Posts Tagged ‘pantomime’


Vera Dalvo as the boy babe in the pantomime, Babes in the Wood, Court Theatre, Brighton, Sussex, 1907.

December 10, 2015

Vera Dalvo (active 1907/08), as Reggie, the boy babe in the pantomime, Babes in the Wood, which was produced at the Court Theatre (formerly the Coliseum music hall), New Road, Brighton, Sussex, on 26 December 1907.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1907; postcard issued by the Rotary Photographic Co. Ltd. in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 4908A)

Other members of the cast included Nora H. Brocklebank (who during 1906 had appeared in a revival of The Geisha at Daly’s, London) as Maid Marian, Hettie Chattell as Robin Hood and Rita Everard as Little John.

‘The Babes, Reggie and Cicely, had sweetly engaging representatives in Miss Vera Dalvo and Miss Beatrice Hewitt respectively, who spoke their lines with clearness and admirable point for such youthful performers. Their coon duet was daintily sung, and Miss Hewitt scored a great success with her droll rendering of the song description of the bad boy who stole the sour apples.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 4 January 1908, p. 12c)


William Gardiner, English comedian, in a pantomime role, circa 1890

January 1, 2015

William Gardiner (active circa 1880-1893), English actor and comedian, probably in the part of Scorchina in the pantomime, The Bold Bad Baron, which was produced at the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton, London, on 26 December 1889
(photo: unknown, probably London, circa 1889/90)

‘… Scorchina was well played by Mr William Gardiner, and although the young lady had to appear and take part in more than one ”rough and tumble,” nothing verging on vulgarity could be laid to Mr Gardiner’s charge, and this more than anything will show the care which he took of the part entrusted to him… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 December 1889, p. 8e)

‘… Mr. William Gardiner, as the saucy girl Scorchina, deserves credit for his efforts to amuse… .’
(Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, London, Sunday, 29 December 1889, p. 4b)

‘… Dicky Darkdeeds is represented by Mr William Crackles, who is what a pantomime actor should be, full of resource and droll business. This gentleman’s dancing is remarkable for its grace, energy, and vigour. As a policeman his comicalities in the trial scene with a dummy jury proved excessively funny. His burlesque of a sand dance and his topical and comical statue scene are shared by Mr William Gardiner, a member of the regular dramatic company, who as Scorchina manages to be funny in petticoats without being vulgar, a consummation often devoutly wished for but not always secured. Mr Gardiner and Mr Crackles work well into each other’s hands, and the best testimonial of their united efforts to amuse is the laughter that resounds at the battle of words that is continually in progress between Dicky Darkdeeds and the fair Scorchina. She is a young lady who sets a value upon herself, and, not content with one lover, is always longing for another – to wit, Eldred, represented with winning frankness and vivacity by Miss Millie Howes, a capable singer, dancer, and actress, who animates every scene with gaiety and brightness… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 15 February 1890, p. 12c)

* * * * *

‘A new recruit to the halls is Mr. William Gardiner, a clever eccentric comedian, who has been a big favourite at the Britannia Theatre for the last five or six years. Mr. Gardiner is now playing in the Britannia pantomime, but will make a start on the variety stage in the month of April [1893].’
(London Evening News and Post, London, Monday, 20 February 1893, p. 4b)


Alexandra Dagmar and Edmond DeCelle, duettists, United States and United Kingdom, 1890s

December 24, 2014

Dagmar and DeCelle (active 1890s), Anglo-American duettists: Alexandra Dagmar (1868-1940), English music hall vocalist and pantomime principal boy, and Edmond DeCelle (1854?-1920), American tenor
(cabinet photo: Robinson & Roe, 54 West 14th Street, New York, and 77 & 79 Clark Street, Chicago, circa 1890)

