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 Little Cherub – Truth – Thursday 18th January 1906


 

THE THEATRES.

 

“THE LITTLE CHERUB,” AT THE PRINCE OF WALES’S.

 

Mr. Owen Hall is said to have taken from the French play “Decore” the germ of “The Little Cherub,” but be that as it may, one can say with truth that little or nothing of French inspiration now pervades the piece to be discussed. The Earl of Sanctobury objects on principle to the stage, meets for the first time in his life an actress, is fascinated into following her to Dunbridge Baths, and concludes by marrying the lady. He has daughters whose private theatricals are abomination to him at first, but their chance discovery of their father at supper with the actress forces him to look leniently for the future on things theatrical: With this for central idea are connected an Indian Prince, various gentlemen of rank, friends of Lord Sanctobury, and the valet of that peer.

The play is of the musical comedy sort, consisting of trivial developments upon the above theme which serve as pegs on which to hang songs. Mr. Owen Hall’s book contains, as one expects from him, many witty and some mordant lines, such as this; “A good woman has nothing to confide in her husband, and a bad woman daren’t confide in him.” The best characterised personage is Shingle, Lord Sanctobury’s valet, which Mr. Berry made to stand out in relief against a dull background. His song, “A Gentleman’s Gentleman,” was one of the successes of the first act, and in the third act his political warble, “I Wasn’t Engaged for That,” a song with chorus, rightly captivated the audience. The fault of “The Little Cherub” seems to be that we are not sufficiently interested in the story, and the players for the most part fail to interest us themselves. The play suffered also from the slowness of the time at which the dialogue was taken. The utterance of puns and gibes and frivolities should be rapid, should have the crispness of farce. Miss Evie Greene, who played the actress Molly Montrose, was the chief sinner in this respect. She spoke her lines with a deliberation worthy of Epictetus, due, perhaps, to a difficulty in remembering them, or to nervousness, for this lady does not do herself justice at first performances. Her singing in some respects atoned for the monotony of the rest, and the air of her song “Experience” as of her song with the Rajah entitled “Pearls,” are likely to haunt the barrel-organs of the future. Where the chief woman’s part is taken with such gravity, the others perforce are also impeded in their progress, but Miss Zena Dare was an exception. As Lady Isabel, daughter of the Earl of Exeter Hall, she brought into her part some of that lightness and gracious vivacity which made her “Catch of the Season” a creation of its kind. Her singing and saying of the lyric “I should so love to be a boy” ending with the melon off the supper table turned into an impromptu football for Miss Ray to kick into the stage box, was a bright moment. Lady Isobel is accompanied in all her doings by three other young ladies, daughters of the Earl. Of these, Miss Gabrielle Ray, with her shrill treble voice, is the most prominent, and to her must be accorded the triumph of the evening. This was a song called “Cupid’s Rifle Range,” coming late in the last act. Habited as Cupid with a gun slung bandolier wise across her shoulder (of course, it should be a bow and arrows), attended by four tiny maidens, she sings to a melting melody and shoots as she sings at a row of marionettes pendent from a framework of flowers. A victim falls with each discharge. Mr. Adrian Ross and Mr. Frank Tours, the writers, and Mr. Ivan Caryll, the musician of this lyric, deserve credit for their performance. Of the other ladies, Miss Elise Claire as waitress at the hotel has a dance with Mr. Arthur Hope as the waiter, of which they make a success, and Miss Lily Elsie a song, “Baby Bayswater,” not without pungency, to which she adds grace.

Mr. Fred Kaye played with deliberateness the part of the Earl, and evoked a smile from time to time. But that deliberateness! Mr. Lennox Pawle, as the aristocrat chaperoning the daughters of the Earl to Dunbridge Baths, might, with advantage, appear less soused with less dirty water than in the beginning of Act 11. when he has saved a professional swimmer from drowning. The sight of him is not agreeable until he changes his clothes, but apart from this he has moments of humour and drollery in his diction. Mr. Maurice Farkoa, as the Rajah, is simply Mr. Maurice Farkoa. He warbles ditties of the girls to be taken out to tea, lunch, and supper, of the only girl he ever loved; he combines with Miss Ida Lytton in a duet that does credit to both: “The Invitation to the Waltz.” Mr. Farkoa imparts into his work that elegance, refinement, and lightness of touch which is the heritage of his race.

The curtain fell upon the “Little Cherubs” amid much applause, while with the applause was mingled the fog – horn of the first – nighter in the gallery. Mr. Adrian Ross, whose music deserved it, bowed thanks before the curtain. Mr. George Edwardes, in response to calls for a speech, also came before the curtain and saluted with the eloquence of silence.

 

Truth Thursday 18th January 1906

 

March 14, 2020 - Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Little Cherub, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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