Posts Tagged ‘Lyceum Theatre (London)’


Marguerite Debreux in the role of Cupidon in La Poudre de Perlimpinpin at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, autumn 1869

July 26, 2014

Marguerite Debreux (active 1868-1883), French actress and singer, in the role of Cupidon in La Poudre de Perlimpinpin at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, autumn 1869 (Le Gaulois, Paris, Tuesday, 21 September 1869, p. 4)
(carte de visite photo: Disdéri, Paris, 1869)

‘THE NUDITARIAN RAGE ON THE PARIS STAGE. – The Paris correspondent of the New York Herald, describing the grand rehearsal of ”Poudre de Perlimpinpin,” at the Chatelet, observes:- There is a certain negligé about costume I will not dwell on. Some come in every day clothes, some in splendid costume; some, the ballet dancers, are in white muslin reminiscences, but that is not much. Then 260 women! For the real performance 2000 costumes! On the occasion of the rehearsals I had witnesses a few little whiffs of passion about costume, and I was anxious to see who had gained his or her point, the manager or the actress. One of the prettiest threatened to throw herself into the Seine if she had to put that ”bag” on, in which not a bit of her arms could be seen; another meant to cut the tailor’s throat if he insisted on making her unmentionables more than three inches below the knee; a third would twist the tenor’s neck round if the colour of her tights did not harmonise with that of her hair, and the manager told me that the whole army of men employed – gaslighters, choruses, mechanics, decorators, singers, in all 1200 – were easier to lead than these terrible women. The ”ugly” ones, he said, are as mild as lambs – they put on anything; but it is the pretty ones, with fine legs and tempers to match! Oh! -.-. The way he turned up the whites of his eyes at this is till present to my memory.’
(The Dundee Courier & Argus, Dundee, Scotland, Tuesday, 2 November 1869, p. 3d)

* * * * *

On 18 April 1870 Marguerite Debreux appeared as Mephisto at the Lyceum Theatre, London, in H.B. Farnie’s adaptation of Le Petit Faust (Little Faust), an opera bouffe with music by Hervé. Other members of the cast included Lennox Grey, Jennie Lee, and Ada Luxmore, with Emily Soldene as Marguerite, M. Marius as Siebel, Aynsley Cook as Valentine and Tom Maclagan as Faust.

‘… But if our Faust [Tom Maclagan] was awkward, the public were more than compensated by our Mephisto, our specially imported Mephisto, the beauteous Mdlle. Debreux. Chic and shapely, full of brand-new bouffeisms, she brought the air of the Boulevards with her, and came on tiny, tripping toes, armed with diabolical devices to break up all the women and capture all the men, with a perfect figure, no corsets, and a svelte waist that waved and swayed with every movement; with manicured pink nails an inch long, with a voice that cracked and creaked like a rusty signboard in half a gale of wine, and was never exactly there when wanted. But these vocal eccentricities were accompanied by such grace and gesture and perfect insinuation that a little thing like C sharp for D natural was considered quite the finest art. She was an immense success, and made us English girls just ”sit up,” and we felt very sick indeed… .’
(Emily Soldene, ‘My Theatrical and Musical Recollections,’ Chapter X, The Evening News Supplement, Sydney, NSW, Australia, Saturday, 20 March 1897, p. 2d)


Maud Middleton, the ‘comely chambermaid’ of the Great White Horse in James Albery’s dramatization of Dicken’s Pickwick Papers, Lyceum Theatre, London, 1871

July 13, 2014

Maud Middleton (active 1871/72), English actress, at about the time of her appearance as ‘the comely chambermaid’ of the Great White Horse in James Albery’s dramatization of Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers, produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 23 October 1871.
(carte de visite photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, early 1870s)

Pickwick, Lyceum Theatre, 1871
‘… But of characters, male and female, there are so many that it is impossible to enumerate them. When we mention among the ladies the names of Miss Marion Hill, Miss Minnie Sidney, Miss Kate Manor, and Miss Maude [sic] Middleton, we are not even half-way through the list of beauties… .’
(The Standard, London, Wednesday, 25 October 1871, p. 3d)