‘(By Our Special Commissioner.)
‘Few of the critics, lay and professional, who waxed so enthusiastic over Miss Dagmar’s performance in the pantomime [Cinderella, produced on 24 December 1894] at [the Metropole Theatre] Camberwell had any idea that the lady then made her first appearance in the capacity of a principal boy. But such was the case. Previously Miss Dagmar had appeared on our variety stage, and, as she is an important from America, the impression prevailed that she is a product of the United States. But that is not the case. Miss Dagmar is a London girl, of Danish parents, which may account for her Junoesque proportions and wondrously fair hair. Her association with the stage began some ten years ago, when a friend of the family, remarking her beautiful voice, suggested a professional career. Miss Dagmar was delighted by the very thought. Her father, however, was reluctant, and it was some time ere he could be prevailed upon to let his daughter avail herself of an introduction to Miss Sarah Thorne. But at length all obstacles were overcome, and Miss Alexandra Dagmar became a very humble member of the theatrical profession, playing a fairy, ”of something of that kind,” she vaguely recalls, in a travelling pantomime, on the old subject of ”Peter Wilkins.” She has a vivid recollection of papa escorting her to Maidstone and committing her to the sober and respectable care of a temperance hotel.
‘But good luck was in store for her – good luck that grew, as it sometimes will, out of another’s misfortune. The second girl fell ill – Miss Dagmar was, after no more than a week’s experience, promoted to the part thus vacated, and continued to play it during the fifteen weeks ensuing. Her great effort was a ballad entitled ”Waiting.” Miss Dagmar recalls that one of her companions during a delightful engagement was none other than Miss Janet Achurch, who played the Fairy Queen. After an experience on the stage as free from temptation and knowledge of the great world as a sojourn in a seminary might be, Miss Dagmar returned to the bosom of her family, and her further devotion to the stage was regarded with much disfavour. But the circumstances of her friends underwent a sudden change, and Miss Dagmar was, in fact, quite grateful for the necessity to make the most of her talent. The most lucrative engagement that offered was to visit America, and there join the Boston Redpath Lyceum Bureau.
‘This is a curious and interesting organisation. It forms concert parties and other entertaining bodies, and sends them the round of high-class social institutions – literary society, young men’s Christian associations, and the like. The performances were given in evening dress, and were as proper as proper could be. The company that Miss Dagmar first joined had especially a German character, and she became a notable singer of Volkslieder. For several years Miss Dagmar travelled with the Redpath Lyceum companies; and here one Mr De Celle appears on the scene. Mr De Celle comes from Chicago, and has all his life been devoted to music – as a singer and as a manager for eminent performers. In his time has has, for instance, engineered Remenyi and Ovide Musin, the violinists. Mr De Celle was the manager of the Lyceum company to which Miss Dagmar belonged, and took a special interest in the development of her voice. Some four years ago [sic] they were married.
‘When Miss Dagmar left the Redpath Lyceum she soon found herself in great request with the managers of high-class variety entertainments. At Koster and Bial’s, for instance, she is a great favourite. Alone, or as eventually she appeared, in association with Mr De Celle, Miss Dagmar has appeared at Koster and Bial’s for two years in the aggregate, and she rejoices in a general invitation from Mr Albert Bial to make the famous variety theatre her home. At first Miss Dagmar used to sing on the variety stage in evening dress. Then she had the happy thought of giving in costume excerpts from popular operas, her husband also taking part. The managers of the American theatres, so Miss Dagmar tells you, look upon the variety performer with friendly toleration. ”Sing your exceprt,” they say, ”and welcome. So far from your injuring us, you give us a valuable advertisement.” So Mr De Celle and his wife acquired a vast repertory of operatic fragments. An except from La Cigale was a notable favourite with American audiences. But when the duettists reached England a stern copyright law assailed their repertory on every side, and decimated it. They are left with nothing much to sing besides their always popular jödel. And the worst of it is, pay what money they will for original compositions, they get nothing to suit them.
‘One has run ahead a little. From time to time, ere yet they left America, Miss Dagmar and Mr de Celle appeared with ”combinations,” and notably with Mr William A. Brady‘s companies. They appeared in the variety scene when he produced After Dark, and when eventually he set out with Gentleman Jack, they ”supported” Mr Jim Corbett during a tour of the phenomenal success. Miss Dagmar, in making up her mind to visit England some nine months ago, had two objects in view. She wanted to ”go in for” a severe course of study; and she wanted to distinguish herself as a burlesque boy. Alas! burlesque boys were not in strong demand, and Miss Dagmar determined on a pilgrimage to Italy. But Mr. Brady, then about to exploit Corbett over here, begged his old friends to join him; and so they did, although there were not able to take part in the first week’s performances of Gentleman Jack at Drury-lane [21 April-5 May 1894]. This, by the way, was a memorable period of Miss Dagmar’s life. She wore tights for the first time! One’s demand for a full and particular account of the sensations that a young lady experiences in such circumstances is doomed to disappointment, for Miss Dagmar says, ”Well, you may call it the first time; for I had just had them on previously. That that began my career as a stage boy.”
‘London music hall managers were quick to appreciate the worth of the new turn. Since Miss Dagmar and Mr De Celle arrived in London they have never been out of an engagement, their notable successes having been achieved at the Palace Theatre, the Alhambra, and the Royal. Their services have been secured for well nigh six months to come, and during the spring and early summer they will visit a series of the great continental music halls. Meanwhile, neither of the objects that Miss Dagmar had in view when she determined to come to London has been lost sight of. She meant to study, and she is studying very diligently, with Mr [Albert] Visetti, at the Guildhall School of Music. As to the principal boy? Well, here is the progress of the principal boy. The tantalising delays attendant upon the completion of his theatre at Camberwell left Mr [John Brennan] Mulholland in grave doubt as to whether he should be able to do a pantomime this year or not. When at length he could make arrangements there was probably the shortest space of time at his disposal that ever a manager dared to contemplate for the preparation of a Christmas annual. But he had many potent influences at command, and with wondrous tact and energy he manipulated them to the point of success. Who should be principal boy? That was, indeed, a momentous question. Would Miss Dagmar like the engagement, said her agent? Was not Miss Dagmar, indeed, dying to show London what she could do in this capacity[?] She set to work, and for the first time in her life found herself an important figure in the development of a story on the stage. Miss Dagmar is perfectly delighted with her success. And, indeed, her ambition has received a particular incentive that is not yet the time to disclose. But the variety stage may, at any rate, take a hint to make the most of her while it can. Camberwell is not so very far from the Strand – nor too far for the excursions of observant managers, with eyes wide open when new ”talent” is airing itself, and words of honey on their lips when the discussion of future arrangements begins. Of one thing Miss Dagmar is quite certain. She never had a happier thought than when she determined, after so long an interval, to resume her theatrical career in circumstances curiously similar to those wherein she left it. The years ago she played in a pantomime with conspicuous success, and by the way of a pantomime she has stepped into a position of gratifying distinction on the London stage.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 12 January 1895, p. 11e)


