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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 298

updated
Saturday, 31 May 2003

The Geisha,
revived at Daly's Theatre, London, 18 June 1906

May de Sousa and Marie Studholme

'Is he your gentleman husband?'

May de Sousa as O Mimosa San and Marie Studholme as Molly Seamore
in the Daly's, London, revival of The Geisha, 18 June 1906.

(photo: probably Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1906)

The Geisha: A Story of a Teahouse, the popular 'Japanese' musical play by Owen Hall, with music by Sidney Jones and lyrics by Harry Greenbank, was first produced at Daly's, London, on 25 March 1896, for a run of 760 performances. The original cast included C. Hayden Coffin as Reginald Fairfax, W. Louis Bradfield as Dick Cunningham, Huntley Wright, succeeded by his brother Fred Wright jnr, as Wun Hi, Harry Monkhouse, succeeded by Rutland Barrington and W.H. Rawlins, as Marquis Imari, Juliette Nesville as Juliette Diamant, Maud Hobson as Lady Constance Wynne, Letty Lind as Mollie Seamore, and Marie Tempest in the lead as O Mimosa San. Other members of the cast included Leedham Bantock, Sydney Ellison, Margaret Fraser, Lydia Flopp, Blanche Massey and Hetty Hamer.

The chief members of cast for the revival of The Geisha at Daly's in 1906, which ran for 62 performances, were:

O Mimosa San May de Sousa
Miss Molly Seamore Marie Studholme
Juliette Diamant Mariette Sully
Reginald Fairfax Robert Evett
Dick Cunningham W. Louis Bradfield
Captain Katana Tailleur Andrews
Wo-Mi Willie Warde
Wun-Hi Fred Wright jnr
The Marquis Imari George Graves

Rutland Barrington and Willie Warde

Rutland Barrington as Marquis Imari and Willie Warde as Wo-Mi
in the Daly's, London, revival of The Geisha, 1906.

Although George Graves originated the Marquis Imari in this production, the part
was also played during the run by John Humphries, Fred Kaye and Rutland Barrington.

(photo: probably Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1906)

'The Geisha was one of the pleasantest of the musical comedies produced at Daly's. For one thing, it came early in the series; we had not had time to get tired of the young officer wholly or partially clothed in white, his foreign love and his faithfully companions; we had not learned the utmost range of Mr. Hayden Coffin; and last acts had not become the gallimaufries they are now. After ten years, The Geisha is as pleasant as ever. No one, of course, can remember more of a musical comedy than the outline and the principal tunes (which the piano-organs [of street musicians] take care we shall not forget); and to see it again was to combine the pleasures of surprise and familiarity. Speaking without book (there probably is a "book" to these things, but it never reaches print), the piece remains unchanged from when we saw it last, and The Geisha, we believe, dates from before the practice of having "second editions"; the cast is entirely new. There is no Mr. Hayden Coffin. His part is played (or, rather, his songs are sung, for Reginald Fairfax is no more a part now than it was then) by Mr. Robert Evett, and the audience were justly enthusiastic over Mr. Evett, who sang better than we have heard him sing before. There is no Mr. Huntley Wright; there is the next best thing, Mr. Huntley Wright's brother and (in the part of Wun Hi) his double, Mr. Fred Wright, jun. there is no doing anything new with Wun-Hi; had Mr. Fred Wright attempted to give a new "reading" of the part the audience might have risen in protest. He did wisely in following a famous model, but in following him appeared no mere echo, but himself a funny dog and a very amusing dancer. For O Mimosa San and Juliette Diamant we had two little ladies, neither of them all that Miss Marie Tempest was in the original production, but both very capable singers and actresses; Miss May de Sousa, fresh from a success in comic opera [in London with Harry Fragson in Castles in Spain, Royalty, 18 April 1906, transferred to Terry's, 24 May 1906], as the Geisha, and as the Frenchwoman, Miss Mariette Sully. Miss Sully is new to us, but we shall gladly hear more of her fine voice and her pointed, thoroughly reasoned singing. Of Mr. George Graves it is too early to speak. He is only feeling his way, trying this and that on the audience; in a week or two we shall probably have as valuable and amusing a Marquis as we had not long ago a General des Ifs [in The Little Michus, Daly's, London, 29 April 1905, a part in which Graves succeeded Willie Edouin]. Add Miss Marie Studholme, looking as Miss Marie Studholme always looks and singing very sweetly about the money on the stick, Mr. Louis Bradfield, one or two pretty ladies in minor parts [including Iris Hoey, Alice Hatton, Gertrude Glyn, Thelma Raye, Daisy Stratton and Nina Sevening], and the usual lavishness of mounting, and the whole makes up an entertainment that softens one's opinions of musical comedy.'
(The Times, London, Tuesday, 19 June 1906, p.10d)

Marie Studholme

Marie Studholme (1875-1930)
English musical comedy actress and postcard beauty.

(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1906)

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