Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 11 April 2009

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

Mariette Sully, president of the
Guignot's Punch Dinner, Paris, 1897

Mariette Sully


Mariette Sully (b.1878)
Belgian born French actress and singer,
as Pervenche in The Merveilleues,
Daly's Theatre, London, 27 October 1906

(photo: probably Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1906)

'''GYM-CO-VAU-Dé-PA-O.''
'The dramatic profession across the water possesses no such thing as a distinctive club. It has, that is to say, no professional club-house. Paris can show nothing in the nature of the London Garrick, and provides nothing in the shape of the Beefsteak, or a Green Room, or a Savage. The clubability of ''thé' profession has never extended to anything of this kind. Its individual members appear to find quite sufficient everyday accommodation in the café of their predilection. Still, there are actors' clubs of sorts in Paris, and the hieroglyphic seeming rubric above is, or rather was, the name of one of them.
'This particular society meets in the good old Johnsonian fashion, at a tavern, and there, once a month, it dines. The tavern lies outside the ruck of restaurants, in a quiet and sequestered quarter, whither the feet of the roysterer never stray. But the dinners to be had there are none the worse for that, and the liquors all the better.
'When the ''Gym-Co-Vau-Dé-Pa-O'' was started a decade or so ago its members numbered thirty. The method of election was eclectic, and the original name of the club implies as much. Writ long in means, ''Gymnasc, Comédie Franc,aise, Vaudeville, Déjazet, Palais Royal, Odéon.'' Not, however, that members of the companies of these theatres only are eligible.
'The original designation of the Club, however, has been changed, and more than once. It became first the ''Petites Vedettes,'' then the ''Mentons-Bleus,'' or Blue Chins. To-day it is known fondly as the ''Guignot,'' and the monthly symposium is thus a monthly Punch Dinner. But once a year, in this present month of January, the Punch dinner takes the form of supper; and, on these occasions, the Punchmen have a pretty custom of asking a lady - of course, a member of the profession - to preside. The first lady president was Mdme. Blanche Pierson, of the Gymnase. One of her successors was Mdme. Alice Lavigne, the désopilante soubrette of the Palais Royal. Last year Mdlle. Cheirel took the chair and the other night the revels were ruled by Mlle. Mariette Sully, the bewtiching heroine of Audran's Poupée, who found under her serviette a counterfeit presentment of herself as she appears upon the stage of the Gai:té - a Doll of Dolls, which a floral tribute in her wooden hands, the offering of the gallant Guignol.
'After reflection, and with the cigarettes, comes the literary portion of the entertainment. This habitually takes the peculiarly Parisian form of a ''revue,'' or rhymed skit upon things in general, as wicked and as witty as the club pens can make it. Sarah in excelsis, Sarcey in his critic's seat, and M. Antoine in the shades, formed its features on this occasion.
'The whole concluded with a tombola, conducted on professional lines, and lasting till the traditional baked apples had all given out.'
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Tuesday, 12 January 1897, p. 3c)

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Rita Barrington dances in
In Gay Piccadilly,
Grand Theatre, Birmingham, 1899

Rita Barrington

Rita Barrington (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English dancer,
as she appeared as The Blue Bird in the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk,
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1899

(photo: Hana, London, 1899/1900)

'AMUSEMENTS IN BIRMINGHAM . . .
'GRAND THEATRE. - Proprietor and Manager, Mr J. W. Turner. - Mr Dan Leno is attracting huge houses here, where he is the life and soul of the new musical farce, In Gay Piccadilly, which is being played for the first time in Birmingham by Mr Milton Bodés company. The many disguises he assumes in his rôle of a comic detective, his patter, and his extraordinary antics are excruciatingly funny. Mr Dan Leno is well supported by Mr Johnnie Danvers as Ebenezer Tinketop, Mr. George Sinclair, and Mr Tim Riley. Miss Florence Darley, Miss Emily Stevens, and Miss Lillie Young all played well. Miss Beatrice Willey sang very sweetly as Lady Molly, and Miss Adie Boyne, a clever little comedienne, created much fun as Gladys Ada; and mention must be made of the exceedingly pretty dance which was beautifully executed by Miss Rita Barrington.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 11 November 1899, p. 23a)

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Robert Courtneidge eliminates ladies'
hats and bonnets, London, 1908

Robert Courtneidge et al

on the set of Tom Jones, left to right, Robert Courtneidge, producer and part author of
Tom Jones (Apollo Theatre, London, 17 April 1907);
Alexander M. Thompson, part author; Edward German, composer; and Charles H. Taylor, lyrist

(photo: probably Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1907)

'Mr. Robert Courtneidge has made a commendable effort to restore the vogue of Comic Opera, by his magnificent production of Tom Jones, which has taken London by storm and which nightly plays to packed houses and is certainly destined to a very long run. London owes a great debt to Manchester, where Mr. Courtneidge's early triumphs were made with his scholarly Shakespearean productions and his inimitable pantomimes. In 1903 he produced, in London, for Mr. George Edwardes, The Duchess of Dantzic, and since then he has given us The Blue Moon and The Dairymaids.
'Those who have been fortunate enough to meet Mr. Courtneidge have at once felt the strength of his personality, and in him we have that happy combination, the artist and the astute man of business. Patience, eagerness and an absolute masterly of detail are his chief characteristics, and the result of these good qualities is seen in the excellence of the pieces that are produced under his management and personal supervision.'
(The Play Pictorial, no. 58, vol. X, 'Tom Jones' edition, London, 1907, p. 28)

'Courtneidge has grappled with the problem of women's hats and feels certain that he will eliminate one of the most objectionable features of the English playhouses. On every ticket sold at the Queen's [Theatre, London,] is printed the following notice:
'''Ladies are kindly requested to not that this ticket is sold on condition that they will remove their hats or bonnets during the performance.''
'What is perhaps more important, the management intends to enforce the rule. Should one of the fair sex persistently refuse to comply, she will be politely but firmly asked to leave the theater, and her money handed back to her as she departs with hauteur.
'Of course this is by no means the first attempt that has been made to force the ladies to doff their hats for the benefit of those behind. But all previous attempts have failed, and it remains to be seen whether this one will fair any better. There is an attempt on record, however, which proved temporarily effective. During the performance at one of the largest theatres in Liverpool, a very prominent man-about-town stood up in his place in the stalls and announced in a loud voice that he would remain standing until the hats in front of him which obstructed his view of the performance had been removed. Other sufferers immediately followed his example and finally the manager was compelled to announce that the performance would not be resumed until all hats had been removed. The ladies capitulated.'
(The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, 24 May 1908, p. 6c)

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© John Culme, 2009