Posts Tagged ‘Theatre Royal (Liverpool)’


Mary Godsall

May 26, 2013

Mary Godsall (1844-1922), English actress, as she appeared as Meenie during the run of Dion Boucicault’s dramatization of Rip Van Winkle at the Adelphi Theatre, London, first produced there on 4 September 1865, with Joseph Jefferson in the title role
(Window & Bridge’s patent Diamond Cameo Portrait carte de visite, photos: Adolphe Beau, London, 1865)

The Cabinet Theatre, London, Wednesday, ‘The little building in Liverpool-street, King’s cross, which was formerly used as a lecture hall, &c., has been fitted up and licensed under the above name for dramatic performances by Mr. J. Dryden. On Wednesday night last was played a new drama by Mr. G. Wood in three acts, entitled The Sisters; or, The Rovers of Salee. both the piece and the acting were below the range of criticism of any kind. The most ordinary knowledge of the English language on the part of the author must have sufficed to have shown him the absurdity of the combinations of words in which the piece abounds. Anything more absolutely ridiculous and farcical than the parts intended to be serious it would not be easy to imagine. The repetition of the sentences by the actors and actresses, of whom there was a long list, was quite as bad, or worse, than the matter, in those cases where they knew what they had to say, which was a very rare occurrence. Consequently the stage was continually kept ”waiting.” We left at the close of the second act, when, after a ”wait” of longer duration than usual, the curtain descended on the emotional, impromptu exclamation of a father to the two sisters, ”Well, come my dears, we’ll be off.” It is just possible that with training and education Mr. Bingley and Miss Mary Godsall might learn to make a passable use of what natural qualifications they possess. The others have none… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 13 March 1864, p. 10c)

F.C. Burnand’s English version of La Belle Hélène, produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 30 June 1866
‘Miss Godsall’s beauty of feature and remarkable grace of movement and expression make Glauce a very attractive personage.’

‘MISS GODSALL, of the Theatres Royal, St. James’s, and Adelphi, London, and New Prince of Wales and Theatre Royal, Liverpool, will be Disengaged at Easter, and will be happy to treat with responsible managers for Juvenile and Burlesque Business. Address, 98, Brownlow-hill, Liverpool.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 31 March 1867, p. 1b)

From 1867 little or nothing appears to have come Mary Godsall’s way in the form of theatrical engagements. Instead she seems to have pursued a career as an artist, describing herself in the 1901 Census as an ‘artist, painter, sculptor.’ Long before that, however, she was commissioned by the British Museum to make drawings of certain ancient Roman coins in the Department of Coins and Medals, which were published as Autotypes in 1874. Miss Godsall’s painting entitled ‘Jacqueline,’ ‘a pretty, bright-eyed girl, in blue-trimmed mob cap’ was shown at the Dudley Gallery Exhibition, London, in 1877. (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 3 February 1877, p. 118b). And at The Royal Academy Exhibition, London, 1879, ‘… Of the rank and file whose works seem especially worthy of notice we may mention ”Cinderella” (668), [by] Mary Godsall.’ (Nottinghamshire Guardian, London, Friday, 16 May 1879, p. 7c). This watercolour, wrote The Portfolio: An Artistic Periodical, ‘is tender in colour, the deep old-fashioned hearth, with its crouching figure of the melancholy maiden, make a charming picture.’ Another of her paintings, a ‘lifesize half-length of a little girl,’ was shown at the Dudley Gallery in 1880. (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 28 February 1880, p. 203b).

On 24 October 1880, at St. Barnabas’s Church, Pimlico, London, Mary Godsall was married by the Bishop of North Queensland to Robert Christison (1837-1915), a native of Scotland, who had gone to Australia at the age of 15. The couple were together in Australia from about 1883 to 1887 but Mary disliked the country so much that she returned to England with their three surviving children (two girls and a boy) and subsequently enrolled to study with Charles Augustus C. Lasar (1856-1936) in Paris, who had opened his studio for students in 1886. Mr Christison finally returned to England permanently in 1910; he died at Foulden, Scotland, in 1915. For reasons unknown, Mary Christison returned to Australia where she died of heart failure on 14 November 1922 (The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Tuesday, 14 November 1922, p.8).

A photograph of Mary Christison and her three children, taken in the late 1880s, is in the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland.


Fred Aretlli

April 25, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Fred Artelli (fl. 1870s-1890s), ballet dancer and Harlequin
(photo: T.J. Tungate, 35 Queen Street, Edgware Road, London, circa 1875, negative number 1504)

Theatre Royal, Liverpool
‘To make way for novelties which are certain to please ”Royal” patrons, Humpty Dumpty has signified that he will shortly quit the sphere of his prosperous career at the patent Theatre. The lovely scenery, lively business, and talented company have contributed in a large measure to the success of the Pantomime, and the author (Mr J.F. M’Ardle) has displayed an ingenuity in connection with its construction which cannot be too highly praised. His peculiar ”Argument,” like the ancient ”Chorus,” is worth reproducing, and is to the following effect:- ”There was seen a great stone, and in ye midst thereof was like an anvil of steel, and therein stack a fair sword naked by ye point, and letters there were written in gold about ye sword that said thusly:- ‘Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is rightwise kind born of all England!’ Then ye people marvelled muchly, and all ye knithts and ye squires went to behld ye stone and ye sword. And when they say ye scripture some assayed, such as would have been king. But none mote stir ye sword nor move it. ‘Marry come up, beshrew my heart, i’ fackins, by my halidame,’ exclaimed Arthur, ’ I shall gette that sworde, or, as ye manne in ye playe sayeth, I will perish in ye attempt.’ Accordingly, he dydde get ye sworde from ye stone, and he overcame ye villaine Surlichurl, and ye wicked Impe, yclept Humpty Dumpty, and married ye Lady Guinevere, ye king’s daughter, and Arthur’s sweethearte, and, like all ye folkes who gette married, they lived happy ever afterwards. (For all ye further particulars see ye Small Bills, and ye Grande Pantomime itself. N.B. – Ye children in arms not admitted by themselves.)” The Harlequinade is of the most bustling kind, the principals being Madame Elise (Columbine), Miss E. Rowella (Harlequin à la Watteau), Signor Artelli (Harlequin), Mr A. Bolton and Mr E. Burgess Pantaloons), the De Castro troupe (Sprites, and Dolph Rowella and the Great Little Rowella (Clowns).’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 4 February 1877, p. 8d)

