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 – Little Red Riding Hood – Middlesex & Surrey Express – Friday 2nd January 1903

PANTOMIME AT HAMMERSMITH.

The pantomime season is now in full swing and the various fairy tales are being presented at most of the London and out-lying theatres. One need not travel further than the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, to see the old favourite children’s story of “Red Riding Hood” illustrated with mirth and merriment. The joint authors are Messers Brian Daly and J. M. East, who have written six previous pantomimes for this theatre. The music is by Mr. Henry W. May and the scenic effects by Mr. Herbert Wallis. The plot shows that Little Red Riding Hood (the handsome foster daughter of Dame Hood) is beloved of her companions, Bo-Peep, Boy Blue and all the children of the village. Prince Sylvanus, ruler of Merryville, is in love with Red Riding Hood, as also is Baron Lionel de Lupus, a bold bad old man, who changes to a wolf upon the slightest provocation, and tries his utmost to frighten and entice away the pretty Red Riding Hood, but was eventually found in his wolf’s disguise, as Prince Sylvanus and the villagers appear on the scene and save her from the wicked baron. The scene of Dame Hood’s village school (licensed for larks) is a very amusing one, and introduces the celebrated Olive Trio in their impersonation of dolls. The old dame, with her many peculiar questions to her scholars, and the various punishments they have to undergo for inefficiency in answering cause roars of laughter. Rex Fox, the celebrated wire walker, who appears in the scene at the festivities at the king’s palace, is an exceedingly clever artiste, and his daring performance on the wire on roller skates and stilts elicits well deserved applause. The comic element is in the hands of Mr. Harry Buss (Dame Hood) and Mr. Arthur Watts (Simple Simon), whose sayings and comicalities provoke great hilarity. The character of Rest Riding Hood is ably represented by Miss Gabrielle Ray, a juvenile actress of considerable talent, whose singing and dancing is greatly admired. Miss Gracie Whiteford, as Prince Sylvanus, played with a briskness which is well suited to the character, and in her song, “Sweet Susanne,” she was twice recalled. The production throughout is admirably mounted, as there are eleven scenes, all of which are tastefully designed, especially the transformation scene, “The four elements.” Lively music, pretty costumes, popular songs, and good dancing make the Lyric pantomime one of the successes of the season.

 

Middlesex & Surrey Express – Friday 2nd January 1903

 

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March 18, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) – Friday 26th December 1902

LYRIC, HAMMERSMITH.

 

If the residents of Hammersmith are at all dissatisfied with the Yuletide entertainment provided for them they must be extremely difficult to please. Mr. Acton Phillips, who has received the warm congratulations of his theatrical friends upon attaining the mayoral dignity in the riverside borough, presented his twelfth annual pantomime to a large and enthusiastic audience at the Lyric Opera House on Christmas Eve. It was an artistic production, full of glow and colour, and promises to be as bright and exhilarating as any of its predecessors. Upon Red Riding Hood the Broadway management rely for inspiration on the present occasion, and Mr. Brian Daly and Mr. John M. East, experienced hands at this class of work, have furnished a “book” which deftly mingles the traditional story with topics of the moment, and supplies numberless stage pictures of considerable effectiveness and beauty. The topical allusions were apt and up-to-date, and the local hits in particular were instantly caught up by the audience, evoking the heartiest merriment. Imperial politics were, of course, touched upon, and the spectators cheered to the echo the references to Mr. Chamberlain and his mission to South Africa, as well as to the plight of our gallant Reservists. When one the characters exclaimed, “That’s the way we treat our heroes!” the applause demonstrated where the sympathy of the audience lay. The subject of Red Riding Hood lends itself to generous stage treatment, but, besides being tastefully mounted, the pantomime was capitally interpreted by a band of capable artists. Miss Gabrielle Ray proved a dainty and sprightly heroine, and at once captivated all hearts by her singing and dancing. Her honours, however, were fairly by Mr Gracie Whiteford, who brilliantly sustained the part of Prince Sylvanus. To say nothing of a comedy presence, Miss Whiteford possesses a charming voice, and knows how to use it; and it may be justly declared that between them these young ladies did much to secure unqualified excess for the Lyric pantomime. Miss Edwards and Miss Lucia Edwards were acceptable as Bo-Peep and Boy Blue. Among the mole characters the palm was carried off by Mr. Harry Buss. Dame Hood is a part which requires judicious handling, and the acting of her impersonator was humorous and in good taste throughout. Mr. John Gourlay ran him close with an admirable portrayal of the Baron de Lupus, “a bold, bad man, who changes to a wolf on the slightest provocation.” Messers Baroux and Bion were knockabouts who created endless amusement by their antics, while the facial contortions of Mr. Arthur Watts as Simple Simon were something to be remembered. Among the “selected spirits” who did real service were Miss Vera Schlesinger as the Fairy of Progress, and Mr. George Traverner as the Demon. A doll dance by the Olive Trio was undoubtedly one of the features of the evening, but it was quite equalled, if not actually surpassed, by a Dense Japonaise in the Bat Masque at the Royal Palace to celebrate the union of the hero and heroine. This, in accordance with pantomime law, led the way to the transformation scene, entitled “The Four Elements – Earth. Air, Fire, and Water,” which deservedly won the admiration of the house.  “Red Riding Hood,” in fact, starts upon her journey at Hammersmith with the fairest hopes.

