Posts Tagged ‘Weedon Grossmith’


Adelina Balfe, a Gaiety Girl, photographed by the Dover Street Studios, London, circa 1909

March 4, 2014

Adelina Balfe (1888?-1948), Welsh born actress and Gaiety Girl
(photo: Dover Street Studios, London, circa 1909)

Adelina Balfe, whose real name was Dorothy Winifred Davies, was born in Swansea, Wales, about 1888. Her brief theatrical career began in 1906 but she did not attract attention until she was contracted to appear in small parts at the Gaiety Theatre, London, first in Havana (25 April 1908) and then in Our Miss Gibbs (23 January 1909). It was shortly after the beginning of the run of the latter that Miss Balfe married Lieutenant Gerard Randal Klombies (1887-1934), of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, son of (Carl) Robert Klombies (1842?-1920) and his second wife, Henrietta Sophia (née Peek). The couple had a daughter and were divorced in 1918 after which Miss Balfe was married for a second and third time.

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‘The marriage is reported of Miss Adelina Balfe, who is playing Sheila in Our Miss Gibbs at the Gaiety Theatre, London, to Lieutenant Gerard Randal Klombies, of the 2nd Dragoon Guards.
‘Miss Balfe appeared at the Gaiety that afternoon and evening as usual.<br. ‘The secret of the wedding was well kept, and even the bride’s closest friends knew nothing about the event till it was over.
‘Some particulars of the happy couple were published in the Evening News. The bridegroom – a lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoon Guards – is said to be a rich man in his own right, besides being the son of a wealthy mill-owner in the North. The bride who was described in the register as ”an actress, daughter of Herbert Davies, deceased, musician,” was born in Kilkenny [sic], and her dark beauty and nervous, generous temperament are typically Irish. She is just eighteen years of age, her husband being twenty-one.
‘Miss Adelina Balfe – to give her the name by which she is known to playgoers – joined the Gaiety Company in Havana, playing the part of Lolita, one of the ”Cigarette Girls.” her first stage experience was, however, with Mr Weedon Grossmith.
‘The young lieutenant first saw his bride about four months ago. It was a case of love at first sight, but some little time elapsed before he could secure an introduction. In the interval he occupied the same box every night until a common friend brought the young people together.
‘At the ceremony the bride, wearing heavy squirrel furs, a long fur coat, and a large hat of light blue shade, was accompanied by her mother. After the ceremony she repaired to the Gaiety Theatre, where she took her part of Sheila in Our Miss Gibbs. She also appeared at the evening performance. She is under a three years’ contract with Mr George Edwardes, and had expressed her intention of seeing it out.’
(The Marlborough Express, Blenheim, New Zealand, Friday, 2 April 1909, p. 2c)


Dido Drake, English actress and singer

February 2, 2014

Dido Drake (1879-1970; theatrical career 1898-1909), English actress and singer
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1898; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card issued about 1900)

‘One of Mr C. Trevelyan’s dramatic pupils – Miss Dido Drake – has obtained a West-end engagement, Mr Thomas Thorne having selected her as understudy for the part of Margery, in Meadow Sweet, and Belinda, in Our Boys.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 August 1898, p. 12c)

Miss Drake appeared as Sparkle in the pantomime Cinderella at the Coronet Theatre, Notting Hill Gate, London, produced on 24 December 1898 – Frances Earle appeared as Prince Paragon, Julie Bing as Cinderella and Horace Lingard as Baron Stoney.

‘Miss Dido Drake, who is at present touring with Mr. Edward Terry and playing the part of Lavender, lately appeared at the Avenue Theatre with Mr. Weedon Grossmith in The Night of the Party. Previous to this she played in The Little Minister on tour.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 19 March 1902, p. 505c)

Dido Drake was born in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 11 November 1879 and baptised Harriette Jane Mercedes Drake at the chapel of St. Nicholas, Liverpool, on 3 December 1879; her parents were James Adolphus Drake (1846-1890), a broker and commission agent, and his wife, Alison (née Lycett), who was born in Edinburgh in 1855. In 1909 Miss Drake was married to the former actor, Arthur Steffens Hardy (1873-1939), a prolific writer of short stories for boys, whose real name was Arthur Joseph Steffens. Following his death she married in 1939 Leslie Binmore Burlace (1891-1962) and died on 12 October 1970.


Malcolm Cherry and Gladys Cooper in The Misleading Lady

May 19, 2013

Malcolm Cherry and Gladys Cooper, in Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard’s play, The Misleading Lady, produced in London at the Playhouse Theatre on 6 September 1916 with a run of 231 performances.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1916)

‘An American comedy, The Misleading Lady, one of London’s productions at the Play House [sic], is whimsically declared to be amusing just because it is crude. Yet it is impossible not to like The Misleading Lady. The principal artists are Miss Gladys Cooper, Mr. Malcolm Cherry, and Mr. Weedon Grossmith. The plot primarily consists of a flirtation between the hero and heroine, in the course of which the misleading lady induces her partner to propose marriage, and then turns him down with the explanation that it was only her fun! The admirer is tragically hurt, and angrily declares that, as she has used her primitive weapons, that is to say, her charms, he will use his, namely, his brute force. Whereupon he throws this young society girl over his shoulder and carries her off in his motor car to his rustic shack in the Adirondacks. There are some lively scenes before the modern Petruchio masters this Katherine sufficiently for her to say she is quite willing to become his wife. And yet all this did not make the play. As in America by another comedian [i.e. Frank Sylvester], so in England by Mr. Weedon Grossmith, the winning card was an escaped lunatic, the pet of the keepers, and the delight of the audience, which thinks he is Napoleon! This is an intensely pathetic character, a harmless, lovable travesty of a man, capable on occasion of real dignity. ”Boney,” as the two keepers call him, renders a small service to the hero, who accepts the suggestion that he should present his mad benefactor with a sword. Boney takes it with the silly grin of the imbeceile, but as soon as he feels it in his hands his expression changes to one of deep earnestness, he draws his shabby figure to its full height, and with tremendous impressiveness, he creates the giver ”Marshal of France,” and stalks grandiloquently away, the three men standing at the salute! Half the audience laughed, half nearly wept, and all cheered.’
(The Auckland Star, Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, 30 December 1916, p. 14e. The London cast also included Ronald Colman as Stephen Weatherbee, a character played in the New York production by John Cumberland.)