‘Great Success every Evening of
‘SIGNOR FRED. ARTELLI’S COMIC BALLET TROUPE. At Liberty for Fetes and Galas. For terms, address, Mr GEORGE HADLIEGE HUNT, Park Theatre, Camden-town.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 6 May 1877, p. 15b)

‘MR EDITOR. – Sir, – will you allow me to state that, owing to the illness of Mr Willie Warde, the part of Rapless, the oofless swell, in Round the Town, at the Empire, Leicester-square, has been played for some considerable time by, yours faithfully, FRED. ARTELLI
‘Empire Theatre, June 6th, 1893.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 10 June 1893, p. 17c)

* * * * *

For references to Artelli’s appearances at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, during the 1890s, see Ivor Guest, Ballet in Leicester Square, Dance Books, London, 1992.


Milly Palmer

February 14, 2013

Milly Palmer (Mrs Bandmann-Palmer, 1845?-1926),
English actress
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, circa 1865)

Milly Palmer’s London debut, 1864
‘As mentioned elsewhere, Miss Milly Palmer, of the Theatre Royal and Royal Amphitheatre, Liverpool, made her debut at the Royal Strand Theatre on Monday evening, in Delicate Ground.
The Times says:- ”Miss Milly Palmer, a young actress who for some time past has enjoyed a high reputation at Liverpool, made her first appearance in London last night as Pauline in Delicate Ground. For a powerful display of emotion the pleasant little drama affords small scope, but the young wife must be ladylike, intelligent, sensitive, and somewhat hasty of temper, or the intentions of the author will not be fulfilled. Miss Palmer, whose appearance is remarkably prepossessing, complies with all these requisites, and evinces a degree of earnestness which augurs well for her success when intrusted with a part of greater responsibility. All that she was wanted to do she did well; but at present we may consider that she has been simply introduced to the pubic, and that the real experiment to her powers has yet to be made. She was greeted with loud applause.”
The Morning Post says:- ”A new and very promising candidate for the honours of the London stage appeared last evening at this Theatre in the exceedingly attractive person of Miss Milly Palmer, of the Theatre Royal, Liverpool, who made a brilliant debut as Pauline, in Mr Planché’s pleasant comedietta of Delicate Ground. Miss Palmer’s beauty, which is of a rare order (she is what the French call a blonde doree), and her deportment, which is singularly graceful and ingenuous, created at the first glance a favourable impression, which further acquaintance heightened into enthusiasm. But youth and beauty, precious as are both gifts, are the least important of her qualifications. Her face is expressive as pretty; her voice is clear, flexible, and melodious; and she has a fascinating vivacity of manner which is admirably suited for that description of performance which, though the word has of late fallen into disesteem, was once known with honour as ”genteel” comedy. She acts not only with spirit and intelligence, but with grace and sensibility, and she is perfectly familiar with stage business. It is scarcely necessary to add that she well deserved the applause with which she was abundantly greeted, and that she cannot fail to become a very valuable acquisition to the popular company of comedians at the Strand Theatre.”
‘The following are extracts from a lengthy and eulogistic article in the Morning Herald and The Standard:- ”Miss Milly Palmer, a young actress who for the last few years has been an immense favourite at the Theatre Royal, Liverpool, made her first appearance in London in the comedietta of Delicate Ground, on Monday night at this Theatre, and achieved a very remarkable success * * * * * When the performance is over we see at once that Miss Milly Palmer is playing within means, and that she has abundance of power in reserve. We must not, however, under-rate the character of Pauline in Delicate Ground, which demands unusual versatility of talent and the nicest possible discrimination to make it strike home to the spectators. Miss Palmer’s acting was perfectly truthful and admirable throughout. The romance and simplicity of Pauline were exquisitely represented by Miss Palmer, who, without an effort, and in a style very different to what the visitors to the Strand Theatre have been accustomed to scan, made a deep impression, and appealed to all hearts. The tenderness of the character, too, was exquisitely realised; nor were energy and elegance in Miss Palmer’s motions and attitude which stamp her in a moment as a veritable queen of comedy; added to which her appearance is prepossessing in the highest degree. Need we say that Miss Milly Palmer is an invaluable acquisition to the Strand Theatre? We may go even beyond this, and assert that Miss Palmer is one of the most accomplished actresses whom the London stage has witnessed for many years. The young lady has certainly not belied her Lancashire reputation. The curtain fell on hearty and genuine applause, and arose again to show the three artists in their places. This custom being one through, a general call was raised for Miss Palmer, who appeared, led on by Mr Parselle, the whole house cheering lustily while she was crossing the stage.”’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 13 November 1864, p. 14c)