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 – The Casino Girl – Brighton Gazette, Hove Post, Sussex & Surrey Telegraph – Thursday 31st July 1902

THE THEATRE ROYAL.

“The Casino Girl” is quite as fascinating as her many prototypes, and her second visit to the Theatre Royal this week finds her more popular than before. The Ben Greet Company contains many other girls besides the vivacious French milliner of the title role, and the chief characteristics of the musical comedy are pretty dances and faces, and handsome costumes. These, together with the irresistible humour of Mr J. E. Sullivan as Pilsener Pasha – his original part at the Shaftesbury Theatre – are the chief factors in the success of the play. Mr Ludwig Englander’s music contains a good many catchy selections, including a spirited Sousa parody, the topical song “it’s a habit they’ve got,” and a couple of sentimental items, all of which fetched double encores on Monday night. Miss Maud Darling is excellent in the title role as Laura lee, an ex-Casino actress, with a tricky French style and a pleasant voice. She was repeatedly encored for her singing and dancing, and the song, “I love my boy,” followed by a graceful dance, was a very popular item. Mr Sullivan’s fund of humour is quite irresistible. Those who saw him as the “polite lunatic” in “The Belle of New York” will know that he has an original vein of humour, upon which his part as the eccentric Pasha makes great demands. He was, however, quite equal to the occasion, and it was impossible to keep a straight face with him on the stage. He had a strong supporter in Mr Eardley Turner as the picturesque vagabond Gaggs. Mr Turner is a character actor of conspicuous ability, and made the most of a genuinely funny part. His rendering of the humorous song, “Same old story; nothing new,” was quite one of the features of the performance, and met with an enthusiastic reception. The comic element is also well sustained by Mr Stanley White and Mr O. E. Lemmon, as Ben Muley, the chief of a gang of thieves and his lieutenant respectively. The couple are excellent dancers, and Mr Lemmon’s acrobatic eccentricities afforded a great deal of amusement. Then Miss Madge Cleaver as Mrs H. Malaprop Rocks, the elderly American whose knowledge of the language is elementary and remarkable, is responsible for a good many hearty laughs. An attractive dancer and vocalist is Miss Gabrielle Ray, who as Dolly Twinkle, the leading artiste of Gaggs opera company, introduced some very popular items, and was frequently encored. Miss A. Poole was also very fascinating as Lotta Rocks, and is a dainty little dancer. The only sentimental part is in the hands of Mr Walter Balfour, a Young English doctor in love with the Casino Girl. He has a very fine voice, and his solo, “I love my love in the springtime,” was admirably rendered, but he never seemed quite at home in his acting. The chorus is particularly strong and well dressed, and many charming stage pictures are seen. On Monday night the audience were most enthusiastic, and with the exception of one or two periods in which the play drags a little “The Casino Girl” is exceedingly bright and attractive.

There is to be a Matinee performance to-day (Thursday) at 2 p.m.

Brighton Gazette, Hove Post, Sussex & Surrey Telegraph – Thursday 31st July 1902

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Casino Girl, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – The Tatler – Wednesday 5th August 1903

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

The fittings of the Gaiety were sold off last Wednesday prior to the (curiously named) “housebreaker” starting the art of demolition. That part of the building which used to house the restaurant has already been destroyed.

 

GAIETY STARS: HOW THEY USED TO TWINKLE

By One of Them, Miss Emily Soldene.

 

[Miss Emily Soldene has many reminiscences of the Gaiety. It is interesting to note that she has in a round about way kept up her connection with the famous house, for her niece, Miss Katie Vesey, has danced there a good deal. Miss Soldene now lives permanently in London, where she practises the gentle art of journalism on behalf of an Australian newspaper. A witty woman, she has written the most amusing autobiography a player has ever given us.]

“A prima donna in the pit,” said the Daily Mail on the Monday following the last night of the good old Gaiety. Quite right; I was the prima donna in the pit and had no end of a time with The Linkman. What memories of charming artists, of adorable and applauding audiences, of all the rush and fuss – the adulation, the devotion, the breathless wonder, the absolute personal exaltation that comes with the certainty of success. This revue brought people and things back so vividly, for I, too, had played my part in this theatre, and the recollection of those times filled my remembering eyes – with tears? Oh no! with a sort of dimness, a – well, you know. What bevies of beauty have beamed from the Gaiety stage. Selina Dolaro – dark, piquant, Spanish, languorous, “delightful Dolly.” I see her now, the princess in Fleur de Lys (the first work of Leo Delibes produced in England), wearing a closely-clinging robe of white silken damask with interwoven golden lilies of France, a train of cloudy diaphanous tulle, down one side of which fell a shower of water lilies.

Clara Vesey in Genevieve de Brabant – blue-eyed, long-lashed Clara Vesey, the rage of the town, the toast of the clubs, the perfectly-figured pet page to H.S.H. the Duke of Brabant, the ineffable grace, disdain, impertinence, and blasé exhaustion of her “Your highness, the dinner waits,” being worth all the money and Miss Annie Sinclair, our first Clairette in Madame Angot – how pretty, delicate, and demure she was.

