Footlight Notes banner with Doris Stocker

e-mail John Culme here

no. 359

Saturday, 31July 2004

Muriel Ridley in The Pool,
'a wordless mediæval idyll, in one scene' with music by G.H. Clutsam,
Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, 20 May 1912

The Pool

'Miss Muriel Ridley as the Nymph Melisande.
The New Ballet at the Alhambra'

(London Mail, London, Saturday, 15 June 1912, p.14)

The cast of The Pool

The Nymph, Melisande Muriel Ridley
The Peasant Fred Rolph
The Peasant's wife Bella Wallis
The Novice Rocholl de Raadt
The Friar Edmund Gurney
The Abbess Phœbe Lewellyn
The King Eric Mayne
First Courtier R.H. Vallis
Second Courtier J. Jolly

'London's love for dancing is shown by the success of the Russian ballets at Covent Garden, the triumph of Pavlova at the Palace, and the vogue of [Adeline] Genée at the Coliseum.
'If [Monty] Leveaux wants to boom the Alhambra into a success he must get a really fine dancer and put her into an artistic or imaginative setting.
'Mere spectacular scenes and processions are worthless. Alfred Moul [who resigned as general manager of the Alhambra early in 1912] proved that.
'As a matter of fact, the Alhambra could not do better than permanently "star" Muriel Ridley, who is something of a genius.
'If the directors don't believe me let them ask Max Reinhardt.'
(London Mail, London, Saturday, 6 July 1912, p.14)

Muriel Ridley

Muriel Ridley, dancer and actress

(photo: Bassano, London, circa 1912)

Muriel Ridley, who appears to have been born about 1886, began her career in London with Nellie Chaplin (author of Court Dances and Others, J. Curwen & Sons, London, 1911), assisting her in 1907 at the Hampstead Conservatoire, Swiss Cottage, in a course of lessons entitled 'Ancient Dances and Music.' Details of Miss Ridley's subsequent engagements are sketchy, but in February 1912 she succeeded Natasha Trouhanova in the leading role of the nun in The Miracle (Olympia, London, 23 December 1911), the vast mediaeval pageant produced by C.B. Cochran and directed by Max Reinhardt.

Following her part in The Pool, Muriel Ridley remained at the Alhambra, then under the management of Monty Leveaux, George Grossmith and André Charlot, where she appeared in the revue, Kill That Fly (14 October 1912), written by Grossmith, with music by Melville J. Gideon:

'Gaby Deslys is such an attractive young woman that it is no wonder that everything she does is promptly imitated by other performers. He lingerie act at the Palace produced almost a riot among the bald heads. In consequence, Muriel Ridley is undressing nightly at the Alhambra in a little sketch called "The Mystery of Music." This is quite a good turn in its way, but Monty Leveaux should really give Miss Ridley something to do more worthy of her great talents.'
(London Mail, London, Saturday, 9 November 1912, p.16b)

'The Muriel Ridley bedroom act has been removed from the Alhambra programme. It is authoritatively stated that this had nothing whatever to do with the Censor's banning of "A Venetian Night" ['A spectacular wordless play by Carl Vollmöller, with music by Friedrich Bermann, produced at the Palace Theatre, London, 11 November 1912]. Of course not. Why do people think these things!'
(London Mail, London, Saturday, 23 November 1912, p.16b)

* * * * * * * *

Gladys Cooper

Gladys Cooper as she appeared in Havana,
Gaiety Theatre, London, 1908

(photo: Bassano, London, 1908)

A sample of John Culme's hand made greetings cards,
currently available at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The above greetings card and others like it have been made to celebrate Terence Pepper's current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, devoted to Bassano's early 20th Century photographs of theatrical celebrities. Images of Gabrielle Ray and Gladys Cooper are featured in the exhibition as are some of their contemporaries on the London stage, including Gertie Millar, Moya Mannering, Gaby Deslys, Olive May and Gina Palerme. The exhibition runs until 31 August.

A special CD entitled Gaiety Girls has been produced to coincide with the exhibition, available at the National Portrait Gallery bookshop and also direct from Tony Barker. With masterly transfers by Dominic Combe from rare original recordings, and twelve pages of sleeve notes by Patrick O'Connor, the CD comprises the following tracks:
Alice Delysia - I Know What I Want (1933)
Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale - Hold My Hand (1932)
Cicely Courtneidge and Harold French - A tiny flat in Soho Square (1927)
Dorothy Brown and Roy Royston - When I Waltz With You (1926)
José Collins and Kingsley Lark - The Last Waltz (1922)
Mamie Watson and Roy Royston - Japanese Duet (1920)
Marjorie Gordon - Tickle Toe (1918)
Ada Reeve - Is It Nothing To You? (1915)
Moya Mannering and Leslie Henson - Meet Me Around The Corner (1915)
Haidee de Rance and George Grossmith Jnr - They Didn't Believe Me (1915)
Connie Ediss - I Like To Have A Little Bit On (1911)
Olive May - The Lass With A Lasso (1911)
Gaby Deslys - Tout En Rose (1910)
Denise Orme and Arthur Grover - Swing Song (1906)
Delia Mason and Maurice Farkoa - My Portuguese Princess (1905)
Evie Greene - Try Again, Johnny (1902)
Ellaline Terriss - Gaiety Medley (1903).
The disc also includes the following unique recordings of broadcasts from the 1930s: Gertie Millar - Keep Off The Grass; Phyllis Dare and W. H. Berry - Let Me Introduce You To My Father; Ethel Levey - Ragtime Medley; and Evelyn Laye - The Call Of Life.

* * * * * * * *

Sign My Guestbook Guestbook by GuestWorld View My Guestbook

Nedstat Counter

© John Culme, 2004