July 13, 2014

Maud Middleton (active 1871/72), English actress, at about the time of her appearance as ‘the comely chambermaid’ of the Great White Horse in James Albery’s dramatization of Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers, produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 23 October 1871.
(carte de visite photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, early 1870s)

Pickwick, Lyceum Theatre, 1871
’… But of characters, male and female, there are so many that it is impossible to enumerate them. When we mention among the ladies the names of Miss Marion Hill, Miss Minnie Sidney, Miss Kate Manor, and Miss Maude [sic] Middleton, we are not even half-way through the list of beauties… .’
(The Standard, London, Wednesday, 25 October 1871, p. 3d)


Lewis Waller as Henry V, Lyceum Theatre, London, 22 December 1900

July 11, 2014

Lewis Waller (1860-1915), English actor manager, as he appeared in the title role of his production of Henry V at the Lyceum Theatre, London, the first night of which was on Saturday, 22 December 1900.
(photo: Langfier Ltd, London, 1900)

‘Mr. Lewis Waller and Mr. William Mollison are sparing no effort in preparing for their production of Henry V., due to take place at the Lyceum on the evening of Saturday, December 22. The King Henry the Fifth of the occasion will be Mr. Lewis Waller; the Fluellen, Mr. E.M. Robson; Michael Williams will be Mr. J.H. Barnes, and Mr. William Mollison will play Ancient Pistol. The part of Princess Katherine of France will be taken by Miss Sarah Brooke, and Miss Lily Hanbury will impersonate the Chorus.’
(The Sunday Times, London, Sunday, 9 December 1900, p. 6a)

‘At the Lyceum Theatre, last Wednesday night [20 February 1901], the fiftieth performance of Henry V., was celebrated by the presentation to each member of the audience of a souvenir, which took the form of a series of a dozen full-length portraits of the chief members of the cast, admirably produced by Messrs. Langfier and Co. in a form which suggests finely-finished mezzotint engraving. These are in all cases admirable examples of the process of photogravure, the two portraits of Miss Hanbury as the Chorus being especially remarkable. As time goes on these records of memorable productions – permanent, artistic, and photographically accurate – will come to have a high value for the historian of the drama.
Henry V., I found, was going splendidly on Wednesday night; in conception the main impersonations could hardly be improved upon from what they were upon the occasion of the firt performance. But they had matured since then, and had acquired greater completeness in detail, and the general business of the drama played more closely.
‘The finest battle-piece ever painted! That is now one’s predominating impression of Henry V., as rendered at the Lyceum. It opens with a challenge scornfully proffered and nobly accepted; it proceeds to indicate the details of invasion as they appear to those engaged with them, from the prince to the camp-follower; it culminates in a crucial conflict and the victory of Agincourt. And, finally, as in old legends, the hand of a princess is the reward of the victor.
‘Mr. Lewis Waller’s Henry V. remains a magnificent impersonation, manly, vigorous and genial, Mr. Waller excelled himself, I thought, last Wednesday night, in his delivery of ”One more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” and the demeanour of the soldiers that he was addressing struck me as being more natural and spontaneous there than it was upon the earlier occasion.
‘Mr. William Mollison’s Ancient Pistol is a masterpiece also, Mr. Mollison has divined a temperament for the unfortunate contemner of leeks, and has made a quite convincing human being of him as well as an infinitely diverting one. His apprehensive countenance, at the first appearance of the French soldier, and then, when he perceived that the poor fugitive was too disheartened to dream of resistance, the infinite swagger of his ”Yield, cur!” were delightful touches of comedy. The scene between Pistol and Fluellen was excellently played on both side, and Mr. J.H. Barnes’ Williams was throughout and admirable piece of work, the speech to the King, when the soldier discovers that it is he that he has unwittingly defied and criticised, was an especially fine piece of blunt, manly frankness. The ”dramatis personæ” upon the French side have lesser opportunities afforded them, but the Charles VI. of Mr. Bassett Roe, the Constable of Mr. William Devereux, and the Dauphin of Mr. Gerald Lawrence are all performances of great merit. The Princess Katherine of Miss Sarah Brooke is full of regal and maidenly charm, and Miss Lily Hanbury remains a most statuesque and impressive Chorus.’
(H.A.K. ‘Plays and Players,’ The Sunday Times, London, Sunday, 24 February 1901, p. 6a)


