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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 492

updated
Saturday, 17 February 2007

A rehearsal for Bluebell in Fairyland,
a musical dream play by Seymour Hicks,
with music by Walter Slaughter and lyrics by Aubrey Hopwood,
which opened at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 18 December 1901

Bluebell in Fairyland, rehearsal

'Mr. Warde teaches Miss Terriss and Mrs. Hicks a balancing movement'

left to right, Ellaline Terriss, Willie Warde and Seymour Hicks
during a rehearsal for Bluebell in Fairyland, Vaudeville, London, December 1901

(photo: Russell & Sons, London, 1901, specially taken for the Black and White Budget)

'A Rehearsal at the Vaudeville.
'A small stage packed with scenery; a crown of workmen, busy as bees; a swarm of children overflowing into the auditorium; a piano on the O.P. side, with a gentleman deftly fingering the keys; actors and actresses grouped about the stage; a popular and brilliant actress seated on a "property" bridge, undergoing the painful operation of being interviewed by a representation of a popular weekly paper; a young manager particularly active.

Bluebell in Fairyland, rehearsal

'Can you find prettier faces in London?'

Children in the cast of Bluebell in Fairyland,
taken during a rehearsal, Vaudeville, London, December, 1901.
top right, Lillian Burns; bottom, second, third and fourth,
Hilda Antony, Phyllis Dare and Kathleen Courtney. The others unidentified.

(photo: Russell & Sons, London, 1901, specially taken for the Black and White Budget)

'This was the scene that presented itself at the Vaudeville Theatre a few days ago. You have, of course, already guessed the name of the actress being interviews, and of the particularly active manager. Yes; Miss Ellaline Terriss and Mr. Seymour Hicks. At the piano was Mr. [Walter] Slaughter, the composer. The production of Blue-Bell in Fairyland was imminent and rehearsals were at fever heat. To say that Mr. Hicks was here, there, and everywhere is in no way to exaggerate his powers of locomotion. I doubt if there ever existed a more mercurial gentleman; his capacity for work seemed inexhaustible. Dancing, singing, declaiming, directing, encouraging, reading letters, rebuking the slow-coaches, applauding the proficient, arranging photographic pictures, and himself at intervals posing before the camera. He passed from one phase of work to another with remarkable east and facility. Much attempted, and everything done - well. The only assistance he had (I hope the stage-manager will not be angry with me for saying that during the period I referred to his part was largely passive) was from his charming wife, Miss Terriss., who at intervals took in hand a few children - an irritating task at best - and instilled into them the "business" of their parts with consummate skill.
'Blue-bell is rich in fun, and ti would be difficult to find a piece better adapted for the season of holly and mistletoe. I need only mention that in addition of Mr. Hicks, Messrs. Murray King, Sidney Harcourt (sterling comedians both), and [Willie] Warde (has no superior as a dancer) are busy therein; that in support of Miss Terris, Miss [Florence] Lloyd and Miss [Margaret] Fraser appear, to indicate that the principal points are all in most capable hands. Among the little ones, Miss Dorothy Frostick figures largely as a dancer, one of her best efforts being as a "Will-o'-the-wisp." Master George Hersee also makes his mark as a cat.
'Between the two acts of Blue-bell a biograph entertainment is provided. There is also an important first appearance - a new iron curtain, by order of the L.C.C. [London County Council].'
(H.L.A., Black and White Budget, London, Saturday, 28 December 1901, pp.422 and 423)

Bluebell in Fairyland, rehearsal

'Mr. Sidney Harcourt and Mr. Murray King' 'Miss [Florence] Lloyd and Miss [Margaret] Fraser read their parts'
'Two pretty little children [left, Phyllis Dare] practising a trap-door scene for a Blue-bell
transformation'
'Miss [Ellaline] Terriss and Mr Seymour Hicks have the music explained to them by Mr. Walter Slaughter'

(photos: Russell & Sons, London, 1901, specially taken for the Black and White Budget)

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