Then Kate Vaughan, a vision of dainty beauty in some burlesque, I forget the name – Alice in Dick Whittington I fancy – wearing a short white satin dress trimmed with white lilac, a large muff of white lilac, an early Victorian bonnet of white lilac, and her bodice fitting like the paper on the wall.

These were the first days of the famous “corset” bodice, introduced by the ladies of the French company playing at that time L’ Etrangere at the Queen’s Theatre, Long Acre. The new bodice was of inestimable value to the willowy, graceful, and from head-to-heel uneventful beauties. Missing curves were introduced, angles were rounded, and everybody – at least every feminine body wondered “how it was done.” The corset was padded the lady walked in at the back – was laced up tightly, and there you are. Do you remember “Lardy” Wilson the magnificent, the beauteous Egertons, the delightful Love, the petite this, the saucy that, the pages in Chilperic, the maids of honour in Genevieve? Splendid, all picked girls, and making the best of their opportunities. (Of course, I am speaking from an artistic point.) How beautiful and busy they looked in the boudoir of the duchess sewing mysterious tiny garments for an expected addition to the ducal household. What airs and graces, what flouting of poor mere men – girls not so plentiful in those days, scarcely enough to go round, girls rather at a premium.

What eyes! Blue eyes, grey eyes, amethyst eyes, flashing eyes, soft brown eyes, bright hazel eyes, defiant eyes, appealing eyes, but all the lashes black – part of the contract, you know. I have heard people remark they thought the girls sometimes glanced at the johnnies in the stalls. I don’t believe it, do you?

Talking of johnnies in the stalls, we used to have visitors behind the scenes now and then. Patricians, peers, patrons, not to mention personages. Nothing frivolous. Oh no. Potent, grave, and reverend signors; that sort of thing you know. Among them came a most noble marquis – a charming person, and so thoughtful. One had only to shiver at night to receive an Indian shawl next morning. Then the gloves were always made to order. And the handkerchiefs, real Valenciennes, and the jeweller’s young man came down from Bond Street in a cab bringing big cases to “choose from.”

His lordship was a devotee of that poetical and perfect form of married life which decrees that one should not see too much of the other. He was broad-shouldered, broad-minded, and would murmur, “Shall not get in before the second act to-morrow. I dine with my lady; she is a great astronomer you know, and will only receive me one evening in the week.”

Not but what this sort of thing may be carried too far. I have heard of the head of a household being described by his butler (of the Admirable Crichton type) as “the gentleman who dines with us on Sundays.”

Then among our visitors was a society doctor – very handy at times. He always carried a flask of fine brown sherry in his breast pocket. Brown sherry was fashionable in those days – amontillado being my particular.

Funny things happened sometimes. At a Gaiety matinee during the Phelps season – I think the play was Richelieu; anyway it was at the time of the American Revivalists – in a front scene, one of the characters pointing off “o.p.” said, “He comes – he is moody.” “Where’s Sankey?” said a voice from the gallery – which broke the audience all up and spoilt the cardinal’s entrance. Somewhere about this time occurred the apotheosis of Sara – the high-kicker who used to dust the floor with her back hair. She did not dance during my engagements at the Gaiety, the theatre having too fine a sense of propriety to admit the interpolation of such a startling number as “Wiry Sal.” At the dress rehearsal of Madame Angot tempo 1873, a great strike among the gentle men of the chorus – it being decreed that the sartorial exigencies called for white wigs, and wearers of white wigs must of necessity be clean-shaven. Quite a riot in the theatre. The ladies of the chorus were furious “kicked” at such a sacrilegious idea and were prepared to go to any length in defence of these hirsute and admired adornments. One with tears in her eyes cried, “I’d rather throw up my engagement than my William should lose his moustaches.”

Autre temps, autre moeurs; moustaches are at a discount and legs have gone out of fashion. Positively the retrospective and redivivus ladies in tights presented by The Linkman gave me a shiver. How different are the massaged, manicured, frilled- furbelowed, voluminously-flounced chiffon- clad houris of the present to the simple sealskin brigade of the past. In those days of light and leading the less one had on the better, and polished nails were an accident.

Well, here’s to the “Gaiety girl of the present,” and though rather a “’orty” and petted young person long may she reign and have as good times as the “Gaiety girl of the past.”

 EMILY SOLDENE.

The Tatler – Wednesday 5th August 1903

A “tip-up seat.” For me it was a throne,

Whereon I took my place as king, with zest,

For whom the stars would twinkle, and the jest

Was blown.

An easy throne– the nimble ten-and-six

Gave me, how many times, the right to reign

And take the ready gift of Joy from Payne

(Or Hicks).

Seats that have heard such cheers from roof to stall,

Gaunt relics of the merrymaker’s feast,

I wonder what your fate. Perchance some

East- end hall.

Soon will the rain and every wayward wind

Sweep o’er the boards where sunny scenes were set

For poor Kate Vaughan and Sylvia Grey, and Letty Lind.

A JINGLE BY J. M. B.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment