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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 360

updated
Saturday, 7 August 2004

Helen Barry in The Esmondes of Virginia,
Royalty, London, Thursday, 20 May 1886

Helen Barry

Helen Barry (1840-1906), English actress

(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, circa 1878)

'On Thursday evening Miss Helen Barry produced a new domestic drama entitled The Esmondes of Virginia, illustrating a story by no means resembling that of Thackeray's famous novel, notwithstanding the similarity of name. the piece is by an American writer, Mr. [A.R.] Cazauran, of the Union-square Theatre in New York, and treats of the Virginia of the latter half of the nineteenth century. The work is, we presume, an adaptation from the French, probably La Separation, of M. Anecit Bourgeois, and is rather a straggling narrative, the chief dramatic point of which is not perceptible until the play is somewhat far advanced. A young man named Trevor weds the daughter of a Virginian gentleman, who is a Southerner in all his sympathies. When the Civil War breaks out, Colonel Esmonde and his son take their places under the "Secesh" banner, but they fall victims to an ambuscade evidently prepared by a spy. This spy is Trevor, who is suddenly revealed to the audience as an altogether heartless villain who is prepared to commit any despicable action for the sake of gold and personal advancement. Mrs. Trevor's love for her husband is not strong enough to allow her to overlook the slaughter of her father and brother, so the hitherto united pair separate. A son has already been both to them, and to some extent the penalty of his father's cruelty descends upon him in after years, inasmuch as the parents of the girl he loves do not favour his suit, for the reason that in their eyes he occupies a somewhat equivocal position. Matters are explained in the end, and the fate of the recreant Trevor is shown in a tableau wherein the younger Esmonde � who had only been desperately wounded, and has undergone the process of trepanning � is represented as having shot the villain. The drama was on Thursday excellently played by Miss Helen Barry as the wife, by Mr. Teesdale as Trevor, and by Miss Messor and Mr. J.C. Buckstone as a pair of young lovers. The piece was so well received as to cause Miss Helen Barry to come forward and announce the name of the author, but some alteration would be required in its construction and arrangement to give it a chance of holding the metropolitan stage for any lengthened period.'
(The News of the World, London, Sunday, 23 May 1886, p.2f)

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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)
Jos� 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.

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� John Culme, 2004