Posts Tagged ‘Opera Comique (London)’

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programme cover for the burlesque, Joan of Arc, Opera Comique, London, 1891

May 8, 2014

cover of one of the programmes printed for the burlesque, Joan of Arc, which ran at the Opera Comique, London, from 17 January until 17 July 1891, after which it was toured in the United Kingdom. A second edition of the piece then opened at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 30 September 1891 before being transferred to the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 22 December 1891, where it finally closed on 15 January 1892.
(lithograph by Holdsworths for The Edwardes Menu Co Ltd; printed for the Edwardes Menu Co Ltd, 6 Adam Street, Adelphi, London, by G. Harmsworth & Co, Hart Street, Covent Garden, London, WC, 1891)

‘Redecorated in a warm and rich style, and much improved from the point of view of the comfort, convenience, and safety of visitors, the Opera Comique reopened its doors on Saturday evening to receive a crowded audience, manifestly rejoicing in the addition of a second burlesque house to the list of London theatres. The Opera Comique, however, is now something more than this; it is a burlesque house under the direction of a manager who comes with the prestige of the immense popularity of the Gaiety. That Mr. George Edwardes was attending to his new charge in his own person was shown by the promptitude with which he appeared before the curtain to repress a rather noisy demonstration in the gallery just before the commencement of Messrs. [J.L.] Shine, [Adrian] Ross, and Osmond Carr’s new operatic burlesque of Joan of Arc. ”Is there anything you want?” inquired Mr. Edwardes, and the same question had been puzzling the quieter portion of the audience unable to distinguish words amidst the confused babel of sounds. Could it be that there were purists in the gallery who objected to the perversion of a noble historical episode? The management appeared to have had some misgivings on that score; for by way of preface to the book some one had contributed an apology in the form of a very gracefully-turned and really poetical sonnet, which out to have appeased the ire of any Frenchmen present. As it was rumoured, however, the trouble was nothing but a rather scant supply of programmes. It would have been well if the louder demonstration towards the close of the performance had been on no more substantial ground; but the truth is that, in spite of public explanations and anticipatory disclaimers, there was a considerable part of the audience who took offence at Mr. Arthur Roberts’s strike solo and still more at the alternate choruses of railway guards, policemen, postmen, messengers, dockers, and colliers. On the whole, however, Joan of Arc was indulgently received in spite of the fact that the humours of the first act were rather forced and the whole piece something wanting in the prettiness and quaint drollery to which the frequenters of the Gaiety have been accustomed. The most amusing thing was the duet ”Round the Town” between Mr. Roberts and Mr. Charles Danby, attired as two costermongers who are supposed to have arrived with a huge barrow of provisions for the relief of the besieged city of Orleans. Miss Emma Chambers, who has returned to our stage after a long absence, sings, dances, and utters her lines with unabated sprightliness, but does not do much to identify herself with the Maid of Orleans beyond donning brilliant armour, waving the Royal Standard of France, and finally turning up in the market place at Rouen, there to be unhistorically rescued from the stake. Mr. [J.L.] Shine, as King Charles VII., laboured under the disadvantage of a hoarseness which finally rendered him almost inaudible. The humour of Miss Alma Stanley’s Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury appeared to be chiefly in embroidering her costumes with the initials with which certain cabs have rendered the eyes of Londoners familiar. Miss Phyllis Broughton brought to the performance her graceful talents as a dancer; as did a new and valuable recruit to the burlesque stage in the person of Miss Katie Seymour, while Miss Grace Pedley’s agreeable presence and well-trained voice served her well in the part of the Queen of France. Provided with brilliant costumes, picturesque scenery, and very tuneful music, Joan of Arc is probably destined to enjoy some measure of success.’
(The Daily News, London, Monday, 19 January 1891, p. 3c)

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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)

A MODEL TRILBY, AT THE OPERA COMIQUE.
‘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)

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Emily Levettez

May 22, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Emily Levettez (fl. 1866-1911), actress and dancer, as Prince Can-Can in the pantomime Beauty and the Beast, Royal Theatre, Greenwich, Christmas 1871
(photo: James Clark, Dover, Kent, England, probably 1871)