K. Scott-Barrie’s The Upper Ten, an English concert party, circa 1912

February 28, 2014

The Upper Ten, an English concert party organized and headed by the actor and entertainer Kemsley Scott-Barrie (seated, right, on piano); other members of the group included Leslie Barker (back, left) and Mamie Watson (back, right)
(photo: Donald Massey, Bognor, Sussex, probably 1912)

‘The Upper Ten, who describe themselves as the ”merry and bright” concert party, are living up to this description at the Alexandra Palace Summer Pavilion this week, where their two shows a day are being well supported. Mr. K. Scott-Barrie, who heads the combination, is, of course, well-known to our readers, and his effervescent humour permeates the programme. Indeed, if we may criticise, we would suggest thet he need not interfere quite so much during other turns, but give the artists a chance to show their own merits. Miss Peggy Rae [i.e. Peg Ray, mother of Peter Sellers], Miss Mamie Watson, Miss Lillian Collard, Miss Madge Carr, and Miss Louie Milne [mother of Jimmy Campbell] all display ability in their respective lines, the last-named being a clever pianist, whiles the male members of the company are Mr. Charlie Carr, Mr. Reg Leslie, and Mr. Leslie Barker [(1895-1965) who later worked with Gabrielle Ray]. Some of the actions in the concerted items might be varied more, but, taken as a whole, the entertainment is certainly pleasant and amusing.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 6 June 1912, p. 19d)

