Posts Tagged ‘Haymarket Theatre (London)’


Beatrice Ferrar, Miss M.A. Victor and George Giddens in the revival of Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy, She Stoops to Conquer; or, The Mistakes of a Night, Haymarket Theatre, London, 9 January 1900

January 30, 2014

Beatrice Ferrar (1876-1958) as Miss Neville, Miss M.A. Victor (1831-1907) as Mrs Hardcastle and George Giddens (1845-1920) as Tony Lumpkin in the revival of Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy, She Stoops to Conquer; or, The Mistakes of a Night, produced at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on 9 January 1900.
(cabinet photo: Window & Grove, 63a Baker Street, London W, 1900)

‘Messrs. [Frederick] Harrison and [Cyril] Maud’s projected series of revivals of standard English comedies at the Haymarket made an auspicious commencement on Tuesday evening with She Stoops to Conquer. Goldsmith’s masterpiece was, on the whole, a judicious choice for the opening production, for there has been no performance of this play in London of any importance since the revivals at the Vaudeville and the Criterion in the spring of 1890. That delightful actress, Miss Winifred Emery [Mrs Cyril Maude], who was the Miss Hardcastle of the former occasion, now returns to the part, and plays it, as will be expected, with a more sustained vivacity and finesse than in her more juvenile days. Mr. Giddens, who was the Tony Lumpkin of Mr. [Charles] Wyndham’s cast, now repeats his richly humourous and forcible impersonations of the loutish young Squire. Miss M.A. Victor as Mrs. Hardcastle, and Mr. Sydney Valentine as Diggory, are also distinguished recruits from the Criterion cast. Conspicuous among the now-comers is Mr. Cyril Maude, who breaks the tradition of his part by emphasising the peevishness and irritability of Mr. Hardcastle at the expense of his more genial qualities. The change, though it took the spectator somewhat by surprise, was not unwelcome, and it must be confessed that Mr. Maude’s portrait is drawn by a master-hand. Young Marlow finds an excellent representative in Mr. Paul Arthur, the young American actor, whose recent performance of the Prince in Captain Marshall’s clever and fanciful comedy [A Royal Family] at the Court Theatre, has won for him so large a tribute of praise. Miss Beatrice Ferrar and Mr. Graham Browne are respectively the Miss Neville and Hastings of the cast. The comedy, which is acted throughout with a spirit and precision of touch that auger well for the management’s experiment, was received with great cordiality.’
(The Graphic, London, Saturday, 13 January 1900, p. 54)

‘… Mr George Giddens gave us a genuinely rough and rural Tony Lumpkin, a real bit of boorish aristocracy, unforced, unexaggerated, but in the richest and rarest vein of low comedy… Miss M.A. Victor was exquisitely amusing, and, at the same time, perfectly easy and reposeful as Mrs Hardcastle. The part suited her exactly, and she gave a reading of it which delighted the audience greatly, and even added to Miss Victor’s extensive and intense popularity. Miss Beatirce Ferrar’s Miss Neville was younger and more hoydenish than is customary; but, in practice, this proved an advantage, and ”Neville’s” scuffles and combats with Tony sent the house into roars of laughter, and greatly assisted the success of the revival. In the more serious passages of the part Miss Ferrar showed how keenly acute she is by nice enunciation and by sufficiently subduing her vivacity… .’

(The Era, London, Saturday, 13 January 1900, p. 13d)


Kate Cutler in A Model Trilby, 1895

July 28, 2013

Kate Cutler (1864-1955), English actress, as she appeared in the title role of the burlesque, A Model Trilby; or, A Day or Two After Du Maurier, which opened at the Opera Comique, London, 16 November 1895. Trilby, the play, with Dorothea Baird in the title role, had opened at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on 30 October 1895.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1895; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card issued about 1900)

