Posts Tagged ‘Oxford Music Hall (London)’


Johnny Glass

June 22, 2013

Johnny Glass (fl. early 20th Century), American vaudeville comedian
(photo: F. Barrington Wright, Southend on Sea, England, probably 1915)

Johnny Glass appears to have arrived in the United Kingdom in early 1915 to fulfil an engagement in the tour of the second edition of the revue, Full Inside. This ‘a merry, musical dream,’ written by Charles Willmott and Ernest C. Rolls, with music by Herman Darewski, was originally produced at the Oxford music hall, London, on 29 December 1913. Glass, who was described at the time as ‘an amusing negro comedian,’ replaced Harry Brown, another American coloured comedian, who had introduced into the revue his song, ‘Every bit of Love I had for You is Gone.’

Various changes of cast in Full Inside, including Stanley Brett, Ennis Parkes and Jenny Benson, occurred during the tour, which came to an end in the summer of 1915. After that Glass was featued at a number of music halls; at the Alhambra, Glasgow, beginning Monday, 15 November 1915, he was ‘excellent in quips and jests.’ (The Stage, London, Thursday, 18 November 1915, p. 22e). He seems to have returned to the United States in 1916.

* * * * *

‘Johnny Glass writes from London that good colored acts are in demand in England, despite the war, and that colored turns should take advantage of the opportunity and make their way to London.’
(The New York Age, New York, Thursday, 21 October 1915, p. 6b)


Arthur Forrest

April 30, 2013

Arthur Forrest (1850-1908), English music hall comedian and pantomime dame, in character on a song sheet cover for the song ‘I Couldn’t Say No; or, The Beautiful Song and Dance Lady,’ written and composed by Charles Williams
(published by V. & A. Dobrowolski, London; lithography by Concanen & Spalding, London, 1889)

Oxford music hall, London, week beginning Monday, I March 1886
‘Mr Arthur Forrest notions of humour are not in accord with those of Oxford frequenters, who could not, or would not, see the point of his songs, though applauding some slight eccentricities in a step dance.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 March 1886, p. 10a)
Royal Clarence Theatre, Dover, week beginning Monday, 20 September 1886
‘Mr Arthur Forrest has a melodious voice and dramatic ability.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 25 September 1885, p. 16a)<br.
Deacon’s music hall, London, week beginning, Monday, 27 June 1887
‘Mr Arthur Forrest was very successful in entertaining his audience in song and dance, more especially the latter, which was eccentric to a degree and laughable. ”The girl I saw in my dreams,” one of his selections, has a good tune, and tells a fairly amusing story, but Mr. Forrest should immediately avoid the trick of shutting his eyes when singing. It is absurd, and spoils his otherwise comic efforts.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 2 July 1887, p. 17a)

The Trocadero, London, week beginning Monday, 24 June 1889
‘Mr Arthur Forrest’s song and dance lady roused the somewhat languid spectators to laughter by its excellent parody of the school of dancing in which white lace petticoats are duly displayed. Who has not seen the merry little nymph, exhibiting clouds of lace, kick up her heels, and bring the more susceptible of her audience under the spell of her fascinations. Mr Forrest has taken this school of lady dancers and burlesqued it. As he is a capital exponent of the saltatory art, he has no difficulty in executing the steps, and the well-known tricks with the petticoats affected by his professional sisters he hits off funnily and without offence.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 29 June 1889, p. 15b)

‘Mr Arthur Forrest has christened his beautiful song and dance lady Princess Prettypet, and she comes forward to receive a bouquet provided by herself from the hands of the conductor. She presses this to her lips, and then the fun begins. The bouquet is flowerless but full of flour, and finally blossoms into the portrait of an infant in long clothes.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 21 September 1889, p. 15c)


Starr and Lylia

March 16, 2013

Mons. Star and Mdlle. Lylia (fl. 1889-1892), balancing and silver wire trapeze artists, at the Oxford music hall, London, October and November 1890, after an original drawing by Leonard Raven-Hill, 1890
(from Pick-Me-Up, London, Saturday, 29 November 1890, p. 135)

‘Mademoiselle Lylia is a muscular young lady, who makes pretty patterns of herself on the trapeze at the top of a long pole, which is balanced by Mons. Star as easily as some of you would balance a cash-book. Mademoiselle would be a healthy surprise for any of the season’s burglars who might happen to get into her back garden. She turns about in graceful circles, and hangs down from the trapeze by her feet, and sometimes by a little lump at the back of her head. During her most perilous feats the people in the audience held their breath – and in some cases I should say they had a pretty hard tussle to do it.’
(Pick-Me-Up, London, Saturday, 29 November 1890, p. 134b)


Daisy Dormer, English music hall comedienne, circa 1925

December 27, 2012

Daisy Dormer (1883-1947), English music hall comedienne (photo: Navana, London, mid 1920s)

This halftone cigarette card of Daisy Dormer was published in England during the mid 1920s by R. & J. Hill Ltd as no.29 in its ‘Music Hall Celebrities Past & Present,’ first series. The legend on the reverse reads,

‘Miss DAISY DORMER started her stage career at the age of six years at Portsmouth, where she appeared as a Dancer. She afterwards came to London and appeared at the Tivoli and Oxford Music Halls, singing that famous song, “The Little Wooden Hut” [i.e. ‘I Wouldn’t Leave My Little Wooden Hut for You’] ‘which she, incidentally, purchased from the composer for the sum of £2 2s. Another of her outstanding successes was that War-time song, “My Home in Tennessee,” ‘which she sang as a pathetic crying song. This re-established her in the West End. She was a very popular figure in Drury Lane Pantomimes [sic], and her best songs include :- “The Girl in the Clogs and Shawl.” [and] “Good Night, Mr. Brown, I’m Out.”’

The Drury Lane pantomime (sic) referred to was Hop o’ My Thumb (26 December 1911) in which Daisy Dormer played Zaza, Queen of Mnemonica. She appeared in a number of other, provincial pantomimes and other songs in her repertoire included ‘I’m Going, I’m Going, I’m Gone’, ‘I Want a Girl’, ‘Mister Johnson’, ‘I Do Like You, Susie’ and ‘I Wish I Lived Next Door to You’.