Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 27 June 2009

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

Bijou Russell on a tour of
UK music halls in the song-scena,
I Must Trouble You to Pack
Your Trunk To-night
, 1908

Bijou Russell

Bijou Russell (fl. early 20th Century)
American vaudeville singer and sand dancer,
billed at the Empire, Brighton, Sussex, in June 1902 as
'buck dancer and coon shouter'

(photo: Heberger, Rochester, New York, circa 1904)

'Miss Bijou Russell, at the Hippodrome, West Bromwich, produced during the present week, in front of Messrs. John P. Harrington and Joseph Tabrar's clever song-scena, I Must Trouble You to Pack Your Trunk To-night, which this lady is making such a phenomenal success with, a new song, entitled ''Bilbao,'' from the gifted pen of Mr. Harry Marlow, author-composer of that famous song ''Bayou.'' Advices from West Bromwich to the Monte Carlo Publishing Co., who issue both numbers, state that the new song was a ''terrific hit''; in fact, ran the principal item in Miss Russell's turn aforesaid very close indeed.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 11 April 1908, p. 23a)

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Maudie Thornton, Alec Worcester,
Foster Courtenay, Hilda Guiver,
William Everard and Chrissie Ralland
head the cast of The Merry Widow,
His Majesty's Theatre, Johannesburg,
Monday, 30 March 1908

Chrissie Ralland

Chrissie Ralland (b. circa 1882),
American-born English actress and dancer

(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1905/06)

'The road to records is being rapidly travelled by The Merry Widow in London, and the delightful comedy-opera bids fair to take a similar course in South Africa. Its first appearance in Johannesburg, where it was presented by the Wheeler-Edwardes company on March 30, drew the élite of the town to His Majesty's Theatre, and the verdict pronounced was overwhelmingly in its favour. The staging is said to represent high-water mark in the history of South African theatrical enterprise, and the work of all the leading members of the company is incomparably better, taken all round, than anything previously seen there.
'The production went with an exhilarating swing, and the principals were cheered to the echo. Laughter lasted all the while Mr. Foster Courtenay was on the stage, his depiction of Baron Popoff being marked by drollery of an original kind. Miss Maudie Thornton, too, came in for high honours in the title-rôle, her assumption of which was marked by both delicacy and power, while her dancing gained great admiration. While her dancing gained great admiration. The flirtatious Prince was in the talented hands of Mr. Alec Worcester, whose finished portrayal won wide appreciation; special commendation was earned by Miss Hilda Guiver as Natalia Popoff; the pretty dancing of Miss Chrissie Ralland [as Frou-Frou] came in for warm commendation; Mr. Wm. Everard was the Vicomte; and the other members of the skilfully selected company all proved their worth.
'The sumptuous character of the dresses may be gathered from a description of two of Miss Thornton's costumes. In Act 1 she appeared in a gown of white chiffon with a design of gold sequins over pale pink chiffon and silk. The skirt, which had novel panel effects, bordered with gold fringe, had a deep hem of pale blue panne. The smart bodice had the new small sleeves edged with tiny pink roses, and should straps of sequins. The exquisite ''sorti de bal'' was of faint mauve chiffon with loose sleeves. The coat was bordered with raised silver braid, with narrow Parma violet velvet, and was edged inside with violet and pink floral effects.
'In Act 2 Miss Thornton wore the Montenegrin national costume of black Oriental satin, the skirt bordered with massive gold and pastel blue embroideries, with a girdle of black and pale blue tissue with gold fringe. With this she wore a handsome, loose-sleeved short coat of white satin, embroidered in gold, with a faint outline of black, and a heavily gold-embroidered Zouave, and white and gold chemisette. Her quaint head-dress was of silver tissue, with raised gold foliage and white plumes.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 2 May 1908, p. 19b)

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Gaby Deslys dines at the
Hotel Metropole,
Brighton, Sussex,
Monday, 25 January 1915

Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer

Gaby Deslys (1881-1920), French actress, dancer and singer,
with her long-time dancing partner,
Harry Pilcer (1885-1961), American dancer and choreographer

(photo: Talbot, Paris, circa 1913)

A Crowd of Diners at The Hotel Metropole.
'On Sunday evening The Hotel Metropole was again the cheeriest place in all Brighton. Charming music, soft lights, and the scent of flowers were just the sort of surroundings everyone wanted, for the atmosphere outside was raw and cols; within all was warmth and comfort. There is always someone of interest to be seen in or about the hotel, and amongst the celebrities of the footlights there just now is Mdlle. Gaby Deslys. Her sables are wonderful, but her pearls even more so, some being as large as cob nuts. Parisian dress of le dernier cri was exploited and the renowned actress was a centre of attraction. The mode of dressing her hair is probably the latest craze from the French capital, but is eccentricity bodes of a curious originally. She was altogether a fascinatingly interesting personage.'
(Brighton & Hove Society, Brighton, Sussex, Thursday, 28 January 1915, p. 5a/b)

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© John Culme, 2009