 1874. Miss Godsall’s painting entitled ‘Jacqueline,’ ‘a pretty, bright-eyed girl, in blue-trimmed mob cap’ was shown at the Dudley Gallery Exhibition, London, in 1877. (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 3 February 1877, p. 118b). And at The Royal Academy Exhibition, London, 1879, ‘… Of the rank and file whose works seem especially worthy of notice we may mention ”Cinderella” (668), [by] Mary Godsall.’ (Nottinghamshire Guardian, London, Friday, 16 May 1879, p. 7c). This watercolour, wrote The Portfolio: An Artistic Periodical, ‘is tender in colour, the deep old-fashioned hearth, with its crouching figure of the melancholy maiden, make a charming picture.’ Another of her paintings, a ‘lifesize half-length of a little girl,’ was shown at the Dudley Gallery in 1880. (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 28 February 1880, p. 203b).

On 24 October 1880, at St. Barnabas’s Church, Pimlico, London, Mary Godsall was married by the Bishop of North Queensland to Robert Christison (1837-1915), a native of Scotland, who had gone to Australia at the age of 15. The couple were together in Australia from about 1883 to 1887 but Mary disliked the country so much that she returned to England with their three surviving children (two girls and a boy) and subsequently enrolled to study with Charles Augustus C. Lasar (1856-1936) in Paris, who had opened his studio for students in 1886. Mr Christison finally returned to England permanently in 1910; he died at Foulden, Scotland, in 1915. For reasons unknown, Mary Christison returned to Australia where she died of heart failure on 14 November 1922 (The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Tuesday, 14 November 1922, p.8).

A photograph of Mary Christison and her three children, taken in the late 1880s, is in the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland.

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The Chorus of Fairies in the burlesque Ariel

May 24, 2013

the chorus of fairies in the burlesque Ariel, Gaiety Theatre, London, 8 October 1883
(photo: unknown, London, 1883)

F.C. Burnand’s burlesque fairy drama Ariel, based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, was produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 8 October 1883. Nellie Farren undertook the title role and Arthur Williams appeared as Prospero.

‘To criticize Ariel at the Gaiety adversely, to pretend to say it was not the most brilliant production of this or any other age, to dare to hint that the loss of Mr. Edward Terry is most acutely felt, or that the Gaiety company is not what it was, would be to draw down on our devoted heads sarcastic advertisements in the daily Press [probably a reference to John Hollingshead, manager of the Gaiety and former journalist, who was an inveterate advertiser], the scorn of the leading comic paper, and the studied impertinence of the popular sporting oracles. To say that Ariel is written down to the intelligence of the typical masher is sufficient to say that it could not contain any definite sign of the merry geniality and robust humour of its author. It is not at all likely that the Johnnies and Chappies of the Gaiety brigade take the slightest interest in the art that The Theatre endeavours to foster and encourage, and it is mot certain that the directors and sympathizers with The Theatre differ toto cœlo from the Gaiety brigade. The world is wide enough to hold partisans of either school. It has been said, and unfairly said, that it takes a very heavy hammer to force a joke into a Scotchman’s head. The author of Ariel evidently thinks that the masher’s cranium is harder still, so he refuses to take the trouble to force a smile upon the sheep’s faces of an uninteresting crowd. To say that a burlesque is written for the special patrons of the Gaiety is enough to say that it is pap foot for overgrown infants of amiable temperaments and blameless exterior. The author of a criticism of Ariel in a comic paper, mainly devoted to ridiculing all who do not consider Ariel the most side-splitting and hilarious entertainment ever produced, professes himself as objecting to “gush.” Probably he omitted to revise the proofs of his article, for he does not practise what he preaches. Incidentally, however, he touches on a subject on which must has been said from time to time in these columns. He writes as follows:-
‘“Objecting to ‘gush’ as we do, we could wish that in the interest of true criticism the critics’ night were everywhere postponed until the third performance of any new piece.” We wonder if that opinion would have been changed if the “gush” had been ladled out pretty freely within a few hours of the first performance. As we have repeatedly pointed out, the production of a new burlesque or any other play is considered as news of the day, and treated accordingly by the conductors of newspapers. This is an implied compliment to the drama of every degree. If things go on as they are going on now, it is quite certain that the newspaper-reading public will no longer allow the news of the world to be postponed in favour of the recorded history of the latest melodrama or the newest burlesque. Newspaper space is valuable, and the burlesque that can wait three days to be criticized, may well wait for three weeks or any indefinite period. It is either news or the reverse; and it is surely a false policy to demand that recognition in the daily press of the country should be removed from what is now generally recognized. If the mashers like Ariel, if the management is satisfied, if the author is pleased and looks upon the production with pride, why, of course it must be good. Let the author take a leaf out of the book of Augustus Harris [manager of Drury Lane Theatre], and boldly advertise “By far the best burlesque I have ever been associated with!” An inelegant sentence, but in strict accord with managerial modesty. Cela va sans dire! There is no more to be said about it. But it is not beyond the regions of probability that even Miss [Nellie] Farren and her clever companions have from time to time given more favourable specimens of their art, although their popularity was never more strongly pronounced. The Gaiety is popular, Mr. [F.C.] Burnand is deservedly popular, the company is equally popular; but critics are not necessarily idiots because they consider the pubic time is occasionally wasted, or because they deplore the existence in the stalls of a steady contempt for all humour, a wretched hankering after the childish in art, and an inert materialism that is necessarily the opponent of fancy and imagination.’
(The Theatre, London, Monday, 1 November 1883, pp.271 and 272)

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Miss Raynham

April 26, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Miss Raynham (1844?-1871), English actress, as Sam in Tom Taylor’s drama The Ticket-of-Leave Man, produced at the Olympic Theatre, London, on 27 May 1863
(photo: W. Rowland Holyoake, 23 Great Coram Street, Russell Square, London, W.C., probably 1863)

The Ticket-of-Leave Man was revived many times, as on 25 May 1885 when Sam was played by Nellie Farren

‘The Olympic [Theatre, London] entertainments comprise the comedy of Taming a Truant, in which Mr. Robert Soutar, from the Brighton Theatre, now sustains the part of Captain Pertinax, and gives promise of being a valuable acquisition to the London boards; followed by an extravaganza, called Acis and Galatea [Acis and Galatea; or, The Nimble Nymph and the Terrible Troglodyte, produced at the Olympic, 6 April 1863], written by Mr. Burnand, and which may be pronounced to be the best and most successful of the Easter novelties. It is superior in refinement and language than these pieces generally are, and is admirably acted as well as elegantly put on the stage. One of the leading features in it is a clever imitation of Mr. Fechter by Miss Raynham.’
(The Sporting Gazette, London, Saturday, 11 April 1863, p. 383b)

Olympic Theatre, London
‘Mr Tom Taylor’s new drama is a success, though he has departed from his accustomed style of writing, and given us a piece more after the fashion of the Adelphi or Surrey dramas. It is called The Ticket-of-Leave Man, and is the history of the endeavours of one Brierly (Mr Neville) to free himself from the consequences to which he has become exposed owing to the villainy of a fellow named Dalton (Mr Atkins). Exiled from his native land, he returns to find all occupation denied to him as soon as it is known that he is the bearer of the fatal document called a ticket of leave. But, after many trials and troubles, he contrives to foil the schemes of Dalton, and to become restored to the paths of rectitude one more. In these honest intentions he is aided by Mary (Miss Kate Saville), to whom he is ultimately married. There are other characters in the piece which was admirably played by all the dramatis personae – a gamin of the English type being capitally played by Miss Raynham, and a professional vocalist being as admirably sustained by Miss Hughes, who sang twice during the progress of the drama. Miss Kate Saville was expressive and pathetic, and Mr Neville, whose rising qualities as an actor are being more apparently every day, took the leading business of the evening with the greatest success. The drama was most favourably received, and will doubtless have a long run.’
(Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, London, Sunday, 31 May 1863, p. 3b). The cast of the original production of The Ticket-of-Leave Man also included George Vincent

‘DEATHS OF ARTISTES. – The theatrical world has been much shocked by the self-imposed death of Mr Walter Montgomery, who so lately played at the Gaiety. It is supposed he had overworked himself in dramatic study. Miss Raynham, the original representative of Sam Willoughby, in the Ticket of Leave Man, at the Olympic, has died recently at Homburg. Mr St Auby has also died of consumption at the Charing-cross Hospital.’
(Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, London, Saturday, 9 September 1871, p. 11a)

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Harry Monkhouse

March 1, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Harry Monkhouse (1854-1901), English actor,
as Duvet in the comic opera Captain Thérèse,
by Alexandre Bisson and F.C. Burnand, with music by Robert Planquette,
which was produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 25 August 1890.
The cast also included Hayden Coffin, Joseph Tapley, Tom A. Shale,
Attalie Claire (in the title role), and Phyllis Broughton
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, 1890)

‘Monkhouse, Harry. (John Adolph McKie.) – there is no more general favourite than Mr. Harry Monkhouse, who is a native of Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he was born in 1854. Of course he was never intended for the stage – actors and actresses never are – and his parents, who were Presbyterians, gave him a liberal education at Newcastle Grammar School, which they intended should fit him either for a clergyman or a doctor. From acting in amateur theatricals and assisting behind the scenes at the local theatre on benefit nights, he rose to the dignity of small parts, and at length secured his first regular engagement at the Theatre Royal, Blythe, where Mrs. Wybert Rousby seeing him act, offered him his next engagement to go to Jersey as one of her company. From the Grecian, where he first played in London, he migrated to the Alhambra, and thence to the Gaiety for three years. He met, whilst touring with the Nellie Farren Gaiety Company, Mr. Wilton Jones, who wrote for him a very funny burlesque entitled Larks, and with this and other plays, he made several long and very successful provincial tours. Just as every comedian fancies himself a tragedian, so Mr. Monkhouse, who made his name in burlesque, fancies himself for parts in melodramas where pathos is the prevailing characteristic, and squeezes into his characters a little touch of pathos whenever the chance occasion offers. As Bouillabaisse in Paul Jones (1889) he made himself wonderfully popular, and the way he eventually worked up the part during its run at the Princes of Wales’ Theatre was very marked. As Gosric in Marjorie and M. Duvet in Captain Thérèse he further added to his reputation for originality and humour. There he also played during the run of The Rose and the Ring and Maid Marian, but was drafted over to fill the ranks at the Lyric when the second edition of La Cigale was produced, and played with great drollness the part of Uncle Mat.’
(Erskine Reid and Herbert Compton, The Dramatic Peerage, Raithby, Lawrence & Co Ltd, London, 1892, pp. 154 and 155)