‘Miss Nellie Farren has fixed the date of the reopening of the Opera Comique with A Model Trilby; or, A Day or Two After Du Maurier, for the 16th [November 1895]. The burlesqued Trilby will be represented by clever Miss Kate Cutler, and Mr Tree’s Svengali will be travestied by Mr Robb Harwood… . The interior [of the Opera Comique] has been greatly altered; new stalls, dress circle, and upper boxes have been added, and a new and spacious pit has been provided; so that Miss Farren’s enterprise will have a fair start, so far as the house in which it is made is concerned.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 2 November 1895, p. 10a)

‘Messrs Yardley and Brookfield’s burlesque The Model Trilby had a trial trip on Monday afternoon at the Kilburn Theatre. Miss Kate Cutler was demurely droll as Trilby, and Mr Robb Harwood imitated cleverly the appearance, voice, and manner of Mr Beerbohm Tree as Svengali. Miss Cutler’s song ”The Altogether” seems decidedly smart; and we await with agreeable anticipation the production of the ”skit” at the Opera Comique on Saturday next.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 9 November 1895, p. 12b)

‘The trilby jokes date back to the fifties, Taffy in the burlesque says in apology. It may be out of regard to the unities that Miss Farren has gone to the same period for the ”new and original comedy” which precedes A Model Trilby at the Opera Comique. Nannie is a good half-century belated. With its naïve sentiment, its old-fashioned seducer, its painstaking dialect, it might perhaps have brought tears to the eyes of the Amelias of a more susceptible generation. But the early Victorian revival could not make this sort of primitive pathos and humour again the fashion, and in the face of it a modern audience yawns politely from the stalls, laughs uproariously from the gallery. Or, it may be that there is wisdom in the choice. After so tame a performance, the weakest attempt at burlesque could not by seen gay.
‘The Model Trilby of Mr. C.H. Brookfield and Mr. W. Yardly, is, however, something more than an attempt, and would, in parts, amuse under any circumstances. Trilby, the book, it must be confessed, adapts itself to parody with unusual facilities. Indeed, with us it is a question whether the play at the Haymarket belongs, strictly speaking, to burlesque or to melodrama. The Haymarket Taffy, with his pepper-pot and dumb-bells, the Haymarket Mrs. Bagot with her unreserved confidences to a chance concierge, the Haymarket Mr. Bagot, modelled upon Mr. Blakeley in his familiar rôles, are really conceived in as farcical spirit as the same characters at the Opera Comique, and are, if anything, the funnier because of the seriousness with which they are played. And if the magnificent proportions of Trilby herself have grown less at the Opera Comique – because the part has been so much cut down, Durien, the artist-author explains – at least the lady has an ankle to account for her speciality as a model. In the Haymarket, too, the success, in large measure, depends upon make-up; the characters are received with applause in proportion as they look like Mr. Du Maurier’s drawings. But the trick is an easy one, and on the stage of the Opera Comique, Svengali and Taffy and the Laird and Trilby all reappear with a genuinely comic excellence of imitation. In the case of Svengali, Mr. Robb Harwood and Mr. Tree might change places, and the two audiences be none the wiser. The burlesque takes all the usual indispensable liberties with the play and the novel. The whole story is turned topsy-turvy. Little Billie weeps unrestrainedly because he is counted too young to see Trilby pose in the ”altogether”; Trilby’s voice is ruined by Svengali in the training, and so on. But, after all, plot in burlesque matters little. The great thing is the way it is written and played. Mr. Brookfield and Mr. Yardley, in the beginning at least, are not wanting in wit and gaiety. They have seized upon the real weakness of Trilby, and got all the fun out of it they can; to provide harmless, Bowdlerized indecency for the middle classes; that is the little game of Durien, their artist-author, ”the present scribe,” who is perpetually appealed to by his puppets to set them straight. But. Apparently, the material, made to their hand as it might be, could not hold out for an hour or more. The second half of the performance, ending in an indifferent variety entertainment, drags and is as dull as the first half is light and gay and spontaneous. And here the trouble must rest with the authors; for, to the end, the actors do their very best. The whole thing is carried through with plenty of ”go” and life and vivacity. Mr. Eric Lewis, as Durien, may show unexpected restraint in his get up, but he plays with spirit, and his song and dance with Mdme. Vinard is one of the best things in the whole burlesque. Miss Kate Cutler does not bother to study the Haymarket Trilby, except to borrow a hint for her first costume, and, perhaps, this is just as well. Mr. Farren Soutar and Mr [C.P.] Little and Mr. [George] Antley make the Taffy and Laird and Little Billie of the play seem by comparison more tedious than ever, and before dullness sets in on their own stage they have one very jolly dance. We have already said that Mr. Harwood’s Svengali is a capital piece of mimicry. The music has the appropriate gaiety, and there is a Trilby dance, which means, of course, bare, or rather stockinged, feet. And the chances are that in the course of time the last part will go at a more lively rate, and A Model Trilby will be as amusing a little skit, which is all it pretends to be, as you could have.
‘But on Saturday, perhaps, the prettiest bit of comedy of the evening was given by Miss Nellie Farren in the little speech to her ”boys and girls,” a lump in her ”froat,” ready for the good cry all ”females” must have at such a critical moment. Miss Farren the manager has not forgotten Miss Farren the actress.’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Monday, 18 November 1895, p. 3b)


