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Happy Christmas 2003, adapted from Drury Lane pantomime programme, London, 1884

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no. 327

Saturday, 27 November 2003

Footlight Notes Christmas Greetings, 2003


'Hullo, Bob! I'm surprised to see you here. I thought you did not approve of burlesque.'
'Well, I only consented to come to oblige Jack Archer, who wanted to see this thing, and didn't care to do it alone.'
'But Jack isn't here?'
'No; he was taken queer at the last moment, and stayed at home.'

(adapted from Pick-Me-Up, London, Saturday, 14 December 1889, p.161)

* * * * * * * *

the pantomime
Babes in the Wood
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1888

Harry Nicholls and Herbert Campbell

Harry Nicholls and Herbert Campbell
in the title roles of the pantomime, Babes in the Wood,
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1888

(photo: Martin & Sallnow, London, 1888)

'The space at our disposal this week will not permit us to detail the glories of the current pantomimes, which, as a matter of course, are headed by that of Drury Lane, the subject of which is The Babes in the Wood. This annual is most sumptuously produced, and well enacted by a host of well-known performers, among whom are Mesdames Harriet Vernon, F[lorence] Dysart, M[aggie] Duggan, Charteris, Ænea, with Messrs. [Harry] Nichollas, H[erbert] Campbell, [Charles] Lauri, the Brothers Griffiths, W. Andrews, T[om] Pleaon, V[ictor] Stevens, and Dan Leno. The dresses are, as a rule, very beautiful, and some – those imitating the plumage of birds – are curious. The dancing of Messrs. Nicholls and Campbell in the ballet proved a genuine surprise on Boxing Night. These two actors play "The Babes," and, as would be expected, do not treat their allotments at all sentimentally. The scenery is good, the picture by T.E. Ryan, which accompanies the action of the "Bird Ballet," being especially refined and beautiful. The panorama, which has been painted in Dresden, is well executed, and contains a wonderful lot of detail, but it is not luminous. Mr. [Henry] Emden has furnished an effective transformation. Although the name of Mr. E.L. Blanchard appears as a joint-author of this annual, we believe he has not worked in it. Mr. Harry Nicholls has written the book. Mr. [Walter] Slaughter's music is tuneful and good.' (The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 29 December 1888, p.6b)

Florence Dysart

Florence Dysart as principal girl in the pantomime, Babes in the Wood,
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1888

(photo: London Stereoscopic Co, London, 1888)

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© John Culme, 2003