BL 2 September 2008
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BL 31 October 2008
'SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKS, THE COMEDIAN. - We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand, on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time from a drospical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic theatre, which his genial natural ating made him a great favourite with the public. His impersonation of the old sailor in the drama of the Lighhouse, and many similar sketches of character will long be remembered by playgoers.'
(The Daily News, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 7d)
'Death of Mr. George Cooke.
'A painful sensation on Thursday morning was created in theatrical circles by the intelligence that Mr. George Cooke, the favourite comedian of the Olympic Theatre, had destroyed himself under the pressure of a fit of insanity, arising, as it is believed, from long-continued illness of a serious nature. As a genial actor Mr. George Cooke had for the last fifteen years occupied a high position at the Strand and Olympic Theatres, and his death under the above deplorable circumstances will be deeply regretted both by the public and his professional brethren.'
(The Era, London, Sunday, 8 March 1863, p. 11b)
'A ''second edition of the Manchester Theatre Royal pantomime of Dick Whittington, Manchester, was produced on Monday night. The scenery is worthy of a house like the Theatre Royal; the ballets are full of variety and beauty; and the acting, particularly of the ladies of the company, is always spirited and charming. Miss Bessie Bonehill's assumption of Dick Whittington has become very popular, and the grace and refinement of Miss Carrie Coote as Zaidee, and Florence Bankhart as Alice, have had much to do with the success of the pantomime. The part of Dolly Dimple was originally a small one, but Miss Nellie Navette has gradully made it more and more prominent, until she is now one of the first favourites of the pantomime.'
(The Manchester Times, Manchester, Saturday, 15 February 1890, p. 6c)
'A BRILLIANT scene was witnessed on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Manchester, last Saturday night, on the occasion of the last performance of the successful pantomime Dick Whittington. Innumerable bouquets had been sent to the principal ladies - Miss Bessie Bonehill, whose lively impersonation of Dick has made her a greater favourite than ever in Manchester; Miss Carrie Coote, Miss Nellie Navette, Miss Gipsy Lawrence, and others; and in the banquet scene the stage was a mass of flowers. On account of indisposition Miss Florence Bankhardt was unable to appear as Alice, and the part was played by Miss Navette, who occupied the carriage with Miss Bonehill in the Lord Mayor's scene. The carriage was laden with bouquets. The large audience expressed thier delight by frequent and enthuaiastic cheers.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 8 Marcy 1890, p. 10a)
'STRAND THEATRE. - PASSION WEEK.
'MONSTER ENTERTAINMENTS each Evening (Friday excepted.) Fitzgerald's Olio of Whim and Humour, Men and Manners - Roscian Recollections of Eminent Actors, living and dead - Grand Diertissement introducing Mons. Richarde, Mdlle. Clari, and the celebrated Corps de Ballet - Grand Concert by Miss Harriet Gordon, Miss Thirlwall, Miss E. Jacobs, Miss Adeline Cotterell, Mr. Frank Hall, and Mr. Charles Sloman - Mr. H. Seymour Carleton's Imitations - A variety of Entertainments and a grand BALLET L'ETOILE; or, THE SPIRIT OF AIR, by M. Richarde, Mdlle. Clari, and full Corps de Ballet.'
(The Era, London, Sunday, 16 March 1856, p. 1a)
'The friends of Miss Rosee Heath will be pleased to learn that there is a slight improvement in her condition. The physician attending her hopes that another three months of rest will restore her to health.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 24 October 1891, p. 16d)
'THE ROSEE HEATH FUND.-
'MR EDWARD SWANBOROUGH
'begs leave to Return his Sincere Thanks to the Ladies and Gentlemen for the following Subscriptions towards this sad case; also Mrs Heath, 2, Artillery-buildings, Victoria-street, Westminster...'
The various donations including those from other well-known music hall celebrities, including Millie Hylton and Marie Le Blanc, as well as the Music Hall Benevolent Fund.
(The Era, London, Saturday, 11 April 1891, p. 23e)
'MISS ROSEE HEATH.
'TO THE EDITOR OF THE ERA.
'Sir, - I red with great regret in your last impression of the dreadful affliction that has befallen this lady, and thought it so deserving a case that I have collected at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, the sum of £5 5s. 3d., which I enclose herein, together with the names of the donors. Will you be good enough to publish this, and oblige yours faithfully,
'MILLIE HYLTON. Feb. 19th. 1891'
The list includes Millie Hylton herself (£1.1s.), Mrs Nye Chart, Mr T. Costello, Mr Sims, Miss Adelaide Astor and others.
