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?'

The Casino Girl – The Bristol Times and Mirror – Tuesday 22nd April 1902


 (First played in Bristol on April 21st, 1902)


“The Casino Girl” was played at the Prince’s Theatre for the first time last night by Mr Ben Greet’s company, and it was accorded a flattering reception. Upon its original production in London, during the summer of 1900, it was candidly described as the twin sister of “The Belle of New York.” That invited a comparison which was scarcely fair. “The Belle of New York” broke new ground, and was a remarkable success. A second play constructed on similar lines consequently ran the risk, under these circumstances, of being judged not so much on its own merits as by the degree in which it approached the standard created by its predecessor. There is, however, no real comparison between the two works. The piece in which Miss Edna May made her name was by no means strong in story, but it was endowed with some captivating music. It was also rich in amusing incidents, and full of original characters – things which not only rendered it tolerable, but gave it attractions all its own. “The Casino Girl,” on the other hand, cannot be said to possess these charms. It would be impossible in the space we have at our disposal to describe the plot. So far as we could make out, there were four sets of characters. First there was Gaggs, a grand opera tenor, who has come to grief with his company in Cairo, and who adopts all sorts of devices to raise money. Then there was a wealthy American lady on the look out for titled husbands for her two daughters. In the third place we come across a casino girl from New York, who has started a business as a milliner in Cairo, where she is found by Percy Stuyvesant, her old lover; while lastly Pilsener Pasha with his hundred wives made his appearance, and has some curious dealings with two amusing ruffians. How all these people were brought together it is impossible to say, but they got delightfully mixed up, and the further the play advanced the more mixed they became. Frequently we seemed to be on the verge of an interesting situation and the development of a humours story, though it all comes to nothing. This is somewhat irritating, because a good thing was spoilt by the want of coherence. As for the music, it was occasionally catchy, often weird, but generally lacking in force. There was one remarkable song, “Nothing new,” a topical duet, “It’s a habit they have got”; and a descriptive piece, “Susie’s Sousa Mad,” which caught the public fancy, and were repeated over and over again with a readiness which tended to emphasise the poorness of the other numbers. To put it briefly, “The Casino Girl,” instead of being a twin sister to “The Belle of New York,” is only a distant relation suffering from unfortunate physical defects which prevent her following in the footsteps of her predecessor, although she occasionally appears likely to do so, and even to cut her out. Mr. Ben Greet’s company is rather like the play – unequal. Chief honours must certainly be given to Mr. Eardley Turner who was intensely funny as Offenbach Gaggs. It was possible to get many a genuine laugh out of his performance, and he never grew tedious. Mr. Max Copland also made a capital Pilsener Pasha, and it was not his fault if his Anglicised German became a little monotonous. Mr. Stanley White and Mr. O. E. Lennon were an amusing pair of ruffians. Their acrobatic antics were distinctly clever, and they saved more than one situation. The later, like Mr. H. Sparks, is a wonderful dancer. Several of the ladies were also more expert in this direction than as vocalists. Miss Isa Bowman, Miss Gabrielle Ray, Miss Maggie Bowman, Miss Louie Danby, and Miss Alice Gordon all did well at one time and another. Indeed in spite of the peculiarities of its construction, “The Casino Girl” contains many smart items, which are distinctly worth seeing. The piece is beautifully staged, and the dresses are really beautiful.

The Bristol Times and Mirror – Tuesday 22nd April 1902


July 23, 2019 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Casino Girl, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment