Posts Tagged ‘Go-Bang (musical farcical comedy)’

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Letty Lind and Hetty Hamer

February 21, 2013

Letty Lind (1862-1923),
English actress, dancer and singer,
contrasted with
Hetty Hamer (fl. late 1880s-early 20th Century),
English Gaiety Girl, showgirl and later music hall celebrity

Letty Lind as Daisy Vane in An Artist’s Model,
Daly’s Theatre, London, 2 February 1895.
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1895)

‘Letty Lind the Idol of the Theatre Goers – Hetty Hamer Is a Beauty Devoid of Talents …
‘To be a favorite on the state in the “Modern Babylon,” a woman must be equipped in at least one of three ways. She may be only beautiful, and the lack of talent will be overlooked; if she startles by her “fetching” quality, audacity, diablerie, she may be plain and sublimely stupid; or she must legitimately amuse and interest according to English canons, which, by the way, are frequently ours. Two of these types are found in The Artist’s Model [sic], the comic opera which has held a London stage now for very nearly a year – Letty Lind and Hetty Hamer.
‘We are familiar with the dainty little Englishwoman who transformed skirt-dancing into a sort of butterfly art four or five years ago. London pets her. In the blue jean trousers and blouse of the Paris street urchin, as she dances in her diminutive clogs and smiles in her odd, one-sided way, she sparkles into the sympathy of the watchers. Her face is piquant – an honest, little face – but of absolute beauty she has scarcely any, and after three years’ illness she returned to the stage last year with only an echo of a voice, even for spoken lines. Her charm, however, does not depend on beauty of face or voice. She seems a sprite, her every glance an unreserved expression of the part she plays; her smile flashing over every part of a crowded house an invisible lasso knitting the attention and homage of her audience. And then, lastly, and most important, those little feet of hers! In the timings of the “Tom-tit” dance they waft the blues away as gracefully as clouds of tobacco smoke; acrobatic sky assaults find no exponent in Letty Lind. She is a born comedienne. Seldom does a dancing member of a comic-opera company give any semblance of reality to the lines of the libretto – as a rule it is considered quite enough to strut through the part; but as the runaway school-girl in Paris, playing truant in the blouse and cap of a saucy gamin, she is satisfying enough to dispense with songs and dances and still be a success.

Letty Lind as Di Dalrymple in Go-Bang, Trafalgar Square, London, 1894
(photo: probably Alfred Ellis, London, 1894)

‘In contrast to her stands Hetty Hamer. Her photographs decorate the theater lobbies as prominently as those of the principals, yet she does nothing. She is an actress as she might be a model in a cloak shop. Her face is beautiful, though lacking in shades of expression. She neither sings nor acts. She merely exists behind the foot-lights and draws her large salary because her eyes are like big, shadowed violets, her mouth like a Greek bow, the cut of her nose and chin strikingly classic. She suggests Hardy’s milkmaid heroine, Tess – the bovine calm in the large, clear eyes, the pouting lips, with the red pinch in the middle of the upper one, the surprised, ingenuous, unvarying smile. Lengthy notices are always given Hetty Hamer in the papers, and the interest the audience takes in her is eloquent of another national difference between the English and us – their critical appreciation of feminine beauty, merely as beauty, irrespective of talent and social status.
(The Gazette, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Wednesday, 20 November 1894, p.9a)

Hetty Hamer
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, early 1890s)

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Go-Bang on tour

February 15, 2013

detail of the Theatre Metropole programme
for Go-Bang, week beginning Monday, 11 March 1895
(printed by the Free Press Co, 429 Brixton Road, London, S.E., 1895)

Go-Bang on tour at the Theatre Metropole, Camberwell, week beginning Monday, 11 March 1895
‘On Monday, March 11th [1895], the Musical Farcical Comedy, by Adrian Ross and Osmond Carr, entitled GO-BANG… .
‘This merry, musical piece, which was originally played at the Trafalgar on March 10th last year, was reproduced at Mr Mulholland’s Theatre on Monday evening, and, judging by the reception accorded it, Go-Bang is likely to meet with much success on its provincial travels. The piece had all the advantages of being represented by a thoroughly competent company, and in regard to the important accessories of dresses, appointments, and scenery, everything had been done to ensure a performance in which no weak point could possibly be detected. Mr Victor Stephens [i.e. Victor Stevens] as Dam Row, the eccentric Bojam elect of Go-Bang, invested the part with that quaint and apparently spontaneous humour by which had has earned a high reputation in the world of burlesque. His singing was always acceptable, and in every scene in which he appeared successfully co-operated with his fellow players in the pleasant task of exciting the hearty merriment of the audience. Mr Edward W. Colman seemed to positively revel in the rôle of Jenkins, the greengrocer, who for a time bears the burdens which devolve upon a rule. His performance throughout was an undeniably funny one, and the value of his services cannot be over-estimated. Mr Arthur P. Soutten, taking Mr George Grossmith, jun., as his model, made much comic capital out of the part of the Hon. Augustus Fitzpoop. His peculiar laugh and oddities of appearance and manner had their intended effect, and his Fitzpoop was a distinct hit. Mr Guy Waller as Narain, the secretary who eventually ascends the throne, evinced the possession of an excellent voice, and did justice to the musical numbers entrusted to him. Mr John Lisbourne, who appeared as Wang, distinguished himself by his nimble dancing, and Mr Alexander Loftus was fully equal to the requirements of the rôle of Sir Reddan Tapeleigh. Miss Alice Brookes was as winsome and dainty a representative of Di Dalrymple as could be wished, and her high spirits and vivacity were important factors in gaining for her the favour of the audience. The popular ”Di, Di, Di,” proved to be one of the most taking songs of the evening, and was loudly redemanded. Her dancing was also greatly admired and heartily applauded. Miss Edith Stuart both looked well and did well as Lady Fritterleigh, and Miss Lottie Brookes was a pleasing Helen Tapeleigh. Miss Violet Irving made a coquettish Sarah Anne, and Lady Fritterleigh’s sisters were charmingly impersonated by the Misses Winnie Leon, Edith Denton, and Evreton Eyre. The chorus was composed of a number of attractive young ladies, who sang with precision and danced in graceful style.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 March 1895, p. 9c)