Emily Levettez, who had a long and varied career, has been noted as appearing in a number of plays, including Streets of London; or, The Real Poor of the World on a tour of the United Kingdom in 1882. She also appeared as the Duchesse de Vervier in J.T. Tanner and Herbert Keen’s The Broken Melody for a single matinee performance at the Opera Comique, London, on 25 October 1894; this production, with Auguste van Biene in the leading role, was toured by him for several thousand performances. In 1902-1903 Miss Levettez was with Nellie Stewart, Harcourt Beatty, Albert Grau and others in Musgrove’s English Comedy Co in a tour of Australasia. Miss Levettez later played the part of Lady Skettles in the stage adaptation of Dickens’s Dombey and Son produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, on 14 June 1911.

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The Cabinet Theatre, King’s Cross, London, Thursday, 16 August 1866
‘Mr. A. Lauraine, a well-known Harlequin, an expressive pantomimist, and a graceful dancer, in conjunction with his pupils, Les Petits Levettez, took a benefit here on Thursday night. The entertainments were miscellaneous, and the audience anything but polite… . the real point of interest was a new comic ballet, ”invented by the Costermonger,” and called The Miser. It introduced Master L. Levettez and Miss E. Levettez, who, considering they were on the stage for the first time (we believe), may be said to promise well for the future. The lady, especially, is still very young. The action of the ballet is clear and understandable. Mr. Lauraine plays the Miser, and the Levettez children personate two beggars who come to the miser’s cottage for relief. Finding themselves repulsed they concert a plan of proceeding, and persecute their unfortunate opponents [sic] with great pertinacy. Greengriff bewitches a table so that it opens and lets the bags of money on to the floor. He substitutes blacking for brandy, and thus furnishes Mr. Lauraine with a pretext to introduce a dance expressive of violent internal pains. When east expected Greengriff appears and chastises the parsimonious individual that a bladder and stick as usual. Greengriff is invulnerable, and is vainly shot at by the Miser. A cat is substituted for a shank bone, which the victim intends for his dinner, and he is at length worried into repentance. He meets with forgiveness, and before the curtain falls, Master Levettez dances a hornpipe, Miss Levettez follows with a skipping-rope dance, and Mr. A. Lauraine goes through some of those evolutions peculiar to male professors of the Terpsichorean art. The adult and the juveniles were all enthusiastically called for… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 19 August 1866, p. 11d)

According to the 1872 edition of The Era Almanack (p. 32), Emily Levettez’s first official London appearance was as the Duke of York in Richard III, at Sadler’s Wells on 12 November 1867.

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Billie Barlow

April 23, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Billie Barlow (1865-1937), English burlesque actress and singer, as Mercury in the burlesque Orpheus and Eurydice on tour in the United States, 1884/1885
(photo: Falk, New York, probably 1884)

‘The Event of the Season.
‘The Bijou Opera Company will appear at Nevada Theater on Saturday evening in the brilliant operatic burlesque entitled Orpheus and Eurydice. This Opera is full of pith and scintillates with bright music and amusing situations. They music in the present production is bright, the orchestration competent and the costumes superb. The cast includes many popular favorites and some new people who will be strong cards. Mr. Digby Bell as Jupiter, and Mr. Harry Pepper as Orpheus, do all that can be done in the vocalism and the lines. Mr. George C. Boniface, Jr., as Styx, the melancholy porter of Pluto, sings ”The Monarch of Arcadia” with becoming solemnity, and Marie Vanoni does the opera bouffe business of Eurydice with chic enough to make it tell. Miss Billie Barlow, as swift-footed Mercury, recalls the pleasant impression she made in Billie Taylor and other pieces. Miss Amelia Somerville gives an enlarged living picture of an ideal Juno, and Laura Joyce Bell is resplendent in lavender silk, satin stars as Diana. The best work of the evening is accomplished by Miss Ida Mulle as Cupid. She is like a bisque figure of the German-doll type, and as dainty a Cupid as St. Valentine, instead of Jupiter, might have chosen as an emissary, and the applause she gains is accorded without hesitation, and the little lady at once becomes a favorite. The presence of any number of ethereally dressed beauties in Jupiter’s Court will carry the opera to the satisfaction of the management and please the jeunesse doree, who delight in the frolic of the can-can, well danced, under the changing lights in a comfortable and pretty theater.’
(Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, Nevada, Thursday, 14 August 1884, p. 3c)

