Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 10 October 2009

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

a season of French plays at the
St. James's Theatre, London, January, 1845

Pierre le Rouge

a scene from Pierre le Rouge,
St. James's Theatre, London, January 1845,
'in which Pierre tears the unmerited wreath from the head of Jeanneton.'

(from The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 1 February 1845, p. 73)

'The season of these very attractive performances commenced on Monday [27 January 1845], having been postponed from the preceding week, at first announced in the programme. The opening of the French theatrical campaign is, in the dramatic world, what the first primrose is in the natural one - the sign that winter is on the turn, and that preparations are being made to herald in the spring. The migratory birds of fashion collect together again - some from the Continent, others from provincial hybernacula, and others from living through the winter at the backs of their houses, that the blinds might be down, and the shutter-knobs papered in the front, to gain at least the credit of being out of town. The occupants of the boxes at the French plays no longer wish their attendance to remain a secret to the world on account of the unfashionable period, but swell the lists of the distinguished personages reported as having visited the performances during the week.
'The opening of the St. James's Theatre is the avant courier of the Opera; and, simultaneously with it, the West-end begins to show signs of returning animation.
'The house on Monday evening was excellently attended, every box being filled, and the other parts of the house showing few vacant places. Contrary to the usual custom of putting up some insignificant farce, supported by second-rate performers, to ''play the audience in,'' M. Lafont, of the Variétés, and Mdlle. Nathalie both appeared in the first piece - a pleasant vaudeville, entitled Le Mari à la Ville et la Femme à la Campagne. The title of the play may suggest some of the incidents, which were exceedingly light, but sufficiently amusing to keep the audience in great good humour; at the same time it was admirably played throughout. The drama which followed, called Pierre le Rouge, is exceedingly interesting, embracing three epochs - before, during, and after the Revolution; and in this the capabilities of the new performers were admirably developed. They at once established themselves as favourites, and were warmly applauded, being called for at the end of the piece. With respect to M. Lafont, however, it was rather a reappearance than a débût. Some of our readers may remember to have seen him in the same piece at the Lyceum, some years back. Mdlle. Nathalei [sic], as Jeanneton, made a decided impression on the audience. She is a valuable actress.
'The prospectus of the season looks well. Mr. Mitchell promises us many of our old favourites, including Acard, Madam Albert, and Mdlle. Plessy; together with Frederic Lempaitre, and M. Arnal. It is likewise stated that Alexander Dumas has written a comedy, expressly for the company, and will be over here to superintend its production.'
(The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 1 February 1845, p. 73)

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Edna May in The Catch of the Season
at the Olympic, St. Louis, February 1906

Edna May

Edna May (1878-1948), American musical comedy star,
as Olga in The Girl from Up There, Duke of York's, London, 23 April 1901

(photo: unknown, probably New York, 1901)

'At the Olympic Edna May has held forth all week in The Catch of the Season, with her English company and English book, which book is insufferably dull. Business has been good, however, because St. Louis is one of the places where Miss May has always had a vogue. If people like that sort of thing, that's the sort of thing they like.'
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 17 February 1906, p. 12d)

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Marguerite Sylva as Carmen
admired by the German Emperor,
Berlin, 1913

Marguerite Sylva

Marguerite Sylva (1875-1957),
Belgian born actress and vocalist

(photo: unknown, circa 1897)

'Marguerite Sylva was last seen in New York in Gypsy Love, which, though rather above the average musical attraction usually shown on Broadway, failed to appeal to the regular habitue of our incandescent thoroughfare, is to become a regular member of the Royal Opera company in Berlin. Emperor William was so impressed by Miss Sylva during her recent singing of Carmen at the Berlin Opera House that he left the royal for a side box nearer the stage, from which he loudly and persistently applauded the singer, afterward enjoying a prolonged conversation with Miss Sylva.'
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 21 January 1914, p. 5a)

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© John Culme, 2009