(The Era, London, Saturday, 21 February 1891, p. 17c)
The Empress, Cardiff
'Mr. Charles Coborn's visit to Cardiff this week ought to be a sufficient draw in itslef to take every lover of a good song to the Empire. ''Four Little Fingers and a Thumb'' is one of the nattiest and most perfectly natural little ditties one can hear anywhere, and it is impossible to thing of the song without pucturing Charles Coburn and his own inimitable way of singing it. It was the last of the five numbers that he gave on Monday evening, and, without detracting from the merits of the other four, it must be said that it was the best. With the exception of this old favourite, the other songs are quite new.'
(Western Mail, Cardiff, Wales, Tuesday, 27 Febraury 1900, p. 7e)
The Washington music hall
'Miss Pearl Penrose is, we believe, a new aspirant to music hall fame. She has the natural advantages of good looks, a handsome figure, and an excellent voice; and after she has gained experience and confidence, this young lady ought to have no difficulty in making her way rapidly to the front. In her first song she expresses her sympathy with the ''poor old maids'' who have to pass their lives in ''single blessedness.'' She next sings of ''a nice little plump little country girl'' named Mary, whose eyes are blue. It followes, as a matter of course, that ''her heart is true,'' and that she has other superlative attractions, which should render her irresistible to her numberous admirers. Lastly, Miss Penrose, attired in a smart naval costume, give an admirable rendering of a song entitled ''Shipmates,'' and retires amidst enthusiastic expressions of approval.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 13 June 1891, p. 14b)
The Washington music hall
'Miss Pearl Penrose, one of the latest additions to the rams of the serio-comic sisterhood, is making steady progress, and is a tremendous favourite with the Washingtonians. There is a refinement about Miss Penrose's style which is very pleasing. Her impersonation of the bold outlaw, Robin Hood, is an exceedinly handsome dress of dark green, is a distinct success.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 18 July 1891, p. 14a)
The Washington music hall
'On Monday evening the Washington Music Hall - ''which is down Battersea way'' - was crowded in every part by an audience which had been attracted by the announcements of a special entertainment, the occasion being the celebration of the completion of Mr Charles Mitchell's second year of management. The programme was started about seven o'clock, and from that time until past midnight the entertainment was kept briskly going, the stage arrangements under the active supervision of Mr Felix Napoli, assisted by Mr T. Holmes and Mr Fred. Higham, giving the utmost satisfaction . . .
'Miss Park Penrose, whom the chairman announced as ''the Battersea Evening Star,'' scored a success with ''Mary's cheeks are rosy'' . . .'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 October 1891, p. 16b/c)
'MISS PEARL PENROSE was taken seriously ill whilst appearing at the Palace of Varieties, Mancester, and on Monday was conveyed to her residence in town, where she now lied almost prostrate with weakness, brought on by peritonitis.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 4 June 1891, p. 14c)
'Miss Pearl Penrose is now convalescent, and recruiting her strength in the Isle of Wight, and hopes to be well enough to fulfil her engagement at the Empire, Portsmouth, on Aug. 1st.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 July 1892, p. 15d)
'MISS PEARL PENROSE'S restoration to helth has been accomplished by her trip to South Africa. She returns to England in March next.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 22 December 1894, p. 17b)
'A CHAT WITH NELLIE NAVETTE.
'(BY OUR SPECIAL COMMISSIONER.)
'English dancers are holding their own just now with a particular distinction - in the theatre and on the variety stage. And distinguished among English dancers is Miss Nellie Navette, whose success, one thinks, after hearing her life story, is the more creditable to her, because it has been so hardly won. ''I am but at the linnets are, and pipe because I must,'' was the poet's apology. Miss Navette is in a similar case. She was born to dance. In her childhood she was, for a time, in a dancing school, but regarded its methods rather impatiently, and declares that she got her most valuable instruction in the pit of the Alhambra Theatre, where she would take her seat, and watch the artists on the stage. At home she would practise and practise [sic] with tireless energy till she was able to reproduce what she had seen. The weary routine of the ballet school did not long engage her, and she was a principal dancer while some of her colleagues were still wrestling with their rudiments. Miss Navette is inclined to think that the irregularity of her training has had a good deal to do with her eventual success. She is characteristic in her style or nothing, and she has a vigorous hatred of the conventional.
'Miss Navette's first public appearance was made some sixteen years ago at the Canterbury, where in those days they had a permanent ballet and devoted much attention to spectacular productions. The principal dancer was Miss Topsy Elliott, but recently recovered from the dreadful accident that happened to her at the Surrey Theatre - she was nearly burned to death. Miss Navette was one of four little girls who did a little dance distinguished from the evolutions of the ballet. They wore blue silk skirts, and Miss Navette used to get into sad trouble because she persistently forgot her blue skirt, her desire being to appear in white only in order that she might have the style and circumstance of the principal dancer. That honor was hers ere long, so precicious was she. She danced in three pantomimes, at the Surrey, the Pavilion, and the Elephant and Castle, meanwhile appearing at music halls, notably the Canterbury and Paragon.
'Shortly afterwards Miss Navette thought she would like to ''better herself,'' and boldly attacked the ballet master at the Alhambra. She was permitted to give an exhibition of her skill; and led to believe that it was highly satisfactory. But positions of distinction, she was told, were only entrusted to dancers of a foreign origin and training. Miss Navette meant to have a position of distinction or nothing, and politely said ''Good morning.'' Shortly afterwards Miss Navette temporarily retired from the stage, and for six years not only did not appear in public, but did not even practice. When at length she determined to return to the professional life, it was in the capacity of a song and dance artist. She was fortunately in making a good engagement at the Trocadero some six years ago. A long engagement shortly ensued at the Alhambra, where, she found, her bold application for the position of principal dancer had not been forgotten.
'One discusses the desirability of associating a song and a dance in a variety turn. Why not dance alone? the combination, it seems, has various advantages. a song with grip the popular memory as a dance alone never can. Asky any frequenter of a music hall to enumerate a dozen songs that he has recently heard, and he will easily do so, but ask him as to half a dozen dances, and he is in difficulties at once. Then a verse or two of a song relives a dancing turn from monotony; and, finally, it saves the artist from the physical exhaustion that might ensue were she to dance throughout her turn, say, at four halls. Miss Navette has tiane part in pantomimes from time to time with gratifying success, and appeared incidentally in A Gaiety Girl, at the Prince of Wales's Theatre. She has received several invitations to adopt the theatrical stage, and dance henceforth in burlesque or musical comedy, but has refused them, for she thinks that, apart from any other consideration, the confinement of the theatre would be intolerable. Miss Navette has a healthy English love of the open air, and her residence is conveniently situated for up-river trips. During the better part of the summer she ''paddles her own canoe,'' as the song says, or used to say. The constant process of rehearsal would prevent her from engaging in this plesant pastime - in the music halls rehearsal is practically unknown, which may be the better for the music hall, or the worse.
'But there is your daily practice, Miss Navette? one says, whereat the lady opes wide her eyes in wonderment. ''My daily practice?'' she says, ''oh, I never practice, at least not in the way of daily exercises. Of course, a new dance has to be learned. The process of learning? Well, I must tell you that my dances are not cut and dried, and imparted to me by a teacher. They are absolutely my own, suggested to me by the music. That is where my inspiration invariably comes from. I listed to the melody, and then being to shape out a dance with my fingers on the table. When I have got it into my mind I set to work on it. 'Tis a great deal of trouble becoming the mistress of a new dance, for I am so determined that there shall be nothing in one dance to remind the audience of any other dance in my repertory.''
'Do I think that English audiences understand dancing? Well, I am quite sure that they appreciate dancing; but I am bound to say that ingenious 'faking' will very often command as much applause as a faultlessly artistic performance. Notwithstanding, no true lover of dancing would ever 'fake.' Yes, there is a certain distinction, but not a very remrakable distinction, betwen a West-end and and East-end audience. At the East-end one hs to aim at broader effects. Having I ever taught dancing? I receive so many letters making this inquiry. I have from time to time given lessons, but it has been more or less in the way of friendship to a colleague. I have no dislike to the occupation when a pupil is intellignet, eager, and painstaking; but there are some people to whom one could not impart the art of dancing in a hundred years. I think that the good dancers are born.