Kemsley Scott-Barrie, whose real name was Edward Woolhouse, was born in 1883 in Leeds, Yorkshire, one of the children of Arthur Woolhouse, a joiner, and his second wife Sarah Ann (née Cousins), and baptised at the church of St. John the Baptist in that city on 13 April 1884. Originally an apprentice bricklayer, he became a professional entertainer in his early 20s. His relatively short career lasted from 1906 until enlisting during the First World War, attaining the rank of Corporal in the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). He appeared in pantomime and on the music hall stage but became particularly identified with his concert party work. He died on 6 October 1918 of wounds received in action, a little over a month before the end of hostilities. He is buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, near Dieppe, northern France. (For further information, see The Stage, London, Thursday, 12 November 1998, p. 10)


Florence Smithson, English soprano and musical comedy and pantomime actress

February 19, 2014

Florence Smithson (1884-1936), English soprano and musical comedy actress, who appeared in several Drury Lane pantomimes and spent much of the last part of her career touring variety theatres in the United Kingdom. She is best remembered for her appearance as Sombra in the original production of The Arcadians (Shaftesbury Theatre, London, 28 April 1909).
(photo: Metropole Studios, Cardiff, circa 1915)


Erroll Stanhope, ‘England’s Lady Whistler’

February 18, 2014

Erroll Stanhope (1872-1969), English siffleuse, musician and music hall and pantomime actress and singer, sometime billed as ‘England’s Lady Whistler’
(postcard photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, circa 1903)

Erroll [sometimes Errol] Stanhope (Erroll Augusta Stanhope Drake) was born on 20 February 1872, the elder daughter of Collard Augustus Drake (1843-1911) by his second wife Julia Annie (née Eales). Drake, better known as ‘A. Collard,’ was an accomplished flautist, a flute and piccolo manufacturer trading as A. Collard & Co., and author of Method of Practising the Flute (London, 1875). Miss Stanhope’s earliest public appearances seem to have been with her father. She later went on to feature in various pantomimes, including Babes in the Wood at the Alexandra Theatre, Sheffield, at Christmas 1899, and as Jack in Sweet Red Riding Hood, at the Kennington Theatre, produced on 26 December 1901. She also made numerous music hall appearances before her marriage in 1904 to the music hall singer, Whit Cunliffe (1876-1966).

* * * * *

‘Miss Erroll Stahope rivals Mrs. Alice Shaw, the original belle siffleuse, in the gentle art of whistling. She has whistled, and the Sketch tells us, from babyhood. In those early days she whistled for her own amusement, now she purses her pretty lips and whistles for the delectation of the playgoing public. During the run of King Kodak at Terry’s Theatre [produced on 30 April 1894] Miss Stanhope whistled nightly ”‘Way Down the Swanee River,” as well as a whistling piece of her own composition. In one thing she beats Mrs. Alice Shaw – she whistles three notes higher; her register being from C natural to C sharp. By way of change Miss Stanhope, who does not look more than sweet seventeen in the Sketch‘s portrait, sometimes plays the flute, and is even suspected of a determination to learn the Scottish bagpipe when her engagements leave her the necessary time.’
(The Weekly Standard and Express, Blackburn, Saturday, 11 August 1894, p. 7f)

‘TO-MORROW (SUNDAY) AFTERNOON, at 3.30; doors open 2.30.
‘Organist, Mr. Alfred Hollins. Vocalists, Miss Beatrice Frost, Mr. Iver M’Kay. Violinist, Miss Cecile Elleson. Flute Quartette, Miss Erroll Stanhope, Messrs J. Radcliff, J. Lemmons, A. Collard. Accompanists, Mr. Henry J. Wood, Mr. Richard Rickard. Admission free; reserved seats, 6d., 1s., 1s. 6s., 2s., at Robert Newman’s box-office, Queen’s Hall, Langham-place.’
(The Morning Post, London, Saturday, 25 May 1895, p. 6b, advertisement)

