Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Gabrielle Ray – Betty – The Tatler – Wednesday 10th November 1915

Wonderful Gertie and Graceful “Gabs.”

Only the best of the species remain – Gertie Millar at the Palace and now Gabrielle Ray in Betty at Daly’s. Gertie Millar has not cultivated the “flashing” manner of review, but she has perfected the daintier one of musical-comedy, and the contrast between, say, Teddie Gerard and herself is piquant. Gabrielle Ray has returned far more vital and “alive” than when she went away. She puts into her work a flair and a “go” which was never there in her former Gaiety days. And, if anything, she is more bewitching to look at than ever! In the dainty, rather meaningless, dancing of musical-comedy she is still unapproached. Altogether her art has taken a new lease of life, and Betty will certainly profit by her coming. Lauri de Frece, in the part left vacant by the departure of W. H. Berry to the Adelphi, is not yet as funny as his predecessor, but, given time, he will certainly prove his worth. He is one of the few comedians who, what- ever part they play, are always artists, never simply buffoons.

The Tatler – Wednesday 10th November 1915

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Aladdin – The Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) – Monday 26th December 1898

DALSTON.

“ALADDIN.”

 

In point of age the new and exceedingly comfortable theatre at Dalston is a very baby among metropolitan playhouses, for it is only some six months old. Hitherto it has been, so to speak, in leading strings, for its plays have been derived mainly from the successes of the leading London theatres. But now it has begun to run alone, and the new and original pantomime “Aladdin; or, the Naughty Young Scamp who ran off with the Lamp,” it made on Christmas Eve its first step. And firm and promising first step it was. The piece is written by Mr. Stanley Rogers, but as acted the author would probably fail recognise his own handiwork. It is worth while to get the printed play in order to secure a sort of supplementary entertainment, for there is little in the book that is heard on the stage and little that is done on the stage which is to be found in the book. Yet the performance is none the worse for that. It is a go-as-you-please affair, in which every actor seems to do what he likes, and, it must be admitted, does it well. There is very little Aladdin pure and simple in the pantomime. If analysed in chemical fashion the piece would be found to be compounded of many parts of variety show, comic business, and music-hall song and dance, with just a “trace” of the Hero of the Lamp. But it is capital entertainment nevertheless. Its predominating element is fun – good, hearty, boisterous, knock-about fun, that provokes shouts, peals, screams, and yells of laughter from first to last. There is hardly a moment when the audience is not exploding and roaring with merriment, excited by some delicious piece of nonsense and absurdity. Another strong element of the pantomime is its music. Of this there is plenty—any quantity of rollicking comic songs and melodious ballads -while the orchestra, under the baton Mr. E. T. de Bansie, does its work most excellently. Yet another feature of the play is its exquisite and dainty dancing, and when to all this are added well-painted and scenery and superb and tasteful dresses and general good all-round performance by the clever actors and actresses engaged, it will not be wondered that Saturday night Messrs Milton Bode and Edward Compton scored a veritable triumph.

It were utterly vain go through the pantomime scene by scene and narrate its plot. Everybody is familiar with the storey of “Aladdin,” and of this we get just a glimpse here and there. The hero, the son of a poor widow, is a very naughty boy, who goes off with a sham uncle to discover a treasure in a cave by means of a magic lamp, finds it and keeps it, frustrating the machinations of the false uncle, and, becoming rich, is betrothed to a fair princess, with whom he is in love. That is all. The poor little story crops up, as we have said, now and then, but as soon as it shows its tiny head it is drowned in music-hall melody, crushed by the feet of pretty dancing girls, or knocked all to pieces by irresponsible clowns. As a matter of fact, there was no time for the harlequinade proper on the first nigh. But what of that? The pantomime was practically one harlequinade from beginning end. And that is just what a pantomime ought to be. They may do it in a more refined manner at the West-end, but in North London something more spicy and racy is wanted. And Dalston gets it with a vengeance. Aladdin in the comedy persona of Miss Marie Elsie is a most charming “principle boy” whose acting is better than her singing, although this is marked by much point and expression; the youth’s beloved Princess Badroulbadour is impersonated by Miss Marion Ayling, who has a really good voice, and looks well in her lovely costumes; Abanazar, the “crafty magician,” played by Mr. Edwin Brett, is very funny, and so are Ski Hi, the Emperor of China, (Mr. A.J. W. Henson); So Long, his Grand Vizier.  (Mr. A. E. Godfrey); Wishee Washee, the bath man (Mr Ronaldo Martin), and the two grotesque policemen. Bo Bi and Bo Ko (Masers. Walton and Lester), while Electra, the genie the lamp (Miss Florence Landergan); Pekoe,another lady boy (Miss Nellie Harding); and the maids of honour. So Shi and Petti Sing (Misses Mavis Hope and Bessie Ray) are all very pretty and sweet. But the presiding and pervading spirit of the whole performance is the robust, uproarious, laughter-moving Widow Twankay of Mr. Ted Young, an actor of the Herbert Campbell school, who acts and sings with a vigour that could hardly be surpassed, who has a fine resonant voice that enables every word his many funny songs to be heard, and has talent for stage gags and business that almost amounts to genius. All do their work well, butt Mr. Ted Young certainly does mow then anyone else to “keep the thing going.”

Then there are some special people in the pantomime whose personality and performance have nothing what ever to do with the story of “Aladdin.” First among these we should name Mr. Edouard Espinosa, an agile fantastic dancer, many of whose pas are very novel and dexterous. Then there is the Great Little Levite and his troupe, who introduce their side-splitting scene with sham horses in tandem, which went with one roar; and  among the moat charming features the whole mow were Mr. John Tiller’s dancers – his Ruby Quartette and Jewel Ballet, all pretty girls with lovely forms, step, and attired in the most enchanting costumes. The Quartette were special favourites of the evening, and had three turns, each time different set artistic dresses.

The whole performance went extremely well, and, for a first pantomime new theatre, its success was remarkable. There was, to all appearance, not a single hitch. If anything went wrong “behind” it was unobserved front. There was, have said, time for the harlequinade, the transformation scene was also omitted; but no doubt, the public will have on Boxing Day all they have been promised, and future audiences will enjoy in its completeness, and with added finish, a thoroughly good, picturesque, tuneful, and, above all, funny pantomime.

The Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) – Monday 26th December 1898

 

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Aladdin, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment