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no. 571

Saturday, 23 August 2008

images of theatre and other popular entertainment

Marie Lloyd
a cabinet photograph of Marie Lloyd (1870-1922),
English music hall star,
taken on her first visit to New York in 1890

(photo: Falk, New York, 1890)

A visit to the Royal music hall, Holborn, London, April 1899.
'AMONGST THE MUMMERS and at THE MUSIC HALLS... 'Visitors to the Royal may generally depend upon getting a good show and a comfortable seat. The programmes framed by Mr. George Burgess, the able manager here, are very varied, and, though the turns may not always numerically equal those of other houses, it must be admitted that the entertainment suffers none the less by reason of that fact. Indeed, a comedian at the Royal has often an excellent opportunity of showing the stuff that is in him. He is permitted to give two, and, occasionally, three songs, so that when the turn is concluded the audience has a very fair notion of the comedian's style. At other houses where the ''one turn one song'' system is favoured, a comedian has not much chance of distinguishing himself. At it is through this that comedians occasionally find themselves quitting the stage without getting as much as a ''hand.'' The bright, particular star at the Royal was Marie Lloyd. The lively comedienne, who is just now in excellent form, has happened upon an amusing song, which may be, and for aught I know to the contrary is, entitled ''Hallo! Hallo!'' It has evidentially been written for Miss Lloyd, whom it suits to a T. It need hardly be said that she brings out its points with all her usual cleverness. Another song almost equally Lloydesque in character is a ditty explaining how in certain circumstances she ''thought she would like to try.'' Miss Lloyd, a universal favourite everywhere, made an especially fine hit at the Royal, the patrons of which gave her a grand reception. Another popular favourite was the quaint and eccentric Mr. Cliff Ryland, whose bizarre methods and dry style provoke roars of laughter. It is said that there is only one man who failed to enjoy Ryland's turn-and this poor fellow is both blind and deaf! I have seen the quaint Cliff sending audiences into shrieks, which he himself moved never a muscle. No one grudges this good comedian his great success, for his is an especially good fellow, and there is a total absence of ''side'' about him. It is a pleasure to me to hand [in] one more tribute to so popular a comedian.'
(The Sporting Mirror and Dramatic Music Hall Record, London, Monday, 17 April 1899, p. 2b/c)

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