George Cooke as Barney O’Larrigan in a revival of the farce, An Object of Interest, Royal Olympic Theatre, London, 3 January 1859

April 12, 2014

George Cooke (1807-1863), English actor, as Barney O’Larrigan in a revival of J.H. Stocqueler‘s popular farce, An Object of Interest, at the Royal Olympic Theatre, London, on 3 January 1859. An Object of Interest was first performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 14 July 1845, and Cooke himself had already appeared in it on tour under James Rogers’s management in 1856.
(carte de visite photo: Camille Silvy, London, probably 1859)

George Boughey Cooke was born in Manchester on 7 March 1807. According to the Theatrical Times, he was ‘in every sense of the word, a consummate artist. Free from buffoonery or stage conventionality, his reading and manner is rich, racy, and humorous … [and] his voice is peculiarly pleasing.’ (London, Saturday, 23 September 1848, pp. 376-377). He was married in 1840 to Elizabeth Strutt (1803/04-1877), a music teacher and sister of the well-known tragedian Mr Stuart (Thomas Strutt, 1802/03-1878), who retired in 1855. Cooke died by his own hand on 5 March 1863 at his house, 51 Cambridge Street, Pimlico, London.

* * * * *

‘SHREWSBURY. – Theatre Royal… . The season closed here on Friday last [19 December 1856] … The entertainments concluded with the farce of – An Object of Interest, in which Miss Burdett, as Fanny Gribbles, introducing mock tragedy, kept the audience in continual roars of laughter. Mr. Cooke, as Barney O’Larrigan, was also very successful. Mr. James Rogers, who was honoured with a crowded and fashionable attendance, addressed his patrons in a brief and eloquent manner, and was warmly received, all parties leaving the theatre well pleased with this gentleman’s respectable and honourable management.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 28 December 1856, p. 13b)

‘SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKE, THE COMEDIAN. – We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand, on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time from a drospical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic theatre, which his genial natural acting made him a great favourite with the public. His impersonation of the old sailor in the drama of the Lighthouse, and many similar sketches of character will long be remembered by playgoers.’ (The Daily News, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 7d)

‘SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKE, THE COMEDIAN. – We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time form dropsical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic Theatre, where his genial natural acting made him a great favourite with the public.’
(The Standard, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 6d)

‘Death of Mr. George Cooke.
‘A painful sensation on Thursday morning was created in theatrical circles by the intelligence that Mr. George Cooke, the favourite comedian of the Olympic Theatre, had destroyed himself under the pressure of a fit of insanity, arising, as it is believed, from long-continued illness of a serious nature. As a genial actor Mr. George Cook had for the last fifteen years occupied a high position at the Strand and Olympic Theatres, and his death under the above deplorable circumstances will be deeply regretted both by the public and his professional brethren.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 8 March 1863, p. 11b)


Mary Anderson in A Winter’s Tale, Lyceum Theatre, London, 1887

September 3, 2013

Mary Anderson (1859-1940), American actress, as she appeared as Perdita in a revival of A Winter’s Tale, at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 10 September 1887. Other members of the cast were Johnston Forbes-Robertson as Leontes, F.H. Macklin as Polixenes, Fuller Mellish as Florizel, George Warde as Antigonus, Charles Collette as Autolycus and Sophie Eyre as Paulina.
(Henry Van der Weyde, London, 1887)

‘Miss Anderson’s Perdita is much better than her Hermione, though the exquisite beauty of the verse is very far indeed from being realised, and there is a lack of that simplicity which should be the leading feature of the dainty maiden. … The performance will certainly not enhance the reputation of Miss Mary Anderson among lovers of Shakespeare, nor is it likely to add to the popularity of A Winter’s Tale as a stage play.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 12 September 1887, p. 2f)

‘… A spirit of distaste and hostility pervaded the auditorium during the whole evening. This resulted in part from the fact that the pit space had been contracted for the enlargement of the stalls. This was resented by the occupants of the cheaper portions of the house, the more angry of whom attempted to ”guy” the opening of several scenes; and this doubtless added to the nervousness inseparable from a first-night representation. So little respect did the ”gods” show for the ”immortal bard” and his works, that audible laughter greeted the several appearances of the ”pretty bairn” in swaddling clothes, and in the intervals between the frequent ”tableaux,” the unruly deities, recognising Mr Cody in a private box greeted ”Buffalo Bill” with a series of shrill Indian yells. Such a moral atmosphere is as little consistent with the calm enjoyment of the literary and poetical beauties of Shakespeare’s verse as its often indistinct delivery by unpractised lips; and the attitude of a certain portion of the audience had an infectious influence on the remainder. These circumstances contributed to make the evening an ”unlucky” one, and therefore it is impossible to predict the future fortunes of this revival of The Winter’s Tale. That Miss Mary Anderson’s popularity is in no way diminished was shown by the warm reception she had on her first entry, and by the hearty calls for her between the acts, and at the conclusion of the performance. There is no doubt that many who take little interest in Hermione and Perdita may visit the Lyceum to see again the lovely and clever young actress known across the Atlantic by the affectionate title of ”Our Mary.”’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 September 1887, p. 14b)


May Leslie and Miss Strake, as they appeared in Richelieu Redressed, Olympic Theatre, London, 1873

August 16, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of May Leslie (seated) and Miss Strake, as they appeared in supernumerary parts in Richelieu Redressed, Olympic Theatre, London, 27 October 1873
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1873)

Robert Reece‘s burlesque Richelieu Redressed was produced at the Olympic Theatre, London, on 27 October 1873. Parodying Lord Lytton’s five-act play, Richelieu, which had just been revived at the Lyceum on 27 September 1873 with Henry Irving in the title role, its cast was lead by Edward Righton, G.W. Anson junior, W.H. Fisher, Emily Fowler and Miss Stephens.

‘The great success of the Happy Land [a burlesque by F. Tomline and Gilbert à Beckett], which, brought out early in the year [on 3 March 1873], still holds its place at the Court Theatre, was the first indication that a kind of drama which in spirit, though not in form, would resemble the comedy of Aristophanes, was about to become popular, and certainly we have one sign more pointing in the same direction in the immense applause bestowed upon Richelieu Redressed, a new “parody” written by Mr. R. Reece, and brought out at the Olympic Theatre.
‘The old Athenian poet, we need not say, satirized the tragedian Euripides in the Frogs, the demagogue Cleon in the Knights. The limits of one short piece are sufficient for Mr. Reece to throw his darts at two distinct targets, one theatrical, the other political; and the two selected targets, it cannot be denied, are just now objects very conspicuous to the public eye.
‘In the first place, the piece is a burlesque on Lord Lytton’s Richelieu, which a number of circumstances have brought into rare prominence. The Lyceum Theatre, after many years of varied fortunes, has become, under the management of Mr. Bateman, one of the most important houses in London, appropriated as it is to the representation of poetical plays, in which the decorative element, though complete, is subservient to the dramatic judgment of good fortune, or both, caused Mr. Bateman to engaged Mr. H. Irving, at the very commencement of his enterprise; the fame of the actor has gown together with that of the theatre, and if any one member of the profession is now more talked about than another in theatrical circles, that person is Mr. H. Irving, whose figure as Charles I., associated with that of Miss Isabella Bateman as his Queen, and first seen rather more than a year ago, remained permanent for many months in the minds of all who took an interest in theatrical matters – nay, extended the category under which these may be comprised. There is a large class of people who are not in the habit of “going to the play,” and perhaps, as a rule, object to dramatic entertainments, but who readily depart from their general usage when some attraction of an exceptionally intellectual kind is offered, where in the shape of a play or an actor. This class is to be added to the larger multitude which took interest in the new drama Charles I. [Lyceum, 28 September 1873], and now takes interest in the revived drama Richelieu.
‘Mr. Reece, then, when he indulges in a comical view of the great Cardinal, who is regarded with such serious veneration at the Lyceum, can go to work with the perfect certainly that the subject is thoroughly familiar to every one of his audience, from the foremost stall to the hindmost gallery, and that if his jokes fall flat it will not be through the want of necessary knowledge on the part of his hearers. Cheered doubtless by this conviction, he has constructed a very clever “parody,” which, written in blank verse, is more akin to the early burlesques of Mr. W.S. Gilbert than to those of other writers nominally in the same line. Lord Lytton’s whole story is crushed into three short scenes, and the “funny” points which it presents are touched with much humour. One of the clumsiest incidents in the play, it will be remembered, is the despatch, signed by the conspirators, which falls into nearly everybody’s hands, and does not produce the explosion for the sake of which it is devised, till within a few minutes before the fall of the curtain. The position of this unfortunate document is ludicrously exaggerated by Mr. Reece, who allows it to remain on the stage during nearly the whole of the performance, save when it is, accidentally kicked into the prompter’s box, whence it is immediately flung back. The difficulty which occurs in London theatres where English actors are required to speak French is pleasantly indicated by the odd manner in which Richelieu and Huguet pronounce each other’s names, and the pleasantry is brought to its height when the two sing a duet, abounding in distortions of Parisian common-places.
‘Considered merely as a “parody” on a deservedly popular play, Richelieu Redressed is exceedingly droll, but it is not in this character that it will reach the notoriety which it will probably attain, unless it is stopped short in its career by some pressure without. It is the “Knight side” of the piece, rather than the “Frog side,” which evokes the shouts from the audience. All can see that Richelieu, whose apology for a Cardinal’s robe barely conceals the attire of a modern “Right Honourable,” is not meant for Richelieu at all; that the anxiety which he displays as to the result of certain elections has little to do with any conspiracy of the 17th century; and that when, after attempting to lift an unwieldy sword inscribed “public approbation,” he lets it drop, but consoles himself by remarking that he has still a “Birmingham blade which is bright” the last word in this proposition is not to be regarded as an adjective. If any difficulty remains on the subject it is completely removed by the “make-up” of Mr. E. Righton, who never so thoroughly identified himself with a character as he does with this “Right Honourable” Lord Cardinal [This is a reference to the politician John Bright, who in 1873-74 was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster]. The part next in importance is Huguet, represented by Mr. G.W. Anson with that richness of colour which caused this young actor to leap into celebrity when he played the bumpkin in Sour Grapes [Olympic, 4 October 1873]. Louis XIII., who, snubbed on all sides, and even pushed about, perpetually asks himself, without sanguine expectations of an affirmative answer, “Am I King of France?” is humorously conceived by the author and ably represented by Mr. W.H. Fisher. Marion de Lorne, much more conspicuous in the “parody” than in the play, and supposed at the end to marry Huguet, afford a comic part to Miss Stephens. The minor personages are all efficiently sustained, chiefly by smartly-attired young ladies, and the piece is beautifully illustrated by pictures from the pencil of [the scene painter] Mr. Julian Hicks.’ (The Times, London, Wednesday, 29 October 1873, p.8b)


Kate Terry in Bel Demonio, 1863

July 28, 2013

carte de visite photograph of the English actress, Kate Terry (1844-1924), as Lena in Charles Fechter’s production of Bel Demonio (The Broken Vow: a Romance of the Times of Sixtus the Fifth), a drama by John Brougham based on Prosper Goubaux and Gustave Lemoine’s L’Abbaye de Castro, produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 31 October 1863
(photo: Southwell Brothers, London, 1863)

‘The Lyceum will be re-opened by Mr. Fechter for the season on Saturday next, October 31 [1863], [with] a new four-act drama founded on a plot by Paul Feval, and entitled Bel Demonio, a Love Story, being produced on the occasion. An entirely new stage has been laid down, the interior of the Theatre has been re-embellished, nd the principal parts in the play will be sustained by Miss Elsworthy, Miss Kate Terry, Mr. John Brougham, Mr. [Sam] Emery, Mr. George Jordan, Mr. G.F. Neville, and Mr. Fechter.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 25 October 1863, p. 10a)