Henry Ainley in the title role of Fishpingle, 1916

July 17, 2013

Henry Ainley (1879-1945), English actor, in the title role of Fishpingle, a comedy by H.A. Vachell, Haymarket, London, 30 May 1916
(photo: Malcolm Arbuthnot, London, 1916)

‘In the title-rôle of Mr. Horace Vachell’s new play, Fishpingle, at the Haymarket, which has proved to be a success, even though the critics were a bit lukewarm about it at first. The notion of a butler who knows better then his master is not new, but Mr. Vachell goes a step further and makes him his master’s own elder brother slightly removed and unblessed by the Church. Fishpingle is a clever admixture of eugenist and match-maker, and Mr. Ainley has admirably caught the spirit of the part.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 14 June 1916, p.327)

‘In Mr. Vachell’s successful play at the Haymarket in which the butler is a species of “deux ex machina” who proves to be the baronet’s elder brother (slightly removed), and who controls the destinies of all the other characters in the play, including those of the footman and the housemaid.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 21 June 1916, p.362a)


Bunty Pulls the Strings

May 15, 2013

Bunty Pulls the Strings
(back cover advertisement, artwork by V. Hicks, 1913, ‘with no apologies to W.K. Haselden’ The Playgoer and Society Illustrated, new series Vol. 8, no. 45, London, 1913)

Bunty Pulls the Strings, Graham Moffat’s successful Scottish comedy, was first produced for a single matinee performance at the Playhouse, London, on 4 July 1911, before embarking on a 620 performance run at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on 18 July 1911. The play returned to the Playhouse for 37 further performances on 16 June 1913.


Mrs Scott-Siddons

March 21, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Mary Frances Scott-Siddons (1844-1896), English actress, as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, in which she toured the United Kingdom during 1866 and 1867 and appeared opposite W.H. Kendal at the Haymarket Theatre, London, 11 September 1867
(photo: William Neilson, Edinburgh, 1866)

‘EXTRAORDINARY SCENE AT THE HAYMARKET THEATRE. – An unusually sympathetic spectator was amongst the audience at the Haymarket Theatre on Saturday night, the 21st inst. Mrs . Scott-Siddons was playing Juliet, and in the Chamber Scene, towards the close of the tragedy, was contemplating the horrors that would await her in the family vault if she awoke before Friar Lawrence and Romeo should come to her aid. The actress, then, previous to asserting that she beheld the bloody corpse of her slain kinsman, Tybalt, gave a loud and sudden shriek, which was instantly echoed by a lady seated in the dress circle, who was thrown into hysterics by the recital of the terrors conjured up by Juliet. The lady was removed to the lobby and cared for, and Juliet, proceeding with her part, quaffed the drowsy syrup according to the direction of her ghostly counsellor.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 29 September 1867, p. 6b)