 

Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) – Friday 26th December 1902

 

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John East – The Stage – Thursday 30th August 1956

IN MANAGEMENT 60 YEARS AGO

By John East

 

WHEN my grandfather, John M. East, took over the Lyric, Hammersmith, as actor-manager, in 1892, it was facing bankruptcy. Within three years of his administration this pretty little bijou theatre, sandwiched between a railway siding and a street market, was being partially rebuilt at a cost of £15,000.

John East installed a resident stock company led by artists such as Leah Marlborough, Charles East and his wife, East Robertson, great favourites with local audiences. With a change of programme weekly and daily rehearsals, it was a wonderful school for youngsters, many of whom went straight to the West End after starting at the Lyric. Among the many future stars 1 could mention was 19-year-old Gabrielle Ray, whom my grandfather trained to take the title role in his “Red Riding Hood.” She soon became one of the brightest stars to reign at the Gaiety and Daly’s.

Of course, established names like Edward Terry, Harry Monkhouse, Mrs. Langtry, Henry Neville, Charles Warner, Harry Nichols and Willie Edouin played special weeks at the Lyric, and a cosmopolitan audience from distant parts of the metropolis swelled the ranks of the local patrons, who loved to see the carefully staged melodramas.

John East acted in 64 and produced over 400 plays during his 13 years at the theatre, from a battle scene in “A Life of Pleasure” to “Secrets of the Harem,” shortened to “Secrets –“ –THE BANNED PLAY, after a protest from the Turkish Ambassador to the Lord Chamberlain when he had witnessed the piece.

Once he decided to produce “Streets of London,” and in order to get a real horse-driven fire engine on to the stage, he removed the centre stalls, and a large rake was erected from the roadway to the auditorium, over which the engine made a triumphant entry. There would have been a practical use for it on Whit Monday, 1896, when a fire broke out on the stage during the action of “For England.”

Every Christmas my grandfather would produce, and usually write with Brian Daly, a pantomime, in addition to playing such parts as the Queen in “Robinson Crusoe.” Some of the large profits made went into organising charity matinees, “The Diseases of Women” lectures, and a free soup kitchen outside the theatre.

Years before, a manager would have a stock writer at his command, but by the turn of the century the public would not go in unless first class London successes were played, which meant an expensive mounting and a royalty of 10 per cent. Moreover, boiled down melodramas were being presented on the halls, which in addition to new competition from the Grand, Fulham, and the King’s, Hammersmith, caused my grandfather to leave the Lyric in March, 1904. The little theatre had a varied history until Playfair re-opened it in 1918.

After producing “The Wheat King” at the Apollo, with a magnificent third act depicting mass hysteria, John East look over the management of the vast Britannia, Hoxton, where he offered a three act drama, a variety bill, one of his own curtain-raisers, and the bio scope for 3d. in the gallery! The curious audience at the “Brit” consisted mostly of burglars, who used to come and tell my grandfather when they were gong to “do a bit” the following night.

Once a man sidled up to him and said, “What’s ‘appened to ole J. B. Howe, what played ‘ere with Charlie East in 98?  Is ‘e in the lump (workhouse)?” John replied that he had retired. “Oh. I’ve been away and missed the old codger.” Been away” – “Yus, for sticking a knive in a cove in Clerkenwell!” During the week John slept on the premises with the takings, and no wonder he had a loaded pistol by his bedside.

After a time at the Elephant and Castle Theatre, John East ran touring companies in between annual pantomime engagements, which included one at the Crown with another clever 19-year-old girl, Violet Loraine. Leah Marlborough was touring three continents alter “The Sorrows of Satan,” at the Court, East Robertson toured in such pieces as “Girl’s Cross Roads,” as Barbara Wade, and received wide acclaim as the prostitute, La Colombe, who fights to her death with knives in “Woman and Wine,” at the Princess’s, Oxford street, in 1899.

However, John East decided to become a free-lance, and devised, produced and managed the fabulous “Invasion of England” at the Crystal Palace, in 1909. With a cast of hundreds, real airships, descent of an invading army by parachute, entire destruction of a village by fire, explosions of mines and cannons, it was a triumphant success and he toured it on the Continent during 1910, for Brocks, Ltd.

 

The Stage – Thursday 30th August 1956

 

February 28, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Social History, The Stage, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Auckland Star – 1927

Auckland Star, Volume LVIII, Issue 190, 13 August 1927, Page 22

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Maimi, Mother Goose, Pantomimes, Peggy, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Casino Girl, The Girl from Kay's, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – The Era – 1895

Bessie Ray - Little Red Riding Hood - The Era - Saturday 23rd February 1895

June 10, 2013 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – Lincolnshire Echo – 1895

Bessie Ray - Little Red Riding Hood - Lincolnshire Echo - Tuesday 12th February 1895

June 2, 2013 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – The Era – 1895

Bessie Ray - Little Red Riding Hood - The Era - 9th March 1895

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – Lincolnshire Chronicle – 1895

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bessie Ray – Little Red Riding Hood – The Era – 1897

April 25, 2012 Posted by | Actress, Bessie Ray, Gabrielle Ray, Little Red Riding Hood, Social History, The Era, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment