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no. 461

Saturday, 22 July 2006

The opening of the new London Pavilion,
Monday, 30 November 1885.

The first night's entertainment included turns by
Constance Loseby, De Voy, Leclercq and Co., Amy Verte, the Sisters Watson,
Rosee Heath, Harry Randall, Pat Feeney, Fred Albert,
Madame Garetta and her pigeons,
G.H. Chirgwin, Arthur Lloyd, G.H. Macdermott, Mrs. Lennard Charles,
G.W. Hunter, Charles Godfrey, Nelly Farrell, and the Frediani Troupe.

Sisters Watson

Sisters Watson.

(lithograph scap, probably printed in Germany for the English market,
after a photograph by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, circa 1885)

'London Pavilion. - Mr. Edwin Villiers has made a wonderful metamorphosis here. The old London Pavilion has given place to a new structure which outstrips every rendezvous of the kind in England, and possibly the European continent. The exterior of the hall, the noble proportions of which are enhanced by its commanding site and airy surroundings, is imposing; while it is only to reach the interior of the edifice to find that the whole gamut of modern architectural and decorative art has been drawn upon to make this hall beautiful. And not only does it charm the eye, but the many provisions that have been made for the personal comfort of the visitors help to accentuate its material virtues; in a word, the auditorium breathes luxury and comfort. A curious fact is this, too: - the old London Pavilion has been completely obliterated; not only stone was allowed to stand upon another; its successor is entirely new, and yet withal bears, from certain standpoints, a wonderfully strong resemblance to the hall which has gone before. In taking on with the new love, there has been a deliberate favour shown to the old. The tables in stalls and area seem to take their old places; there is the same presidential chair with its back to the orchestra, - happily, the same president to fill it; the waiters that hurry to and fro were to be seen here before the old building was destroyed; and, best of all, there is Mr. Sam Adams, who has been manager of the London Pavilion for years, still filling the same office, and showing that administrative skill and courtesy which have proved of good service in times gone by.
'After having borne brief testimony to the beauty and comfort of Mr. Villiers's new hall, we hasten to speak of the inaugural entertainment which was given on Monday night under circumstances which must have proved peculiarly gratifying to the management. It was quite hard work to reach the interior of the new hall, so thick was the crowd outside; but when inside, and with a favourable position, it was easy to see that the audience was brilliant as it was numerous. As a matter of course, Mr. Villiers is a loyal citizen, and it goes for saying that the initial feature of this programme was a performance of "God Save the Queen," followed by "God Bess the Prince of Wales," sung by the Pavilion Choir, Miss Constance Loseby singing the solo verses. This lady also contributed a couple of songs, and set the machinery merrily in motion. It is not necessary to say that all the available light and leading of the music-halls had enlisted under Mr. Villiers's banner, and that a programme of colossal dimensions had been framed to give éclat to this celebration. After Miss Loseby had retired from the stage, there began what we may describe as the entertainment of the music-hall proper. Messrs. De Voy, Leclercq and Co. tendered one of their farcical sketches, and were followed by Miss Amy Verte, a lady who contributed a series of characteristic dances in the costumes which she adopted with much celerity. The Sisters Watson sang duets, and repeated their mimicry of that inane specimen of humanity called the "masher;" while Miss Rosee Heath sang tunefully, and danced neatly and cleverly. Mr. Harry Randall was the first comique to assert himself, and it may be said that he did this in a manner which testified to the song influence he exercises over a miscellaneous audience. His songs were vociferously applauded. Next to Mr. Randall came Miss Alice Brookes, a tuneful singer and an admirably neat dancer; while to her succeeded Mr. Pat Feeney, an excellent Irish comedian, the whole of whose expressed sentiments were not, however, entirely in favour on Monday. Mr. Fred Albert followed on with his usual topical staple, and was succeeded by the Pavilion Choir, who sang "Faerie Voices" under circumstances which could scarcely be called cheering. Then Madame Garetta tendered her pretty entertainment with her army of handsome pigeons. Mr. Chirgwin with his budget of eccentricities created plenty of merriment by his humorous references and his manifestations of light comedy, and Mr. Arthur Lloyd prospered well until his political references caused just a little fermentation.

Nelly Farrell

Nelly Farrell (d.1889)
Irish serio-comic vocalist

(lithograph portrait after a photograph, unknown, circa 1885)

Mr. G.H. Macdermott was so out of voice as to be unable to sing; but to show there was nothing like an intended breach of faith, the popular comedian was brought to the footlights by Mr. Villiers just to speak an excuse, and thus show the honourableness of his intentions. Mrs. Lennard Charles sang with excellent spirit and with success, and the Pinauds gave one of the very best grotesque "shows" that has ever been tendered on any stage, which Mr. G.W. Hunter exhibited all that dryness which has brought him such a fund of popularity. Miss Nellie Richards negotiated a new lease of favour by her tuneful contributions, and Mr. Charles Godfrey again afforded proof of his power to do justice to that material where manifestations of dramatic force are vitally necessary. Miss Nelly Farrell in genuinely Irish song once more asserted her supremacy, while the last feature of the programme was supplied by the Frediani Troupe, who gave an acrobatic display. During the evening Mr. Villiers, in a few happy phrases, addressed the audience.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 5 December 1885, p.6a)

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