Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 2 october 2004

A random selection of cuttings
from newspapers and magazines

Canadian Matinee at Drury Lane,
London, June 1900,
organized by Franklin McLeay

King John

Franklin McLeay as Hubert de Burgh and Charles Sefton as Prince Arthur
in H. Beerbohm Tree's production of Shakespeare's King John,
Her Majesty's Theatre, London, 20 September 1899.

(photo: The Biograph Studio, London, 1899)

'Organized by Mr. Franklin McLeay, a matinee was given at Drury Lane Theatre yesterday "as an expression of sympathy from the dramatic profession," in aid of the sufferers from the recent disastrous fire at Ottawa and of the Canadian Patriotic Fund Association for the relief of the families who may suffer through the losses sustained by the Western Colonial contingents in South Africa. Even in these days of monster entertainments it is doubtful whether a programme could be arranged to surpass that of yesterday for sustained interest and uniform excellence.
'The house was packed from floor to ceiling by an audience which had assembled with the full determination of enjoying themselves. They were in their places soon after the turn of noon. Encores were persistently demanded and freely accorded, with the result that the roof of the old House was still ringing with laughter and applause when pleasure-seekers were making their way to the evening shows at other theatres. Sir Henry Irving, who appeared in Dr. Conan Doyle's pathetic sketch, Waterloo, had the heartiest of receptions. Scarcely less warm was the welcome accorded Mr. George Alexander and Miss Fay Davis in that charming little piece, A Patched up Affair. Mr. Beerbohm Tree appeared for the first time in an act of Othello, and gave a rugged and powerful sketch of one of the most inscrutable of Shakespeare's characters. Mr. Franklin McLeay was an excellent Iago.
'Amongst a host of other contributors to the gaiety of the afternoon were Mrs. Beerbohm Tree, Miss Edna May, Miss Lily Hanbury, Miss Irene Vanburgh, Miss Katie Seymour, Mr. E.S. Willard, Mr. Albert Chevalier, Mr. Edmund Payne, Mr. Lewis Waller, Mr. Dan Leno, and Mr. C[harles] Warner. Musical excerpts were made form The Messenger Boy, Florodora, An American Beauty, and H.M.S. Pinafore. It was altogether a most successful affair.'
(The Daily News, London, Wednesday, 20 June 1900, p.3b)

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Lily Elsie, G.P. Huntley and Owen Nares
in Pamela,
a comedy with music
by Arthur Wimperis and Frderic Norton,
Palace Theatre, London, 10 December 1917

Lily Elsie

Lily Elsie as she appeared in the title role of Pamela

(photo: Rita Martin, London, 1917)

'I cannot remember having ever seen so many people connected with the stage present at the first night of a new play as were at the Palace Theatre the other evening for the first performance of Pamela. Authors, managers, actors, and actresses were everywhere. Actresses, it is true, outnumbered the actors by three to one, and the familiar voices could be heard very often when, owing to the crowd, their fair owners were not to be seen. This, of course, only occurred when we were leaving the theatre. From 8 to 11.30 was a long time to remain silent, and there was some ground to be made up.
'There was much to talk about. The night had been an eventful one, and its great features were many. Lily Elsie sang never so gloriously. "Cupid, Cupid" is the best song Fred Norton has written. Her silver and blue Turkish costume for that wonderful waltz, too, will be the envy of every woman. The waltz was a tour de force. An astute friend of mine says that that third-act scene should have been the interior of the sale de jeu. The crowded gambling-room would have been a more effective background for the waltz, and the quarrel and reconciliation that followed, than the exterior of the little casino.
'I have never seen G.P. Huntley happier. He was at his best. Arthur Wimperis had written him a good part, and he certainly was very, very funny. Owen Nares was very much in earnest, very sincere, of course, but I am not certain that his part in a musical play required such serious treatment as he gave it. Mary O'Farrell, Spencer Trevor, Arthur Chesney, George Tawde, and particularly Clifford Cobbe, were excellent, but the others I did not care about. Lily Elsie looked like a princess, and when it's like that well, there you are!'
(The Weekly Dispatch, London, Sunday, 16 December 1917, p.5f)

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Make Believe,
Children's Review, Lyric, Hammersmith,
West London, December 1918

'It is not given to everyone to understand the sense of humour of children. They are, I fear, little philistines, and admire the rough and tumble of the pantomimes which are not supposed to be good for them. [J.M.] Barrie understands them well enough. He has genius. The new children's review and pantomime which opened Mr. Arnold Bennett's dramatic venture at the Lyric, Hammersmith, on Christmas Eve, is a tasteful affair. It is largely performed by children themselves; the scenery is in the proper style of nursery books; Mr. A.A. Milne's dialogue is witty and freakish; Mr. C.E. Burton's lyrics are very neat and precise; and Mr. Georges Dorlay's music is much better than the usual thing in pantomime music.
'yet with all these excellent qualities Make Believe is not an ideal children's play. The authors have laughed at children, and not with them. To a great extent this may be altered when the piece has run a few days. The clever producer, Mr. Nigel Playfair, may see to that by cutting out some of the scenes, especially "The Princess and the Woodcutter," rather a pointless fairy tale, and by insisting on a more robust spirit of burlesque in the acting. The piece might very well being in the Heal Nursery, but it must be objected that children to no like dreams.
''Luckily Make Believe improves as it goes along. The rather dull introduction in which a couple of children, daughters of the Muse of the drama (very brightly played by Misses Angela and Herminone Baddeley) call for help from the audience in the construction of a review, might well be omitted. The pirates on the island, whither two naughty children, put to bed in the afternoon, dream themselves is good, but their adventures are not quite amusing enough. The remaining acts dealing with Father Christmas and the Hubbard family are better. All children will be glad to see Bluebeard, Robinson Crusoe, and Red Riding Hood in the flesh, and grown-ups will be delighted with Mr. Milne's gentle wit.'
(E.A.B., The Daily News, London, Friday, 27 December 1918, p.5a)

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John Culme, 2004