Posts Tagged ‘Lyceum Theatre (London)’

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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‘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)

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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)

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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)