Lyceum Theatre, London, Saturday, 31 October 1863
‘Mr. Fechter inaugurated his second season on Saturday evening under the most flattering auspices, the house being attended by a numerous and enthusiastic audience… . A new stage, constructed upon a principle which has been found to work well in the Parisian theatres, has been laid down; and, when the audience shall have become accustomed to it, it will doubtless be recognised as an improvement. Without attempting to bore the reader with an infinity of technical details intelligible only to stage-carpenters, it will suffice to state in general terms that the chief objects of the new system are to abolish what are called the ”wings,” to do away with the visible functions of scene shifting, and to substitute a silent and unseen mechanism for many of the operations which have heretofore been executed by manual labour. This reform is but the natural development of that proficiency in the mechanical arts which is characteristic of the age, and the only wonder is that it has not been applied before now to the business of the theatre. In the days of Garrick, the candle-snuffer was an indispensable functionary of the playhouse. His abolition, inevitably consequent upon the introduction of gas, was felt to be a public benefit; and it is not improbable that the disappearance of other officials who were never ornamental, and who cannot now be said to be useful, will be regarded with equal favour. It will no longer be necessary that furniture and the requisite accessories of stage ”interiors” should be carried to and fro by footmen in obsolete liveries, not will the audience be again shocked with visions of stalwart mechanics in their shirt-sleeves pushing mountains with their shoulders, or shooting sections of scenery along wooden groves [sic] till the sundered landscapes are fitted together with a crash for which there is not more warranty in nature than for the severing of the scene. Rocks, grassy mounds, and garden seats will for the future be made to appear and disappear by some more artistic agency than either the corporeal intervention of an awkward servant coming in for the purpose, or the still more clumsy expedient of a rope pulled at the sides. The footlights, instead of being obtruded above the boards, with their unsightly tin-reflectors, are now sunk below the level of the stage, an arrangement which not only softens the tone of the light and prevents the wavering and flickering of shadows upon the faces of the actors, but also tends to the personal safety of the corps de ballet, whose dresses were formerly in continual danger of catching fire… . The piece called Bel Demonio, which was produced on Saturday is not so much a play as a series of splendid tableaux into which the actors are introduced like figures in a classic landscape rather for the purpose of improving the picturesqueness of the scene than for that of illustrating any actual or possible occurrence of real life. The story … is as intricate and bewildering piece of mechanism as ever taxed the ingenuity of novelist or playwright … Miss Kate Terry, as Lena, acted with a grace and tenderness that made the character exceedingly attractive… . The piece was received throughout with vehement acclamations, and the principal performers were summoned before the curtain, not only at the end of each act, but on the conclusion of every tableau – an insane proceeding, which, besides destroying whatever illusion the play might inspire, contributed to protract the performances long beyond midnight.’
(The Morning Post, London, Monday, 2 November 1863, p. 3a/b)


Ethel Negretti

July 2, 2013

Ethel Negretti (1879-1918?), English singer (soprano) and actress
(photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, circa 1902)

Ethel Negretti (Ethel Amelia Rosenstreich) was born in London in 1879, the daughter of Nathaniel Rosenstreich (1841/42-1903), a German-born looking glass and furniture manufacturer, and his first wife, Amelia (née Biddle, 1828-1898). On 28 July 1904 she was married to Albert Pembridge Parker, a sometime manager in the motor trade, at St. George’s, Bloomsbury. They appear to have had no children and may have separated before 1918, the last mention of her in the records. Parker married again in 1926, to Winifred Lilian Edith Grayson and died at the age of 75 in 1949.

Ethel Negretti appears to have begun her theatrical career in the summer of 1898 with Wallace Erskine’s company in a tour of the UK of The Shop Girl, a musical farce which was first produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 24 November 1894; she took the part of Lady Dodo Singleton, originally played by Helen Lee.

She was next seen at the end of October, 1898, in a small part at the Royal Theatre, Jersey, in the comedy The Dove-Cot, starring Seymour Hicks, following its London run at the Duke of York’s Theatre (12 February 1898). Miss Negretti was the Princess Haidée in the pantomime Dick Whittington, at the Grand Theatre, Fulham, at Christmas 1898, in which she was praised for the song ‘Carmencita,’ ‘rendered with such sweetness and verve.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 21 January 1899, p. 12c). She was then seen in tours of the musical farcical comedy The Topsy-Turvey Hotel Co and the musical comedy The French Maid.

On 19 October 1899 appeared as Cyrene in a revival at the Lyceum Theatre, London, of Wilson Barrett’s drama The Sign of the Cross. She was next seen in a tour with G.H. Snazelle in The Prince of Borneo, an opera farce.