Royal Pier Entertainments, Southampton, Hampshire, 3 August 1895,br> ‘… Miss Erroll Stanhope specially distinguished herself as a vocalist and siffleuse. Her song ”Little Miss Prim” was encored. Her whistling solos were perfection itself, and several encores followed.’
(The Hampshire Advertiser, Southampton, Saturday, 10 August 1895, p. 6a)

‘MISS ERROLL STANHOPE Theatre Royal, York. – ”Miss Erroll Stanhope is a young lady who has a diversity of attractions. As Daisy Madcap she sings and acts well; but, beyond that, she is able to whistle with a sweetness and brilliancy rarely met with in either male or female. On Saturday night she whistled Arditi‘s ‘Il Bacio’ [orchestral version with saxophone] with all the sweetness and brilliancy of execution which one would have expected from an accomplished piccolo player. The inevitable encore followed.” – Yorkshire Herald March 25th [1899]’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 28 March 1901, p. 2d)

* * * * *

Mrs Alice Shaw is said to have made several cylinder recordings. One, with her twin daughters, entitled, ‘Spring-tide Revels,’ described as ‘A whistling trio novelty,’ was released in 1907 by Edison in the United States.


Marie Tyler, English music hall comedienne and pantomime principal boy

January 11, 2014

Marie Tyler (1872?-1905), English music hall comedienne and pantomime principal boy
(photo: H.R. Willett, 5 Bristol Bridge, Bristol, late 19th Century)

This real photograph Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette cards records Marie Tyler’s appearance in the pantomime Cinderella, which was produced on Boxing Day, 26 December 1896 at the Pavilion Theatre, Mile End Road, East London. The cast also included Arthur Alexander, Rezene and Robini, Alice Lloyd, Julian Cross, Daisy Wood, Maitland Marler, Amy Russell, Lennox Pawle, Blanche Leslie, Arthur Bell, Florence Hope, La Petite Mignon, the Celeste Troupe and the Staveley Quartette.

Pavilion Theatre ‘In place of the usual Demon’s cave in which the plot of the pantomime is often hatched, the pantomime Cinderella opens in ”The Abode of Father Time,” a setting of clocks of every description, each showing the time in a different country. Topical allusions are plentiful through the piece, one referring to the East-end water companies finding special favour. Another leading scene is ”The Golden Ball-room,” in which electric lights are employed. As Prince Perfect, Miss Marie Tyler was yesterday warmly welcomed, and as Dandini, the valet, and Cinderella, Miss Alice Lloyd and Daisy Wood appeared for the third year as Pavilion pantomime favourites. Arthur Alexander, Julian Cross, and Rezene and Robini also took part in the production.’
(Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, London, Sunday, 27 December 1896, p. 2b)

‘Miss Marie Tyler, a lady we do not remember to have seen before in a London pantomime, does excellent work as Prince Perfect, and justifies her selection for such an important part. She gives a slightly melodramatic tinge to the Prince’s scenes, and her earnestness and conscientiousness enhance the point of her lines. Her vocal opportunities are wisely utilised in singing ditties that have been made popular at the [music] halls, one of the most successful being ”The song that will live forever.”’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 January 1897, p. 11b)

‘PRESENTATION. – On Tuesday night Miss Marie Tyler, who is playing principal boy in the pantomime, Cinderella, at the Pavilion Theatre, Mile-end-road, was presented with a magnificent bouquet of flowers, with long silk ribbons of pink and yellow. The presentation was made by the conductor at the finish of her soldier’s son, ”The Song that will Liver for Ever.”’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 January 1897, p. 10b)

* * * * *

Marie Tyler’s real name was Marian Frances Elizabeth Crutchlow. She was born about 1872 at Bethnal Green, East London, one of the children of Thomas Crutchlow, a wholesale confectioner, and his wife, Frances Elizabeth. She was married at the Registry Office, Brixton, South London, on 3 November 1897 to the music hall singer, Leo Dryden (1863-1939) whose son by his previous liaison with Mrs Charles Chaplin was the actor and film director, Wheeler Dryden (1892-1957). The latter was therefore half-brother to Sydney and Charlie Chaplin.

Marie Tyler died after a short illness on 27 June 1905.