Ethel Irving as Lady Frederick Berolles in the Dressing Room scene from W. Somerset Maugham’s comedy Lady Frederick, Lonodon, 1907

January 7, 2013

Ethel Irving (1869-1963), English actress and singer,
as Lady Frederick Berolles in the Dressing Room scene
from W. Somerset Maugham’s comedy
Lady Frederick, Court Theatre, London, 26 October 1907,
with Graham Browne as Paradine Fouldes and Ina Pelly as Angelique
(photo: Dover Street Studios, London, 1907)

‘On the whole, one must confess to rather a disappointment over Lady Frederick, the new comedy by Mr. W.S. Maugham, author of A Man of Honour, in which Miss Muriel Mydford played the married barmaid with such remarkable force a little while ago [in a revival, Avenue Theatre, London, 18 February 1904]. the reason is easy to tell. A Man of Honour was a play of genuine life. It had something to say. Its faults were honest. Lady Frederick is just a conventional, tricky comedy, not quite clever enough at its own game.
‘Its theme, in truth, is almost identically that of Sweet Kitty Bellairs [comedy by David Belasco, first produced in London at the Haymarket, 5 October 1907] without the costumes and the excitements. Lady Frederick is supposed to be an extravagant young Irish widow of the present day, staying at Monte Carlo. She had at one time allowed herself to be innocently compromised in order to shield a weaker woman. A certain lady Mereston, however – a very acid English person – denounces lady Frederick publicly as an adventuress. Lady Frederick tells the real story. Lady Mereston refused to believe it. Not so Lady Mereston’s brother, an old admirer of Lady Frederick. He not only pays off certain debts with which Lady Frederick is entangles, but at the end makes the last of the many proposals of marriage that occur in the course of the evening, and brings down the curtain upon a desired embrace.
‘As a matter of fact, quite a large proportion of the play’s time is taken up by these proposals of marriage to Lady Frederick. Nearly all the men come up one after another. One of them – the orthodox stage villain, here represented as being of Jewish descent – tries to force her to marry him by lending her brother £900 at an exorbitant rate of interest, and threatening to ruin her in two ways if she does not consent. A wearisome old dodge! Then there is the usual nice boy, whom Lady Frederick considerately disillusions by inviting him into her dressing-room, and letting him see her put on her hair and rouge her cheeks and pencil her eyebrows. Another aspirant, an elderly admiral, is choked off even more promptly.
‘When not deprecating the attentions of these men, by the way, Lady Frederick seems to spend most of her time in evading those of creditors. One of the principal scenes of the play represents her wheedling round a visitant dressmaker, to whom she owed £700, with promises of invitations to an archduchess’s party.
‘As may be seen, so far as incident is concerned, practically everything in the piece is secondhand. It is put together with fair cleverness, but not marvellously well. One fancies that Mr. Maugham’s real hope was that Lady Frederick, as a buoyant, brilliant, large-hearted, impulsive Irishwoman, would, by sheer force of personality, carry everything before her and dazzle the audience into delight.
‘It is to be feared, unfortunately, that this is not quite what Miss Ethel Irving’s interpretation is likely to do. Extremely intelligent and alert as she always is, but fearfully nervous, Miss Ethel Irving under-played nearly every scene, and seemed afraid of just the moments that she should have attacked. Her exhibitions of temper were as different from the genuine Irish ”paddy” as a drizzle is from a thunderstorm. She adopted a certain brogue, but it was an accent rather than an inspiration.
‘Of the others, Mr. C.M. Lowne as Lady Mereston’s brother was wholly delightful, Miss Beryl Faber doing all that was necessary with Lady Mereston herself. Mr. Graham Browne as the nice boy viewed Lady Frederick’s toilet with admired astonishment.’
(The Daily Chronicle, London, Monday, 28 October 1907, p. 3e)