Derby, Wednesday, 7 November 1900
‘Though the weather was miserable – rain fell sharply at times and the streets were thick with mud – there was a capital audience at the Temperance Hall on Wednesday evening, on the occasion of Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Merton’s fourth grand banjo and mandolin concert. The programme was a delightful one and the artistes were ladies and gentlemen of acknowledged ability. Mr Clifford Essex and Miss Ethel Negretti achieved considerable success at one of Mr. Merton’s previous concerts, and their second appearance in Derby was naturally looked forward to with much interest and pleasure. Of Mr. Essex and his pierrots it may be said that they have performed, by command, before the Prince and Princess of Wales and other members of the Royal Family on no fewer than five occasions. Then Mr. Olly Oakley there are few more celebrated banjoists and he too was exceedingly well received on a previous visit to the town… . Mr. Clifford Essex and Miss Negretti were heard to particular advantage in ”I love the man in the moon” (which was encored), and Miss Negretti, who has a very sweet, clear voice, sang ”Baby,” (from [Gustave Kerker’s] ”The American Beauty” [sic]), a particularly pretty song, charmingly… .’
(The Derby Mercury, Derby, Wednesday, 14 November 1900, p. 6e)

At Christmas 1900 Miss Negretti was seen in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol. The two leading parts of Dick and Alice were taken by Millie Hylton and her sister, Lydia Flopp; other parts were played by Ernest Shand, Tennyson and O’Gorman and Bessie Featherstone.

In November 1901 Ethel Negretti appeared as one of Clifford Essex’s Pierrots (the others being Clifford Essex, Joe Morley and Wilson James) at the Town Hall, Eastbourne. She remained with Essex until the autumn of 1902 after which she appeared as Ida in the pantomime Mother Goose at Drury Lane Theatre (26 December 1902), with Dan Leno, Herbert Campbell, Madge Lessing, Marie George and others. She was next seen in The School Girl, a musical play which opened at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 9 May 1903; the cast was headed by Edna May and G.P. Huntley. Following a tour in A Country Girl, Miss Negretti appeared again in pantomime at Drury Lane: Humpty Dumpty, produced on 26 December 1903, with Dan Leno, Herbert Campbell, George Bastow, Marie George, Louise Willis and Ruth Lytton.

With further appearances on tour and in pantomime, Ethel Negretti’s career continued until 1914/15, when she appeared as Mme. Alvarez in a tour of the successful Shaftesbury Theatre musical, The Pearl Girl. Her final appearances seem to have been in The Magic Touch, a musical comedy produced at the Palace Theatre, Walthamstow, on 18 January 1915; and in the revue, So Long, Lucy!, which was produced on 27 September 1915 at the Hippodrome, Derby, with Paul Barnes, the American black-face comedian and song-writer, in the lead; other members of the cast were Clay Smith (husband of Lee White, the American revue star), Phyllis Barnes and Phil Lester.


Jean Allistone

May 24, 2013

Jean Allistone (1897-1958), English actress, singer and entertainer, as she appeared as Gertie Le Roy, a revue artist, in the revue, Oh! La! La!, produced at the Queen’s Theatre, London, on 27 December 1915
(photo: Wrather & Buys, London, 1915/16)

Jean Allistone, who became Mrs Tommy Handley, was first noticed in Oh! La! La!, a review starring and partly written by Jack Norworth, which was produced at the Queen’s, London, on 27 December 1915. Other members of the cast included Ernie Lotinga, Laura Guerite and Hettie King. The piece was not an unqualified success and closed after 58 performances.
Besides United Kingdom provincial tours, Miss Allistone went on to appear in Jingle Bells, a modest musical burlesque with Edward Rigby and Harry Welchman, produced at the London Opera House on 8 May 1916, for a run of 12 performances. She was later seen in the revue, The Show’s the Thing, which began at the Victoria Palace, London, and then ran successfully at the Lyceum, London, from 19 August 1929, then transferring to the Winter Garden, London. The cast included Archie Pitt, who wrote the book, and his wife, Gracie Fields.
Meanwhile, Jean Allistone was rather better known for her work on radio for the BBC with her husband. She made several recordings including a sketch with Handley entitled ‘Have You Seen My Chickens.’