Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 5 December 2009

A random selection of cuttings
from newspapers and magazines

Constance Courtenay on tour in
The Shop Girl, England, 1895

Constance Courtenay

Constance Courtenay (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English actress and vocalist

(photo: Frank Dickins, London, 1895)

'Miss Constance A. Courtenay, a young actress who undertakes the part of Lady Dodo Singleton [created at the Gaiety, London, 24 November 1894 by Helen Lee, and afterwards played in succession by Marie Halton, Maud Sherman, Maggie Roberts and Grace Palotta] in Messrs. Morell and Mouillot's [touring] Shop Girl Company, is a pupil of the Royal College of Music; she has had the benefit of the admirable training of Professor Blower in voice-production, and Mr. John D'Auban had little difficulty in teaching her dancing and deportment - indeed, he reckons her among his most accomplished pupils. This is Miss Courtenay's first professional appearance, it may be remarked, but, as an amateur, she carried away some of the chief honours when the College played Le Roi l'a Dit before the Queen at Windsor and at the annual matinée, which was held at the Prince of Wales's Theatre last spring. She appeared as the Marquis de la Bluette, her charming voice and her graceful figure in the costume of the Louis Quartorze period evoking much approval. In The Shop Girl, Miss Courtenay's rendering of "Over the Sea and Far Away" is nightly encored.'
(The Sketch, London, Wednesday, 4 September 1895, p.309a)

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Albert Chevalier and Vesta Tilley
at the Tivoli, London, January 1903

Vesta Tilley

Vesta Tilley (1864-1952), music hall male impersonator and pantomime principal boy,
posed after Henry Wallis's painting, The Death of Chatterton (1856), at the Tivoli music hall, London, January 1903

(photo: Bassano, London, 1902/03)

'What a delightful pleasure it is to have Mr. Chevalier back at the Tivoli. I most heartily congratulate the "management" on securing him. Mr. Chevalier's influence was magical. He made the house his own and had even the attendants coming out of their corners to watch him. He gave us "The Fallen Star," "The Yokel in Love," "Mafeking Night," and "Our Bazaar," and every time he scored, outdistancing all his competitors in the programme by centuries of delicate art.
'By looking at the bill you might suppose that literature as well as Mr. Chevalier has come to the halls. But as a matter of fact Miss Vesta Tilley's picture of the poor poet is not very poetical. If Dr. Masson and the commentators saw her Chatterton they would scarcely recognise him except by the copy of the famous picture of his death which Miss Tilley enacts. Her first song, in which she impersonates an Eton boy out on the "spree," is not particularly edifying, and the last lines of the chorus are very typical of music-hall "prosody" : -

'"I'm following father's footsteps, YES
"I'm following dear old dad." [sic]

'Why throw all your weight on the YES or BUT? Why not "now," which would carry on the sense and finish the line as well? There is enough of quantity for your money at the Tivoli with its nineteen items - notably Mr. Harry Lauder (who is really funny), Mr. Gus Elen, and a pantomimette, Cinderella.'
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 21 January 1903, p.108a)

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Lydia Lopokova and The Marion Morgan Dancers
appear together in American vaudeville, Spring 1915

Lydia Lopokova

Lydia Lopokova (1892-1981), Russian dancer

(photo: unknown, circa 1915)

'Lydia Lopokova is a charming little dancer, trained in the thorough Russian school of Pavlowa, Mordkin and Volinine. She came to vaudeville assisted by the Morgan dancers - six young women, who interpret an Egyptian ballet of angular arm gestures, a Greek bacchanal and a number - the best of their repertoire - descriptive of the Roman games.
'Mlle. Lopokova herself appears in three divertissements - the first a pizzicato ballet danced to the music of Delibes, the second the Xylophone (Ivanoff), and finally the Russian National Dance. This is invested with a compelling Tartar fire and Slav artistry. Mlle. Lopokova is an able and pretty dancer. She lacks the drama and passion of Pavlowa, but she possesses a delightful grace, an excellent skill of pantomime and a splendid technique. There is a fresh girlishness in Lopokova's dancing where there is an infinite drama in Pavolwa's art.
'The specialty is well arranged. The Morgan dancers are the most spontaneous of the classic interpreters yet observed in vaudeville. There is a pagan joy of nature in their dancing. They give thoroughly interesting assistance to Mlle. Lopokova.'
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 28 April 1915, p.16a)

The Morgan Dancers

The Morgan Dancers 'In an Interpretative Egyptian Dance.'

(photo: Ira L. Hill's Studio, New York, 1915)

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© John Culme, 2009