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?'

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

 

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

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – The Era – Saturday 2nd February 1901

AMUSEMENTS IN GREENOCK

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)

THEATRE ROYAL. – Lessee and Manager, Mr Alexander Wright, – The Belle of New York was performed here at this theatre on Monday by Mr Ben Greet’s No. 1 company. The part of Ichabod Bronson is well filled by Mr Arthur Ricketts. Harry Bronson has a capital representative in Mr Charles Gervase. As Carl Von Pumperknick Mr Peter H. Gardner gives a clever portrayal. Mr Tom Carling is extremely amusing as “Doc” Snifkins. Mr William Pringle makes an excellent Blinky Bill M’Quirk. Mr James R. La Fane is smart as Kenneth Mugg. Messrs Clayton and Gilford acquit themselves admirably as Counts Patsi Rattatoe. William D’Arey is good Twiddles. Mr T. Syme makes a quaint Snooper. Mr W. James is successful as Peeper. Mr L. Jones proves able exponent of Billy Breese. Miss Daisy Semon is very attractive Violet Gray, singing agreeably. Miss Nellie Bowman is lively Fifi Fricot. Miss B. Ease is vivacious Kissie Fitzgarter. Miss Elaine Gryee makes pleasing Cora Angelique. The subsidiary parts are in competent hands, and receive careful treatment from Messrs Alec Chantrens, C. Leonard, W. Smith; and Misses Bessie Ray, Sophie Clarkson, and G. Nelsam. A Chinese dance by Misses Marie Gilbert, Sophie Clarkson, Maud Eaton, and Jessie Vokes, is much appreciated. The play is exceedingly well staged, and the costumes are pretty and effective

 

The Era – Saturday 2nd February 1901

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Era, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – The Stage – Thursday 18th April 1901

WORCESTER: Royal (Sole Lessee and Manager, Mr. William Gomersal). The Belle of New York has visited “the faithful city” before, and, judging from the reception accorded the performance of the comic opera on Monday, it will be welcome again and again, especially if presented by so capable a Co. as that of Mr. Ben Greet, under the direction of Mr. Maurice Robinson. To the part of Ichabod Bronson Mr. Arthur Ricketts brings some excellent comedy. The title role is charmingly played by Miss Beatrice Lamotte, Miss Ada Elliston is an attractive Fifi Fricot, and Miss Victoria Hunt gives a good account of Cora Angelique. Mr. Edmund Sherras is admirable as Harry Bronson. Miss Bessie Ray and Mr. Bert Monks capably sustain the parts of Blinky Bill and Mamie Clancy. The opera is well staged and dressed, and runs with remarkable smoothness.

 

The Stage – Thursday 18th April 1901

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Stage, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – The Stage – 24th January 1901

Dundee: Another specially clever impersonation is that of Miss Bessie Ray, who appears as Mamie Clancy, the Pell Street girl.

She dances divinely, and is conspicuous for the energy and tact she displays all the time she is on stage.

The Stage, 24th January 1901

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – The Era – Saturday 26th January 1901

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Stage, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – The Era – Saturday 26th January 1901

Bessie Ray – The Belle of New York – Dundee Courier – 22nd January 1901

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bessie Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – Surrey Comet – Saturday 5th January 1895

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – The Silver King – Surrey Comet – Saturday 13th April 1895

“Little Bessie Ray” played the part of “Cissie” in  “The Silver King” which ran from Monday 15th April 1895 for six nights until Saturday 20th April 1895

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Silver King, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Bonnie Boy Blue – Surrey Comet – Saturday 2nd March 1895

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Bonnie Boy Blue, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Bonnie Boy Blue – The Era – Saturday 9th March 1895

“Little Bessie Ray” was described as a really talented child, who repeated again and again her taking dances and songs.

The Era – Saturday 9th March 1895

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Bonnie Boy Blue, Gabrielle Ray, Pantomimes, Social History, The Era, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Bonnie Boy Blue – The Era – Saturday 16 March 1895

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Bonnie Boy Blue, Gabrielle Ray, Pantomimes, Social History, The Era, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment