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FOOTLIGHT FLASHES., Issue 10416, 10 September 1897
Our London correspondent, writing on July 23, sayg ; Mr Sutton Vane has just written the book of a new musical comedy to be called • The Bandmaster.’ It is a skit on the Princess Chimay affair. A Bloomsbury pianist, with a soul above his surroundings, passss himself off as the loader of a Blue Hungarian Band, and elopes with a Fabienno dei Franchi, who is descended from the ‘ Corsican Brothers.’ The scope in this plot of Working off humor of the usual musical farcical comedy character seems to be considerable.
The Shaftesbury Theatre, whore the ‘Yashmak’ at present is dragging out an uneventful existence, has been taken by Messrs Williamson and Musgrove from October 15 next, and it is said that they will produce a comedy new to London, but which has met with success at the Antipodes. What the name of the comedy is I do not know, but Mrs Brown Potter and Mr Kryle Bellew, who have sustained the chief parts in Australia, play them also in London.
George H. Chirgwin, the only White-eyed Musical Kaffir, and the idol of the London “gods,” arrived at the end of last week by the Orient from Australia. He has been away from England for nine months, and judging by his enthusiastic outpourings to an interviewer, who seized on him before he left the deck of the steamer, he has had a good time. “ Pleasant! Glorious ! Never had such a delightful time,” said George. “They are fine fellows, and hospitable, good-natured— treat you like a brother. Why, it’s just like being at Home. There wasn’t much topical to talk about.” confided Chirgwin to his interviewer, “ but I learned an aboriginal war dance and fetched ’em with that. Maybe PH try it on here. And, by the way, 1 brought something else back. Come and see my wife and the boy, and I’ll introduce you to a young lady who is travelling with us, Florence Esdaile, a soprano, who was singing with me in Sydney. She’ll make a hit here.” The trip of the Orient seems to have been a lively one, and as a result of the numerous entertainments held a number of charitable funds will benefit considerably. The best was a Jubilee Day show, wilti a 4ft stage and six footlights, when all the talent on board was requisitioned, and everyone did their best.
The occasion of Sarah Bernhardt’s present visit to England has brought with it the old report that the “greatest living actress ” has accepted an engagement to appear in Germany. This madame, however, flatly contradicts, and, says she. “ although I received a most tempting offer for a season in Berlin, I was patriotic enough to refuse it. I will never play in Germany.” I give it on the authority of a writer in the ‘ Daily Mail ’ that the Opera Comique will shortly enter upon another development, having been taken by two wellknown Australian managers (Messrs Savile Smith and George Deane), who intend to put on a typical Australian entertainment. When ex-plained, the “typical Australian entertainment,” which it might puz/.le some people to identify, means a first part minstrel show—two corner men and the rest of thesemi-circle fancifullydressedludies; while the second part comprises music hall turns of the usual character. Rumor says that all the performers will hail from “ down under ” —in other words, from Australasia. A play that was to have been produced by Mr John Hare as his one novelty during his present season at the Court Theatre was ‘ A Bachelor’s Romance,’ but for the simple reason that there was no need for a novelty its production has been left for the provincial season. ‘ A Bachelor’s Romance ’is the work of Miss Morton, an American playwright of acknowledged capability, and it deals with the growrh of love between a guardian well past the line of middle life and his charming little ward, a girl barely out of her teens. In America, where, in the hands of Mr Sol Smith Russell, it achieved great success, ‘A Bachelor’s Romance’was freely compared to 1 The Professor’s Love Story,’ to which it must of course in plotbear a pronounced resemblance. That it should eventually have come into Mr Hare’s possession is, in this relation, rather curious (says a writer in the daily Press), for Mr Hare only missed the fortune which with Mr J. M. Barrie’s comedy fell to Mr Willard because of his objection to reading plays in manuscript. The story is worth recording, if only for its admirable moral for all managers. Sir Henry Irving first sought the refusal of the play, and when he came to 'the decision that the absent-minded Professor Goodwillie and his fascinating little secretary were figures too dainty for the vast Lyceum stage he sent on his copy with a strong word of admiration to his friend John Hare. As it happened, the copy was in Mr Barrie’s microscopic and cryptographic hand, and Mr Hare confesses to having made but feeble efforts to decipher it. Mr Willard was less easily discouraged. With him to look was to read, to read was to acquire, and the fortune which ‘ The Professor’ brought him is only to be reckoned by the thousands and thousands of pounds which the generous Americans pour into the pockets of everyone whom they elect a favorite. However, Mr Hare also has now got his “Professor” at last, and his production of 1 The Bachelor’s Romance’ will carry with it a double interest.
‘ Dr Bill,’ that well-1 mown and popular comedy ia Australasia, and which brings back sad memories of Myra Kemble, has been refashioned by Mr Oscar Barrett into a musical comedy. The title of the transmogrified ‘Dr Bill’ is ‘The Kangaroo Girl’ one had almost said, of course, “what to do with our girls” is a problem iu the way of rapid solution by means of musical comedy. For saying that Aiiss Collins “ supplied the one touch of vulgarity ” at the Palace Theatre a journal called ‘ Society ’ has been mulcted in damages to 'the amount of £25. The heroine of * Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay ’ —in private life Airs Charlotte Louisa Cooney—brought a libel action against the editor and publisher of ‘Society’ in Mr Justice Hawkins’s court last week. Mr Kiach opened Lottie’s case, and impressed upon the jury the abnormal talent and industry requisite to build up a reputation like that of Miss Collins, whom he held up to admiration as the pet of two Continents. She was gifted, he said, with a superabundance of cheerful spirits, and people went to the theatre or the music-hall to be amused with such cheerful satire on human nature and manners as ‘ The little widow ’ and ‘ The girl on the rau-dan-dan,’ which was also complained of. Aiiss Lottie Collins, in the witness box, said she had never been called vulgar before, and she did not like it. Air Kisch, at the suggestion of the.Judge, read ‘The little widow,’ in which Miss Lottie Collins impersonated a lady demure,” she said—who sang in an unreserved kind of way about her first and second husbands. The concluding verse, which showed her to be after number three] was as follows : ’
I wonder why single girls are such mean things, Inevh like to be angels, of course, without wings, Alako eyes at the men with such a sly glance And won’t give us dear little widows a chance But Im going to show them of what we are made, Tm looking around me—oh, don’t bo afraid ! A et if there’s one here who will be number three He will fmd me as loving, as loving can be. Mr Jelf next calkd for ‘The girl on the ran-dan-dan.’ “ Certainly,” said Air Kisch. “My learned friend Mr Jelf will oblige.” And handed over the “score.” Air Jelf didn’t like it ; but, after making a wry face or two, read it out like a man, completely outshining Mr Kisch as an elocutionist. He even gave an encore of the chorus:
Oh,’ what am I to be, In high sassiety? An up-to-dayety Gaiety girl, An I’m-not-built-that-wayety girl A goody-goody prude ’ Who never should look at a man, Or a snippity-winkity sort of a girl On the raa-dan-dan.
The audience roared at the Q.C.’s con amore rendering, and Mr Justice Hawkins gravely assured him: “After two more rehearsals you will be able to sing it.” Several persona were called and gave evidence to the effect that they had not noticed anything vulgar about the songs, and, no evidence being offered for the defence, the jury returned a verdict for plaintiff, damages £25. Execution, however, was not authorised pending an appeal.
FOOTLIGHT FLASHES., Issue 10416, 10 September 1897
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