Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Theatre (London)’


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)


George Vincent in Tom Taylor’s drama, The Ticket-of-Leave Man, Olympic Theatre, London, 1863

November 22, 2013

George Vincent (died 1876), English actor, as Melter Moss in the first production of Tom Taylor’s drama, The Ticket-of-Leave Man at the Olympic Theatre, London, 27 May 1863.
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1863-1866)

‘Death of Mr G. Vincent.
‘We have regretfully to record the death, on Monday night [24 January 1876], of Mr George Vincent, the well-known actor, so long identified by playgoers with the representation of Melter Moss, in the drama of The Ticket-of-Leave Man, produced at the Olympic Theatre, in May, 1863. After running the usual course of Provincial probation Mr G. Vincent appeared at the Surrey and other Theatres, and made his first entry on the Olympic stage under the management of Messrs. Robson and Emden, in October, 1862, when he performed the part of Sir Arthur Lassell, in All That Glitters is Not Gold. For some time Mr Vincent was in failing health, and his last engagement was at the Holborn Theatre, under Mr Horace Wigan’s management, which terminated only a few weeks ago.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 30 January 1876, p. 10d)


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)


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)


Kate Terry

March 20, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Kate Terry as the Countess de Mauléon and Henry Neville as the serf, in Tom Taylor’s drama The Serf; or, Love Levels All, Olympic Theatre, London, 30 June 1865
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1865)

‘Miss Kate Terry, with that bright intelligence which illumines every character she undertakes, played the proud but devotedly-loving countess, and exhibited a grace of expression and an intensity of feeling which deservedly elicited the warmest recognitions of a thoroughly sympathetic audience.’
(Daily Telegraph, London, 3 July 1865)


Lillian Seccombe

March 10, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Lillian Seccombe (fl. late 19th Century), English actress
(photo: Henry Van der Weyde, London, probably late 1880s)

Lillian (or Lilian) Seccombe, whose career has yet to be researched, was on tour in the UK before appearing in Australia and New Zealand in the late 1880s and 1890. In 1891 she was in London at the Olympic Theatre, where she played Callirhoe in Theodora (1 August) and as Angelique de Varennes in A Royal Divorce (10 September).


Patti Josephs

December 28, 2012

a carte de visite photograph of Patti Josephs (1849?-1876), English actress (photo: Bassano, London, late 1860s)

‘MR CHARLES DICKENS is now well enough to take an active interest in the preparation of David Copperfield at the Olympic Theatre. The piece in its embryo state is exciting unusual interest. Mr [Sam] Emery has been engaged for the character of Peggotty, and Miss Patti Josephs for that of Emily. Mr Dickens is attending the rehearsals of David Copperfield, and Mr Halliday’s adaptation of the story will be produced with the full sanction and active co-operation of the author.’ (The Edinburgh Evening Courant, Edinburgh, Monday, 27 September 1869, p. 8f). Halliday’s adaptation of David Copperfield, entitled Little Em’ly, was produced at the Olympic, London, on 9 October 1869.

‘Miss Patti Josephs, a sister of Fanny Josephs, recently committed suicide by throwing herself from a window. She had been an inmate of the Philadelphia hospital. She was, some years back, at the Olympic and other London theatres, and in America married a Mr. Fitzpatrick.’ (Reynolds’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 29 October 1876, p. 8b)

‘Death of Miss Patti Josephs.
‘London playgoers will deeply regret to hear of the death of this young and charming actress, who expired at Philadelphia on the 5th of October [1876], under circumstances of an exceedingly painful kind, which will be found detailed below by an American correspondent. Readily may be recalled a bright series of impersonations embodied during the last dozen years at the St. James’s, Olympic, Adelphi, and other Theatres. More especially will Miss Eliza Stuart Patti Josephs be remembered as the representative of Cupid in
Cupid and Psyche at the Olympic, and afterwards at the same Theatre in Mr Halliday’s drama Little Em’ly, where she played Little Em’ly with a prettiness and pathos which won the warmest sympathy of the audience. After this most successful performance Miss Patti Josephs left these shores to fulfil an engagement in America, where she married Mr John Fitzpatrick, an actor well known in this country and much esteemed by all who enjoyed his friendship in America. Scarcely twenty-seven when she died, the young actress has prematurely closed a career which promised brilliant results.
‘Miss Patti Josephs had been confined to her residence for the past eight months with a complication of diseases, and on the evening of the 4th inst. she fell out of the third-story window of the building where she resided, at Eleventh and Locust-streets, Philadelphia, and, striking her head, sustained such severe injuries that she died shortly after being conveyed to the Pennsylvania Hospital. It is believed that, while temporarily insane from pain, she leaned out of the window, and,losing her balance, met with the sad accident that resulted in her death. She came of an old theatrical family, her father, the late Mr W.H. Josephs, having been a Manager of several Theatres in London and the Provinces, while her grandfather had managed a theatrical circuit in England. She was a sister of Mr Harry Josephs, the well-known comedian, and of the late Mr John H. Selwyn. Her sister Fanny is also an actress. Another one of her brothers is a well-known minister in Boston – the Rev. G.C. Lorimer of the Union Temple Church, in that city. Miss Patti Josephs made her first appearance in America at the Chestnut-street Theatre, Philadelphia, on the 14th of October, 1872, in Bronson Howard’s comedy of
Diamonds, and became a member of the stock company at that Theatre. Miss Josephs next played at Fox’s American Theatre, Philadelphia, with Colville’s burlesque troupe, which included Harry Beckett, Willie Edouin, and Eliza Weathersby, and which opened there May 19th, 1873. In December, 1874, Miss Josephs and her husband became members of the stock company at Fox’s American Theatre, where they have remained ever since. She last appeared at Fox’s in The Hidden Hand, about the 21st of February, 1876. The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon, October 8th, and the body was interred at Mount Moriah Cemetery, a large number of members of the dramatic profession attending the funeral.’ (The Era, London, Sunday, 29 October 1876, p. 13c)