'''There is, as you suggest, a difficulty in getting songs that accommodate themselves readily to a dance - so great a difficulty that for a long time I have found it more convenient to concoct them myself, with the aid of a friend. My dresses, too, are mostly of my own imagining. A weakness for boy's dress? Well, I like the freedom of a boy's dress, although it renders a dance more difficult in one respect. Skirts hide a multitude of sins in dancing. I ahve once or twice done a song without a dance. My 'Lady Cricketer' was my one really successful effort in that direction. I used to get a quaint advertisement out of that by throwing little indiarubber balls inscribed with my name among the audience. One night I had the misfortune to hit a genleman in the eye. It did not hurt him seriously, and he was good enough to take it as a joke, but a lady with him was quite furious at the distinction of her squire. A much more charming reminisence of my 'Lady Cricketer' song was the public presentation to me of a bal and ball by Mr Murcoch, of the Australian cricketers. That, of course, is one of my very great treasures. do I think the career of a dancer a good one for a girl? Well, it is a good enough career if one achieves a certain success; but of the rank and file I am bound to say that I do not think their earnings and their opportunities are commensurate with the outlay of time and trouble that is demanded of the beginner.''
'Miss Navette's career has run mostly in London - her experience of the provinces has been extremely short, and harly entitles her, she thinks, to compare provincial with metropolitan audiences in their love of dancing. The real delight that she experiences in her work renders it, no doubt, the easire to her. But she thinks that dancing is a healty occuapation if one takes the proper precautions against violent changes of atmosphere. Miss Navette's fresh face and frank, open manner do not at any rate suggest that there is much of the exotic in her nature. She displays a lamentable want of patience under what she is pleased to term the process of examination - for the sun is shining bright, a fresh breeze is blowing; and, with your gracious leave, she would enjoy them.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 8 June 1895, p. 16e)
Prince of Wales's Theatre, Glasgow
'A small by highly accomplished English Operatic Company, under the management of Messrs Loveday and Summers, opened an engagement at the theatre yesterday evening. The opera was the faourite one of La Sonnambula, Madame Haigh-Dyer performing as Amina, Mdlle. Adele Alessandri as Lisa, Miss Fanny Leng as Teresa, Mr Henry Haigh as Elvino, Mr Henry Rowland as the Count, and Mr Oliver Summers as Alessio. Glasgow audiences are familiar with at least two names in this cast, and it will be readily understood that a performance in which the leading characters were represented by Mr and Madame Haigh was not without more than common interest. The Somnambulist, in its English dress, could hardly have been done greater justice to. Mdlle. Alessandri played and sang the part of the michievous coquette with admirable effect, and Madams Haigh-Dyer, who is scarcely less accomplished as and actress than as a vocalist, gave an exquisite rendering of Amina. Mr Haigh sang and acted with his usual good taste and chasteness of execution, and more than once was pressed to repeat a favourite morsel of the opera. Mr Summers is a good vocalist, and has a vein of humour which serves to relieve the tedium of some of the scenes; his Alessio was a most satisfactory performance. The minor parts of the Count and Dame Teresa were creditably impersonated. The chorus and orchestra were the weak features of the entertainment. both were a little weak in point of numbers, and the effort of the leader to aid the latter by a simultaneous performance on the piano-forte and harmonium is open to the serious objects that in attending to these instruments he can but imperectly preserve the unity and aid the expression of his subordinates. Dibdin't musical burletta, The Quater, following Sonnambula. Miss Leng played Gillian; Miss H. Payne Floretta, Miss Cummings Dame Cicely, Mr Grantham Steady, Mrs Summers Solomon, and Mr Arthur Lubin. To-night Il Trovatore will be performed.'
(Glasgow Herald, Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, 16 June 1868, p. 2f)
'BIRMINGHAM CONCERT HALL. - The proprietors of this establishment have provided several very attractive ''specialities'' for the present week. The clever Leglere troupe perform some astonishing acrobatic feats; Miss Grace Harris brings down the house repeatedly by her well-executed characteristic songs; and the clowns, the Brothers Vercelles, excite a good deal of mirth whenever they make their apprearance. The company also includes Miss Kate Macnamara, soprano; Mr. Hamilton Winter, baritone; and Mr. Harry Elton, comic vocatist.'
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, England, Wednesday, 29 November 1871, p. 8b)
'MR. HENRY LESLIE'S CHOIR.
'The first concert of the season took place last night at St. James's-hall - the programme consisting, as usual, chiefly of madrigals and unaccompanied part songs, the refined and expressive singing of which class of music has earned for this institution so high and special a reputation. White the massive gradeur and sublimity of Handel's choruses is heard to peferction as interpreted by the gigantic choirs of the Sacred Harmonic and National Choral Society; those lighter works, in which delicacy rather than power, refinement rather than strength are requisite, can nowhere be heard to such advantage as at Mr. Henry Leslie's concerts. The selection last night included a genuine old madrigal, ''Stay Corydon,'' by John Wilbye, and some clever modern imitations of this school by Mr. John Barnett and Mr. Pearsall. The form of the madrigal, however, belongs to so conventional a period of art, and offers so little scope for any novelty of thought, that attempts at its reproduction, however, ingenious, can scarcely possess such permanent value. The ''part-song,'' however, being of more modern (German) origin, admits of greater flexibility of style and freedom of expression - as many equisite specimens by Mendelssohn testify. Several examples of this form, by English composers, however, were included in Mr. Leslie's programme last night, one of the most effective being Mr. Calcott's ''First twitter of Spring.'' But the most important vocal piece of the evening was Spohr's ''Ode to St. Cecilia,'' for sporano solo, chorus, and organ accompaniment, in which that master's graceful but somewhat mannered style is thoughtout apparent. Thos chromatic progressions and favourite sequences, which were so charming in the early works of the author of Azor and Aemira, have now lost somewhat of their freshness, and are too minute in detail to be suitable to such a work as the ''Ode to St. Cecilia,'' in which diatonic simplicity and breadth of style would be more appropriate. The fial fugue too is poor in subject and as poor in treatment. Spohr was not a great contrapuntist, and has selcom succeeded in the fugal style, his best specimen being, perhaps, the chorus ''Thine is the Kingdom'' in the Last Judgment. Madame Lemmens-Sherrington, who was the solo soprano, gave her share of the ode with great purity of expression, and was also very successful in a new song of Mr. Leslie's, ''The Lark's Message,'' and an air from Auber's Le Domino Noir. The vocal pieces were varied by the instrumental performances of Herr Blumner (pianoforte), and M. Lotto (violin) - the former gentleman playing Beethoven's thirty-three variations on a original theme in C minor, and Liszt's transcription of Wagner's Tannhauser March; the latter artist giving a concert-piece by Leonhard, and Paganini's ''Witches' Dance.'' Herr Blumner is a pianist of considerable force, but his reading of Beethoven's variations was characterised by far too much tempo rubato for a work so classical in style, and so especially demanding continuity of phrasing. In the transcription, or rather peraphrase, of Wagner's March, Herr Blumner displayed great energy in dashing at the passages of octaves, thirds, &c., with which Liszt has overlaid his subject. M. Lotto's brillian fatasia playing and skilful command over the difficulties of octaves, harmonics, and double stops met with the cordial reception which usually attends his performances. For the ensuing concerts various new compositons are promised, including an anthem for an eight-part choir by Professor Sterndale Bennett. At the second concert on February 4, Madame Arabella Goddard is to play.'
(The Daily News, London, Friday, 18 December 1863, p. 2a)
'PRESENTATION. - On Sunday, the 29th ult., the last night of the entertainment in the Pavilion at Raikes Gardens Blackpool, additional interest was given to the performance by the presentation of a very handsome gold watch to Little Louie Herriot, the marvel of second sight, who has delighted thousands during the season.'
(The Era, London, Sunday, 7 October 1877, p. 4a)
Gatti's, Charing Cross
'An approving eye early rests on Little Elsie, a pretty child with a trevle voice of remarkable strength and quality, who gives the much-hackneyed ''Queen of the Earth'' with a pure tone and good expression that is peculiarly refreshing; while in Asher's dainty ballad ''Alice, where are thou?'' the pitch of the difficult high notes is admirably maintained, and the tremolo - the use of which is not always to be commended - is employed with considerable charm. Altogether the little lady makes a decided hit, floral offerings on Monday night testifying to her success.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 July 1898, p. 16b)
The Tivoli, London, Wednesday
'Miss Maggie Duggan, who returns to London after a most gratifying provincial tour, has lighted on another most successful comedy song, which we may call ''I'm going to get married to-day.'' this is the joyful exclamation of a spinster, who has been for some time on the shelf. From an apparently hopeless maidenhood she has been raised to the seventh heaven of delight by a proposal, for which she has been long prepared. Her wedding dress, made twenty years previously, is a bit old-fashioned it is true, but it will serve, though it has been put away so long that the orange blossoms have become oranges. The whole business of the song is in an intensely humorous vein, and the singer is exuberantly funny with her mincing little trot in a full-panniered costume of white muslin. As the principal boy of a quarter of a century since Miss Duggan repeats the success of her last sojour in town, and proves herself to be an addition to the resourceful comediennes of the day. She is one of the most welcome turns in Mr Dowsett's strong programme.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 October 1899, p. 18a)