‘BILLIE BARLOW’S SALARY.
‘Billie Barlow, the dapper Mercury of Orpheus and Eruydice, in the jaunty hat and superbly fitting cloth suit, ascended the witness stand before Judge Browne in the City Court yesterday, and, under the pilotage of Mr. A.H. Hummel, swore that while she was playing at the Bijou Opera House in 1884 it was proposed by Miles and Barton that she should travel with the company. She refused unless an increase of salary from $30 to $50 during the tour was given her. She was paid $50 for her Baltimore engagement, but the defendants declined to give the increase during the period of the performances at Niblo’s Garden, Williamsburg, and the People’s Theatre. Gen. Barton denied the promise of the increase and showed Miss Barlow’s written receipts in full for her salary up to the time she left them. The jury, after fine minutes’ deliberation, returned a verdict for the full amount claimed and costs.’
(The New York Times, New York, Wednesday, 20 March 1886, p. 3)

‘MISS BILLIE BARLOW.
‘This charming burlesque actress who has achieved such a conspicuous success as the principal boy in the pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, is not, as may be generally supposed, an American. Her stage appellative was given in America, and given under the following circumstances. Miss Minnie Barlow – her real name – was a member of a comic opera company travelling from Liverpool to New York. During the voyage a member of the same company jokingly called her ”Billie Barlow” after the old song with that title, and on arriving in New York Miss Barlow found herself announced with ”Billie” for a christian name. There was novelty in it, the name stuck, and Miss Barlow has been known by it ever since. Miss Minnie Barlow, however, is a Londoner. She was born in the Metropolis on July 18th, 1865. Her first appearance on the stage was in H.M.S. Pinafore at the Opera Comique, London, June 34d, 1879. In the following autumn Mr. D’Oyley Carte [sic] organised a company for an American tour. Miss Barlow was a member of this combination, and on Dec. 8 she sang in Pinafore at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York. On Dec. 31st she appeared in The Pirates of Penzance at the same theatre, and after going on a tour through the principal American cities, we find her in the autumn of 1881 playing in Patience at the Savoy Theatre, London. After remaining there for a year Miss Barlow made her second professional trip across the Atlantic, again with D’Oyley Carte’s company, which opened the season at the Standard Theatre, New York, Sept. 26th, 1882. Miss Barlow appeared successively in Les Manteaux Noirs, Rip Van Winkle, and Iolanthe, under D’Oyley Carte’s management, and then joined E.E. Rice and appeared at the Bijou Opera House as Mercury in Orpheus and Eurydice, and made a great hit. Subsequently Miss Barlow appeared in Falka and The Little Duke, in which she was last seen before her return to England. Her next appearance was in London as a member of the Dixey Burlesque Company at the Gaiety Theatre, when she played Artea in Adonis. When Dixey returned to the Stages Miss Barlow remained at the Gaiety, under the management of Mr George Edwardes, and before long she was playing Fernand in Monte Cristo, jun. During the temporary absence of Miss Nelly Farren from the role of Edmond Dantes, Miss Barlow took up the part at five minutes’ notice, and scored an unqualified success. The charming freshness of her style was quite a novelty to audiences saturated with the conventional. Managers on the look out for attractions for their pantomimes soon had their optics focussed on the new burlesque star, and the competition for her services ended in Messrs Howard and Wyndham securing the prize. Of Miss Barlow’s merits in The Babes in the Wood it is like gilding refined gold to say anything now. The grace and sprightliness of her acting, the conscientious desire she has to please, her sweet, well trained voice, charming face and figure, and above all her modest and becoming demeanour, make her performance of Walter stand out as a revelation in the method of playing burlesque boys.’
(The Newcastle Weekly Courant, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Friday, 10 February 1888, p. 5f)

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Lena Merville

March 8, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Lena Merville (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
English born American actress and singer, in an unidentified role
(photo: Max Platz, Chicago, circa 1890)

