Posts Tagged ‘Palladium (London)’

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Doris Ashton

May 20, 2013

Doris Ashton (fl. 1919-1938), English popular singer, variety theatre entertainer and pantomime principal boy
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1919)

Doris Ashton appears to have had some success as a popular singer in the United Kingdom during the 1920s and ’30s. She began her career in 1919 and that year and the following she was at the London Coliseum. In 1920 she made a handful of recordings in London for the Regal label. She next appeared in Pot Luck!, described as a ‘Cabaret Show,’ which opened for a successful run at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 24 December 1921. The cast also included Jack Hulbert, Beatrice Lillie, Mary Leigh, Margaret Bannerman, Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, and Maidie Scott. ‘Miss Doris Ashton has a good voice, which she has no need to force.’ (The Daily Mirror, London, Tuesday, 27 December 1921, p. 12a)

During 1926 and again in the 1930s, Doris Ashton made a number of broadcasts for the BBC. In the late 1920s she also appeared with the entertainer Billy Rawson. They were at the London Palladium together in 1928, the year in which they made an 8 minute synchronized sound film in London for the De Forest Phonofilm company, which was released in May that year. In January 1929 the couple appeared in the pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat, at the Metropole Theatre, Glasgow. This was followed in March by a personal appearance on stage at the Astoria cinema in London.

Doris Ashton’s other pantomime parts included as the Princess Guenevere in the Brixton Theatre, London, pantomime of 1927/28, St. George and the Dragon. At Christmas 1931 she was principal boy at the Brixton Theatre’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. ‘Miss Doris Ashton is a principal boy good enough in diction, presence, and voice for Drury Lane – or should it be in these days be the Lyceum?’ (The Times, London, 28 December 1931, p. 8b) (The last Drury Lane pantomime was The Sleeping Beauty at Christmas 1929). Miss Ashton returned to the Brixton Theatre for the Christmas pantomimes of 1936 and 1937, respectively Babes in the Wood, when she appeared as Robin Hood, and The Sleeping Beauty, when she appeared as the principal boy.