Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 9 May 2009

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

Ada Lundberg at the
Empire, Leicester Square, 1890

Ada Lundberg

Ada Lundberg (1850-1899),
English music hall comedienne

(after a drawing by Leonard Raven-Hill
from Pick-Me-Up, London, Saturday, 8 March 1890, p. 375)

'Miss Ada Lundberg is one of the stars of the evening, and she is all that a star should be - a shining light. She makes her first appearance in the recherché costume of the lady who brings round the morning's milk, and after giving herself a careful hitch-up all round to make sure of all the strings, she unties a muscular voice and turns it loose on the audience. My gifted friend, whose sketch is here, and who generously volunteered to hold me down during the performance, expressed the opinion that the lady was worth coming a hundred miles to hear - that is, provided you couldn't hear her a hundred miles away.
'Miss Lundberg is a sort of home-grown Vanoni, and she speaks pure English, with the Whitechapel accent. In her second ''show'' she comes on at the end of a blacking-brush, and tells a blighted slavey's story of a faithless policeman, to the tune of ri-fol-toralidy. The pathetic ballad, sung with a voice that sounded like a couple of files at work on an old brick, was clever in the extreme. At intervals she touches up her auburn tresses with the boot-brush, which also came in handy as a pocket-handkerchief.

A slavey with a voice so sweek,
Toorali-ty, toorali-ty;
Would shake the flagstones in the street,
Toorali-ty, toorali-ty;
'Twould scare the missis from her wits,
And give the kitchen pussy fits,
And break the crockery to bits,
Toorali-ty, toorali-ty.

('Jingle,' Pick-Me-Up, London, Saturday, 8 March 1890, p. 374)

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May Moore Duprez in Zuyder Zee
at the London Hippodrome shares the bill
with a goose, London, Monday, 29 June 1907

May Moore Duprez

May Moore Duprez (1885-1946),
American comedienne and dancer,
popular on the music hall stage in the United Kingdom

(photo: Dobson Studios, Liverpool, circa 1915)

'Feathered Player Who is Likely to Score a Big Success.
'When the Zuyder Zee, the new spectacle at the London Hippodrome, is produced on Monday, the metropolis will have an opportunity of witnessing what can be done with a small part by a clever actress.
'The actress in question is a goose, known to strangers as Hansel and to her intimates as Hans. By dint of sheer talent she passes her five minutes on the stage with uproarious fun.
'With light-hearted abandon she trips on to the stage representing the frozen Zuyder Zee, and acknowledges the plaudits of the audience. Then she joins gaily in a song and dance with the Four Figaros. Gracefully she sweeps to and fro adding her strident voice to the chorus. Eventually she takes her ''curtain'' in the matter-of-fact way of a veteran actress.
'''Quite One of the Family.''
'''We have had Hans for some time,'' said Mr. Figaro to a Weekly Dispatch representative yesterday. ''She is quite one of the family. We always keep her with us, and she refuses to eat unless we feed her out of our hands. Once we had no room for her in our lodgings while we were on tour, so we had to shut her into a theatre for the night. She turned sulky and refused to act at the next performance.''
'Hansel has an understudy, one Gretel. Great is the jealousy between the pair. Hans will not act if Gretel is on the stage and vice versa.
'Truth to tell, Gretel is neither so accomplished not of such equable temperament as Hansel. At rehearsal she had disputes with the stage manager. Often an unwary stage hand has had cause to regret his temerity in patting her. She has an unerring eye for tender spots and a swift and savage bit.
'There have been some amusing incidents in connection with the preparations for the Zuyder Zee spectacle. The second half of the playlet depicts Dutch life during winter. The huge arena is converted into a frozen lake, on which expert skaters disport themselves against a background of men and maidens arrayed in the brightest of colours.
'Lady With Many Qualifications.
'The difficulty of the Hippodrome authorities was to find a lady as principal who could act, sing, dance, and skate. There were many with the three first qualifications, few with the fourth. At last Miss May Moore Duprez was found. She could skate - although she had not practised the art for many years. ''In fact,'' she told a Weekly Dispatch representative, ''not since I was a kiddie hung behind carts in New York with roller skates on.''
'Accordingly skating rehearsals were held. Miss Duprez told ruefully how the man who was teaching her was never near her at critical moments. ''He told me falling would give me confidence,'' she said with a twinkle. And it did. For Miss Duprez has regained all her old skill and can take the chute down which her entry will be made as boldly as any. Miss Duprez is twenty-one old this month.'
(Weekly Dispatch, London, Sunday, 23 June 1907, p. 1d)

'Zuyder Zee, the Dutch extravaganza produced at the Hippodrome on Monday night, is perhaps the most successful achievement in mise en scene to be placed to the account of Mr. Frank Parker. It had the defects of its qualities, the interest and coherence of the story having apparently been severely subordinated. Miss May Moore Duprez, a clever ''delineator'' of Dutch character from America, is a village heroine, with a lady sweetheart - this is Mr. Bert Gilbert's character. They sing, and dance, and chatter sans cesse.'
(Weekly Dispatch, London, Sunday, 30 June 1907, p. 10d/e)

* * * * * * * *

Kathleen Courtney married at
St. Peter's, Eaton Square, London, 1913

Kathleen Courtney

Kathleen Courtney (fl. early 20th Century),
English actress and singer,
as she appeared on tour as Natalie in The Merry Widow

(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1908)

'Miss Kathleen Courtney, who was the leading lady in the revue, Kill That Fly, was married on Thursday at St. Peter's Church, Eaton-square, to Mr. Pierre Miroy, the amateur oarsman. Miss Courtney is the daughter of the late Mr. W.D. Courtney, formerly a well-known music-hall artiste, and amateur billiard champion. Following the bride were three pretty bridesmaids, her sister, Miss Gladys Courtney, Miss Winnie Russell, and Miss Maude Meredith, who wore frocks of white ninon covered with directoire coats of pale pink crêpe de Chine, finished with pale blue sashes. Mr. Jim Janson was best man.'
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 29 October 1913, p. 22b)

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© John Culme, 2009