Vulcan; or, the Hammer-ous Blacksmith, Opera Comique, London, Saturday, 18 March 1882 ‘Vulcan, the burlesque by Messrs. Edward Rose and Augustus Harris, is a version of the same author’s [sic] Venus, which was brought out at the Royalty Theatre on July 14, 1879… .
‘[Among the cast, which also included Robert Brough, Nellie Claremont, Kate Lovell, George Temple, Annie Robe, Lottie Harcourt and Julia Vokins,] Miss Lena Merville throws much life and spirit into her playing of Cupid, though she is too self-possessed, and plays at the audience in a most objectionable manner – a rapidly-growing fault amongst burlesque actresses, and one which should be discouraged… .’
(The Stage, London, Friday, 24 March 1882, p. 9a/b)

‘French farces on the order of [Georges Feydeau’s] The Girl from Maxim’s do not often visit Richmond. The Turtle and Self and Lady have been here, but that is about all in recent years. A fairly large audience went to the Academy last night to laugh, and they laughed heartily. Perhaps some went to be shocked, but they were probably disappointed. True, there are some things in the piece that are risque, but the play does not make them unduly obtrusive. The Praline, Lena Merville, is supposed to be the center of attraction, but somehow others won more favor. She worked hard, and really played the part well, although her singing was only ordinary. The character work of Joseph Allen, as Gen. Petypont, was excellent. So was that of John H. Armstrong, as Le Due, and Florence Gerald, as Mme. Petypont. W.H. Turner was also successful as Dr. Petypont. The company was a large one, and only a few were really weak.’
(The Times, Richmond, Virginia, Friday, 25 October 1901, p. 3f)

Lena Merville was among the mourners at the funeral of Alice Atherton (Mrs Willie Edouin), which took place at the Little Church Around the Corner, New York, on 7 February 1899.

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Lila Clay and her Musical and Dramatic Company of Ladies

February 17, 2013

cover of the programme for the appearance of
Lila Clay and her Musical and Dramatic Company of Ladies,
including Emma D’Auban, Lizzie Comyns, Alice Aynsley Cook,
Little Birdie Brightling (the Banjo Queen), Cora Cardigan and others,
Opera Comique Theatre, London, first night, Monday, 9 October 1882
(printed by R. Wilson & Co, Dorset Buildings, Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London, EC, 1882)

‘The Lord Chamberlain tells the proprietors of some of the minor theatre that they must keep their programmes tolerably free of the music-hall staple, but he tolerates the experiment of Miss Lila Clay, which, with all its virtues, is eminently music-hally.
‘Miss Lila Clay is what would be called a very interesting-looking young lady, and as she pressed the forte pedal with that dainty little foot on Monday [9 October 1882], one would hardly wonder that Brinsmead’s “grand” got more demonstrative. There are several very charming countenances to be seen in this troupe.
‘Not the least amusing part of the performances on Monday was to see Miss Clara Douglas go on with her singing while a couple of her fair colleagues were repairing the damage done by an unfortunate lace, which, in the elegant language of the late Mr. Buckstone, had “busted”.’
(The Entr’acte, London, Saturday, 14 October 1882, p.4b)

‘THE OPERA COMIQUE.
‘The experiment made by Miss Lila Clay and her troupe of performers on Monday may be said, perhaps, to be more odd than satisfying. It is an every-day matter to see members of the stronger sex doing duty in the orchestra, but it is an uncommon event to find daintily-dressed young ladies tootling flutes and scraping away at double-bases. It seems a pity that the more blatant instruments of the ordinary orchestra have not a place here, for though the lady who manipulates the contra-basso, displaying a fine, bare arm as she contrives her vigorous bowing, is attractive as a spectacle, she would be sill more effective if, with distended cheeks, she had to wrestle with the trombone or euphonium. The orchestra is destitute of brass; and this, for more than one reason, is to be deplored. Miss Lila Clay, the young lady who controls this enterprise, is a pianiste of good parts, and though on Monday she did not choose to interpret the work of any great master, she chose a trifle which, perhaps, better suited a miscellaneous audience, and treated it in such a manner as must have convinced her hearers that she is possessed of considerable executive skill.
‘The first portion of the programme, entitled Something New, consists of those items which are generally employed in making up the first part of a minstrel entertainment. The opening chorus, given by the whole strength of the company, was followed by “La Serenata,” sung by Miss Ada West. Not the least satisfactory feature of this contribution was the obbligato for violoncello, most ably and tastefully played by Miss A. Porter. Miss Fanny Howell sang “The Funny Little Woman.” This lady is the “bones” of the company, and it may be said that she is more of a humourist than a vocalist. The flute solo, which came next, and for which Miss Cora Cardigan made herself responsible, was one of the greatest, if not the chief, success of the opening section of the entertainment. This was a thoroughly legitimate performance, and the spontaneous manner in which the audience cheered and encored it testified to its effectiveness. Miss Emma D’Auban’s comic song, “Isn’t he good looking?” was given with excellent point. Miss D’Auban is one of the two “corner” ladies of the troupe, and the arch humour she infused into her performances helped to proclaim her fitness for the situation. Miss Edith Vane gave “Little birds are sleeping” so satisfactorily as to gain the distinction of an encore, and the same compliment was awarded to Miss Clara Douglas for a rendering of “There’s lots of fun in London.” But for legitimate singing, there was nothing that could compare with that of Miss Alice Aynsley Cook. This lady sang a very pretty and original type of song called “Dreaming,” and by her interpretation proved that she rejoices in not only an excellent voice and educated method, but that she is in possession of something beyond all that culture can bring. Miss Cook evidently feels all she sings, and her earnestness is communicated to her audience with unerring celerity.

Emma D'Auban
caricature by Alfred Bryan of Emma D’Auban (née Warde, 1842-1910; married John D’Auban, 1871),
English dancer and singer
(The Entr’acte, London, Saturday, 25 November 1882, p.9)

‘After the first portion of the programme had been brought to a close by a chorus in which the strength of the entire company was asserted, Miss Rose Arnoldi sung and danced, Miss Pauline Feathersby rendered a not particularly original ballad, supported by harp accompaniment, and Miss Katie Logan sung a topical song, written by Mr. John Dallas. Then followed an “American Boot Dance,” in which the performers, in black knee-breeches and white stockings, danced and posed effectively, after the manner which has been employed in several of the ballets designed by Mr. John D’Auban at one establishment and another. In this, [his daughter] Miss Emma D’Auban took the principal part.
‘The only dramatic feature of the entertainment – and he would be a bold man who would construe this as a stage play – was to be found in a bagatelle, entitled, On Condition, which serves the purpose of fitting some of the members of the company with parts which are supposed to suit their capabilities. Paul d’Esparre, a wealthy harlequin, is supposed to be dead, and an aunt and a male and female cousin believe that his property comes to them. Paul is not dead, however, but with the object of being revenged for the insults they have heaped on his sister for following the acting profession, he disguises himself, and professes to be a friend of the supposed dead man. He is in possession of a last will and testament, and the document demands all legatees to appear at a certain time and place, attired in a Pierrot costume, failing which their claims will be ignored. This is the “condition” which is suggested by the title, and when it has been fulfilled and the three interested persons, who have a horror of everything appertaining to the mountebank calling, appear in this garb, they discover that it has all been a practical joke devised by Paul, who is by no means dead, but who has served them this cruel trick in return for the contemptuous treatment they have warded his sister because she is an actress. The music wedded to this text is by Mr. Meyer Lutz, and is pretty, but the piece itself, wh9ich has evidently been written to order, does not possess sufficient body to interest a London audience. One or two of the ladies employed in this are somewhat too pronounced in the attitudes they strike; their poses being redolent of anything but refinement. Miss Alice Cook again in this asserts herself, not only as a most capable vocalist, but as an actress of talent; while Miss Emma D’Aubin relieves the general despondency by a brilliantly-executed hornpipe.
‘Miss Lila Clay can easily alter the programme, and no doubt she will soon see the necessity of doing this. At times on Monday evening Alice Aynsley Cook such as when Miss Cook sang, Miss Cardigan played, and Miss D’Auban danced – the audience were quite enthusiastic. Miss Clay is too observant not to have noticed these outward and visible signs, and we doubt not that her future programmes will be influenced by such manifestations.’
(The Entr’acte, London, Saturday, 14 October 1882, p.6a/b)