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no. 381

Saturday, 1 January 2005

Christmas pantomimes in London, 1883 -

Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane;
Cinderella; or, Harlequin Humpty Dumpty at Sanger's Circus;
Little Red Riding Hood at Her Majesty's Theatre

Drury Lane, Sanger's, Her Majesty's, Christmas 1883

Cinderella, Drury Lane, with Harry Payne, Emma Palladino and Kate Vaughan;
Cinderella; or, Harlequin Humpty Dumpty, Sanger's, with Little Sandy;
Little Red Riding Hood, Her Majesty's, with the Vokes Sisters and their brother, Fred

(engraving signed 'W.H.S', The Penny Illustrated Paper, London, Saturday, 29 December 1883, pp.424 and 425)

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Cinderella, Drury Lane, Christmas, 1883

Kate Vaughan

Kate Vaughan in the title role Cinderella, Drury Lane, Christmas, 1883

(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1883)

'Cinderella is perhaps the best of al the popular pantomime subjects, and this is the story which the most poetic of all writers of this staple has this season utilised for the Drury Lane annual. Mr. Augustu Harris has done very justice to the excellent material which has been furnished by Mr. [E.L.] Blanchard, and has produced specatualar comicality with much sumptuousness. The scenery is in every sense complete and beautiful; the dresses are, on the whole, most rich and rare, and the music by Mr. Oscar Barrett has been most tastefully selected and composed. The scene in which a sylvan spot gets instantaneously peopled with scores of girls in garments and colours which suggest fox-hunting is wondrously bright and effective, as also is the grand ensemble, in which the extensive parade of nursery tales takes place. This last feature is the spectacular item of the "show." With artists like Messrs. Beverley, Grieve, and Emden, the scenery would be certain to be good. The comicality is capitally acted, and all concerned seem to play harmoniously together. The Cinderella is Miss Kate Vaughan, who makes a modest heroine. Miss Vaughan is not endowed with a great physique; when she is not in close proximity to the footlights she cannot well be heard. She knows her weakness, and makes her plans accordingly. She has a small voice, but it is of musical quality. It need scarcely be said that Miss Vaughan dresses well, or that she dances most gracefully, for all this may be taken for granted. The Prince is played by Miss Minnie Mario, who acts, sings, and dances excellently, and who seems thoroughly well versed in the business of the whole pantomime. The Prince's attendant is Miss Dot Mario, who, like her sister, acquits herself thoroughly well of her various duties. The Baroness Filletoville is played by Miss M.A. Victor, who infuses most desirable spirit into her acting. Her good influence is communicated to all those around her, for never, when she is on the stage, does the fun give out waning symptoms. As her two daughters, Blondine and Brunette, Messrs. Harry Nicholls and Herbert Campbell bring about lots of merriment by their excellent acting, their songs, dances, and numerous devices. These two actors work capitally together in double harness, and by their distinct methods accentuate each other's virtues. Miss Kate Sullivan, as the Fairy Godmother, speaks her lines clearly and well, and her style of vocalism is well suited to a large establishment like Drury Lane. Mr. G[eorge] Lupino makes a capital and most active Spirit of Mischief; Mr. J.W. Hanson's droll genius is not allowed anything like an opportunity; Master [? David] Abrahams is an active cat; and Mr. Fred Storey, as General Sharpwitz, gets immensely applauded for the grotesque dance he executes. The children under Miss [Katti] Lanner's care - several of whom are youthful to a fault - reflect very competent training; the Rosa Troupe dance agreeably, while Mlle. [Emma] Palladino "brings down the house" by her clever and vigorous exploits. Many other good points in this excellent pantomime we have not the necessary space to dwell upon. Suffice for the present to say that Cinderella is one of the very best pantomimes that have ever been seen at Drury Lane. The harlequinade is under the control of Mr. Harry Payne, a veritably master in this line of comic art.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 29 December 1883, p.11b)

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Cinderella; or, Harlequin Humpty Dumpty,
Sanger's Circus, London, Christmas 1883

Little Sandy

Little Sandy, said to have been Queen Victoria's favourite clown,
whose real name was Alexander Coleman. He died at the age of 53 in 1903.

(photo: Fritz Borntraeger, Wiesbaden, 1873)

'On the page devoted to an Engraving of a Christmas Circus, I have ventured to suggest to Messrs. Sanger that they should re-establish a Hippodrome as a lasting institution all the year round in London. They now boast that theirs is "the only Circus in London." They maintain their good repute by engaging "twelve funny Clowns, headed by Little Sandy," who, as will be seen fro our centre Illustration [above] is well in the hunt this time. This Kangaroo Hunt is the novelty of Sangers' season; and the Manager is rather sore because, as he alleges, the idea had been borrowed at another house. Mrs. Frank Green and Mr. Oswald Allen have written Cinderella; or, Harlequin Humpty Dumpty, for Sangers'; and the customary grand zoological procession figures in the opening. The strength of the pantomime company may be imagined when it is stated that it comprises Messrs. Arthur Goodrich, C.M. Rodney, Charles Steyne, Arthur Leslie, Harry Rickards, Little Sandy, A. Lauraine, James Crockett, Master O'Brady, and Jolly George Lewis; Mesdames Carlotta Zerlina, Polly Randall, Miss St. Clair, Rose Garibaldi, Edith Gower, Ruth Rose, Fanny Saville, Maud Montressor, Ivy Leigh, Edith Vaucher, Bertie Irving, Amy Lambert, Corella Sylvester, Kate Lester, Ella Norman, Nellie Little, and Julia Bullen. In the "Hall of Magnificence" appear animals, birds, and reptiles, camels of Arabia, sacred bulls from Egypt, Arabian white horses, the smallest and handsomest ponies to be found, kangaroos, pelicans; also the prodigious white elephant. This splendid animal will be on view in the pantomime during the Christmas festivities, after which it will take its departure to America, to join Adam Forepaugh's "gigantic show." The Reptile Hunters and Serpent Charmers, in native costume, also figure in the grand procession.'
(The Penny Illustrated Paper, London, Saturday, 29 December 1883, p.422b)

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Little Red Riding Hood,
Her Majesty's Theatre, London, Christmas 1883

Fred Vokes

Fred Vokes

(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, circa 1872)

'At Her Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket, the fable of Little Red Riding Hood is worked out with a fidelity to tradition for which great credit should be given to Mr. R. Barker, who has thoroughly rehearsed this pantomime. The Vokes family, headed by the nimble Fred, will prove the chief attraction her, naturally. They are welcome back to London. But we miss pretty Rosina. Essentially a pantomime for the children, paterfamilias can with confidence take his family to this large and handsome house, sure of being comfortably seated and of being tickled by the good-humoured style in which Little Red Riding Hood is represented. Written brightly by Mr. Frank Green, it is enacted most briskly; and the company at Her Majesty's includes not only Mr. Fred Vokes and Misses Jessie and Victoria Vokes, but also Miss Marie Williams, Miss Julia Seaman, Miss Clara Jecks, Miss Emily Miller, Mdlle. Sampietro, Mr. Fred. Vokes, Mr. T.F. Nye, and Mr. C. Paulo, with grand ballets, and a merry Harlequinade Company.'
(The Penny Illustrated Paper, London, Saturday, 29 December 1883, p.422b)

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