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?'

Mother Goose – The Manchester Evening News – Friday 24th December 1920


 A Bird that Will Not “Get the Bird.”


Four Hours of Fun that Tired None.


“Mother Goose” made an auspicious first appearance at the Theatre Royal last night. The goose proved such a delectable bird that very many weeks will pass before the appetite of Manchester audiences is satiated. There was, perhaps, trifle too much stuffing, but the head chef will quickly make that all right. No finer tribute could be paid than to record the fact that after four hours the audience was still enthusiastic.

In theatrical parlance “Mother Goose” is a bird that will not get “the bird.”

The story is neither here nor there. There was probably never any serious intention to recount the somewhat vague wanderings of the goose that laid the golden eggs. When Mr. Fred Conquest waddles on to the stage with the solemn gait of that stupid bird the joy of the audience was complete, and the story didn’t really matter.

Caleb Plummer never got so “near to nature” as did Mr. Conquest, and his work is surely the last word in impersonation.

One is truly spiteful for the many beautiful stage settings, notably the Magic Vine and the Squire’s Garden Pets. The artists have conceived their pictures in subdued tones, so that instead of headache one finds rest and enjoyment in contemplation of their work.



But after all what would a pantomime be without the comedians?  Mr. John Hart has gathered around him a notable company of laughter makers who provide a very remarkable study in the contrast of styles. There is, for instance, Den Leno, Junior (shades of the past), whose quaint, jerky methods and peculiar shuffling of the feet betray his origin. As the dame who sought to regain her youth and beauty he displays histrionic gifts of no mean order.

Mr. Fred A. Leslie, solemn and restrained, at once established himself a favourite. The “Chicken Reel” dance with the goose was only one of a score of good things to the account of this comedian. Mr. J. H. Wakefield is robust and full of confidence. He has a quick wit, and when a bell rang “off “ at the wrong moment he turned it to good account, and at once the right atmosphere was created between audience and players.

With memories of the pantomimes of one’s youth there may have been a little regret that the wicked magician was such a very pleasant fellow. Red and green limelight fail to make him anything else, and one feels confident that whatever happens he would never exceed the bounds of good taste. He sang an excellent song “The Great Wide Road” with a charm that would have done credit to musical comedy hero.

Miss Gabrielle Ray, who must have discovered the secret of eternal youth, looked like a piece of Dresden china. She danced and sang with great charm, and her youthful assistants were as graceful and dainty as thistledown. Miss Madge White the attributes of a successful principal boy. She emerges as a singer of character songs, and “Swanee” in particular will be taken up by the boy in the street.

Mr. Alex Flood, under whose stage direction the pantomime is produced, must have been a very happy man to see the fruits of his labour turn out so successfully. “Mother Goose” deserves well of the public, and is a sure winner.


The Manchester Evening News – Friday 24th December 1920



December 3, 2018 - Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Mother Goose, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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