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 Toreador – The Irish Daily Independent and Nation – Monday July 20th 1903

“THE TOREADOR.”

 Mr. George Edwardes’ original London Gaiety Company in “The Toreador,” is the attraction at the Dublin Gaiety Theatre during this week. The entire production has been transferred direct from London, including scenery, dresses, effects, etc. Mr. Edwardes has gone to enormous expense in carrying out this engagement. “The Toreador” finished its successful career on July 4th, and with it the “Old Gaiety.” The London Gaiety was opened by Mr. John Hollingshead on December 21st 1868, with a triple bill, made up of the operetta, “The Two Harlequins,”  Alfred Thompson’s adaptation of “L’Escamoteur,” “On the Cards,” and W. S. Gilbert’s operatic extravaganza, “Robert the Devil.” But three decades and a half have passed, and we already come to the final performance within a theatre whose varied policy and productions have been as much discussed as those of any playhouse in London.

For the last night of the “Old Gaiety” Mr, Edwards received over 20,000 applications for seats in the Pit and Gallery alone. Nearly every actor and actress of note has appeared et the London Gaiety at some time or other. Ada Cavendish, Samuel Phelps, Charles Matthews, John Ryder, George Conquest, Arthur Ceril, Sims Reeves, all appeared at the Gaiety in those early Hollingshead days. A good deal further down the fatal roll come the names of Fred Leslie, Kate Vaughan, E. J. Tounen, W. Elton, David James, Erneanx Cook, Tillie Belmore, Charles Harris, Meyer Lutz. In addition to “The Toreador” will be played “The Linkman,” or Gaiety Memories, which is a review of pest Gaiety successes. All the most popular songs are introduced, and the old favourites impersonated by present-day artistes.

The company include Mr. Fred Wright, jun; Mr. Lionel Markinder, Mr. George Grosmith, jun; Mr. Robert Vainby, Mr. Harry Grattan, Mr. Herbert Clayton, Mr. Arthur Hatherton, and Mr. Edmund Payne. Amongst the ladies are Miss Connie Ediss, Miss Violet Lloyd, Miss Florence Allen, Miss Hilda Jacobsen, Miss Adrienne Augarde, Miss Gabrielle Ray. A remarkably handsome souvenir will be given away on Friday night. The production is in the capable hands of Mr. A. E. Dodson. The orchestra has been specially augmented, and will be under the direction of Mr. Jacques Greebe.

The Irish Daily Independent and Nation, Monday, July 20th 1903

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – The Tatler – Wednesday 5th August 1903

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

The fittings of the Gaiety were sold off last Wednesday prior to the (curiously named) “housebreaker” starting the art of demolition. That part of the building which used to house the restaurant has already been destroyed.

 

GAIETY STARS: HOW THEY USED TO TWINKLE

By One of Them, Miss Emily Soldene.

 

[Miss Emily Soldene has many reminiscences of the Gaiety. It is interesting to note that she has in a round about way kept up her connection with the famous house, for her niece, Miss Katie Vesey, has danced there a good deal. Miss Soldene now lives permanently in London, where she practises the gentle art of journalism on behalf of an Australian newspaper. A witty woman, she has written the most amusing autobiography a player has ever given us.]

“A prima donna in the pit,” said the Daily Mail on the Monday following the last night of the good old Gaiety. Quite right; I was the prima donna in the pit and had no end of a time with The Linkman. What memories of charming artists, of adorable and applauding audiences, of all the rush and fuss – the adulation, the devotion, the breathless wonder, the absolute personal exaltation that comes with the certainty of success. This revue brought people and things back so vividly, for I, too, had played my part in this theatre, and the recollection of those times filled my remembering eyes – with tears? Oh no! with a sort of dimness, a – well, you know. What bevies of beauty have beamed from the Gaiety stage. Selina Dolaro – dark, piquant, Spanish, languorous, “delightful Dolly.” I see her now, the princess in Fleur de Lys (the first work of Leo Delibes produced in England), wearing a closely-clinging robe of white silken damask with interwoven golden lilies of France, a train of cloudy diaphanous tulle, down one side of which fell a shower of water lilies.

Clara Vesey in Genevieve de Brabant – blue-eyed, long-lashed Clara Vesey, the rage of the town, the toast of the clubs, the perfectly-figured pet page to H.S.H. the Duke of Brabant, the ineffable grace, disdain, impertinence, and blasé exhaustion of her “Your highness, the dinner waits,” being worth all the money and Miss Annie Sinclair, our first Clairette in Madame Angot – how pretty, delicate, and demure she was.

Then Kate Vaughan, a vision of dainty beauty in some burlesque, I forget the name – Alice in Dick Whittington I fancy – wearing a short white satin dress trimmed with white lilac, a large muff of white lilac, an early Victorian bonnet of white lilac, and her bodice fitting like the paper on the wall.

These were the first days of the famous “corset” bodice, introduced by the ladies of the French company playing at that time L’ Etrangere at the Queen’s Theatre, Long Acre. The new bodice was of inestimable value to the willowy, graceful, and from head-to-heel uneventful beauties. Missing curves were introduced, angles were rounded, and everybody – at least every feminine body wondered “how it was done.” The corset was padded the lady walked in at the back – was laced up tightly, and there you are. Do you remember “Lardy” Wilson the magnificent, the beauteous Egertons, the delightful Love, the petite this, the saucy that, the pages in Chilperic, the maids of honour in Genevieve? Splendid, all picked girls, and making the best of their opportunities. (Of course, I am speaking from an artistic point.) How beautiful and busy they looked in the boudoir of the duchess sewing mysterious tiny garments for an expected addition to the ducal household. What airs and graces, what flouting of poor mere men – girls not so plentiful in those days, scarcely enough to go round, girls rather at a premium.

What eyes! Blue eyes, grey eyes, amethyst eyes, flashing eyes, soft brown eyes, bright hazel eyes, defiant eyes, appealing eyes, but all the lashes black – part of the contract, you know. I have heard people remark they thought the girls sometimes glanced at the johnnies in the stalls. I don’t believe it, do you?

Talking of johnnies in the stalls, we used to have visitors behind the scenes now and then. Patricians, peers, patrons, not to mention personages. Nothing frivolous. Oh no. Potent, grave, and reverend signors; that sort of thing you know. Among them came a most noble marquis – a charming person, and so thoughtful. One had only to shiver at night to receive an Indian shawl next morning. Then the gloves were always made to order. And the handkerchiefs, real Valenciennes, and the jeweller’s young man came down from Bond Street in a cab bringing big cases to “choose from.”

His lordship was a devotee of that poetical and perfect form of married life which decrees that one should not see too much of the other. He was broad-shouldered, broad-minded, and would murmur, “Shall not get in before the second act to-morrow. I dine with my lady; she is a great astronomer you know, and will only receive me one evening in the week.”

Not but what this sort of thing may be carried too far. I have heard of the head of a household being described by his butler (of the Admirable Crichton type) as “the gentleman who dines with us on Sundays.”

Then among our visitors was a society doctor – very handy at times. He always carried a flask of fine brown sherry in his breast pocket. Brown sherry was fashionable in those days – amontillado being my particular.

Funny things happened sometimes. At a Gaiety matinee during the Phelps season – I think the play was Richelieu; anyway it was at the time of the American Revivalists – in a front scene, one of the characters pointing off “o.p.” said, “He comes – he is moody.” “Where’s Sankey?” said a voice from the gallery – which broke the audience all up and spoilt the cardinal’s entrance. Somewhere about this time occurred the apotheosis of Sara – the high-kicker who used to dust the floor with her back hair. She did not dance during my engagements at the Gaiety, the theatre having too fine a sense of propriety to admit the interpolation of such a startling number as “Wiry Sal.” At the dress rehearsal of Madame Angot tempo 1873, a great strike among the gentle men of the chorus – it being decreed that the sartorial exigencies called for white wigs, and wearers of white wigs must of necessity be clean-shaven. Quite a riot in the theatre. The ladies of the chorus were furious “kicked” at such a sacrilegious idea and were prepared to go to any length in defence of these hirsute and admired adornments. One with tears in her eyes cried, “I’d rather throw up my engagement than my William should lose his moustaches.”

Autre temps, autre moeurs; moustaches are at a discount and legs have gone out of fashion. Positively the retrospective and redivivus ladies in tights presented by The Linkman gave me a shiver. How different are the massaged, manicured, frilled- furbelowed, voluminously-flounced chiffon- clad houris of the present to the simple sealskin brigade of the past. In those days of light and leading the less one had on the better, and polished nails were an accident.

Well, here’s to the “Gaiety girl of the present,” and though rather a “’orty” and petted young person long may she reign and have as good times as the “Gaiety girl of the past.”

 EMILY SOLDENE.

The Tatler – Wednesday 5th August 1903

A “tip-up seat.” For me it was a throne,

Whereon I took my place as king, with zest,

For whom the stars would twinkle, and the jest

Was blown.

An easy throne– the nimble ten-and-six

Gave me, how many times, the right to reign

And take the ready gift of Joy from Payne

(Or Hicks).

Seats that have heard such cheers from roof to stall,

Gaunt relics of the merrymaker’s feast,

I wonder what your fate. Perchance some

East- end hall.

Soon will the rain and every wayward wind

Sweep o’er the boards where sunny scenes were set

For poor Kate Vaughan and Sylvia Grey, and Letty Lind.

A JINGLE BY J. M. B.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – London Daily News – Friday 3rd July 1903

DRAMA.

So great is the affection which the old Gaiety Theatre has won from the hearts of London playgoers that it may well be surmised that sentiment has had as much to say to the enormous demand for seats on July 4th as the desire for amusement. That Mr. George Edwardes evidently realise this can be seen from the programme which he has prepared. In addition the second act of “The Toreador” and “The Linkman,” which will cater for the one feeling, a farewell speech is to be delivered Sir Henry Irving, and “Auld Lang Syne” is to be sung by Miss Florence St. John, the chorus being taken all old Gaiety favourites past and present, who will assemble together on the stage for the last time. And no doubt Mr. George Edwardes will be neither surprised nor annoyed find the whole audience rise in their places and join in a last goodbye to the stage which has served them so well.

London Daily News – Friday 3rd July 1903

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – London Evening Standard – Friday 20th February 1903

SPECIAL NOTICE.

The present GAIETY THEATRE, being now in the last few months of its existence, it has occurred to Mr .GEORGE EDWARDES that the patrons of the house may be not unwilling to be reminded of some of the brilliant success of the past. He therefore, offers the public an opportunity of renewing acquaintances with a selection of the moat popular scenes, characters and songs that have enlivened the Gaiety boards from the days of Mr. JOHN HOLLINGSHEAD’S Management down to the present time. These will be embodied in a short Sketch, entitled THE LINKMAN or GAIETY MEMORIES, and will be introduced into Act 11 of THE TOREADOR, on and after TO-MORROW (Saturday) EVENING.

 

GAIETY THEATRE

London Evening Standard – Friday 20th February 1903

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The Linkman, The Toreador, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Monday 6th July 1903

 

“The Sacred Lamp” was no doubt carefully packed up for use elsewhere after the farewell performance within the walls of the old Gaiety, which early this morning ended a career brilliantly successful for the most part of 34 years and half. The second act of “The Toreador,” then played for the 675th time, began a stage representation of almost unparalleled interest, and not a little pathos, some of the principal participants therein – Sir Henry Irving, Mr. George Edwardes, Mr. John Hollingshead (whose illustrated souvenir “Good Old Gaiety” was presented to each member of a crowded and most demonstrative audience), Miss Florence St. John, and Mr. E. W. Royce, for example – being perceptibly affected by the unnerving old associations that filled the minds of all players and playgoers of long standing who had the fortune to present.

One could not help thinking of such dead favourites as poor Fred Leslie, E. J. Lonnen, Vaughan, and many more. Ill-health kept away J. L. Toole and Nellie Farren, and other notable absentees from the boards they formerly adorned were Mr. Edward Terry, Mr. Arthur Roberts, and Miss Connie Gilchrist (the Countess of Orkney). Sir Henry tried to turn lightly from the past to the future in his speech near the close of the performance, and Mr. Edwardes’s few words of thanks were full of hope and confidence respecting the new Gaiety. It was nearly 12.30 when “Auld Lang Syne” was sung by Miss St. John, with full chorus, and the audience reluctantly left the theatre, stripping off as “last memories” the flowers and festoons with which it had been decorated.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Monday 6th July 1903

 

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Our Nights Were Gay” – W. Macqueen-Pope – Britannia and Eve – 1st February 1952

“Our Nights Were Gay”

W. Macqueen-Pope

On that first night of The Orchid a little wisp of sun kissed thistledown floated on to the stage, all demure in a gown of Quaker grey and announced that she was “the Minister’s Private Secretary.” She had a thin little pipe of a voice – but distinct diction, as they all had – but that did not matter. For she danced, and how she danced, it was a summer wind across a cornfield – a strip of gossamer floating on a zephyr. And up would go a long, slim leg in a high kick and every man’s heart throbbed. She had a halo of real golden hair which surmounted the prettiest face possible – a girl cupid’s face right off a magazine cover or a chocolate box – and her name was Gabrielle Ray. She became the most photographed actress which even the Gaiety had known … and many of those old photographs are treasured to-day.

Gabrielle Ray knew her singing limitations. She always complained when given a song with three or four verses. She knew that however well she learned it, all but the first verse and chorus would be cut. It always was. But what of that? It was the dance and the beauty that mattered. And when, in pink pyjamas, she announced that she was a lovely little lady to adore – young men nearly got crushed to death at the stage door – just to see her …

Britannia and Eve – Friday, 1st February 1952

 

 

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Orchid, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre (L 144)

The Gaiety Theatre (L 144)

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre (National Series)

The Gaiety Theatre (National Series)

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, The National Series, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outside The Gaiety Stage Door (Tuck 1772)

Outside the Gaiety Stage Door (Tuck 1772)

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Deltiology, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gaiety Theatre – (195) 1934

The Gaiety Theatre - (195) 1934

 

This postcard of The Gaiety Theatre was taken in about 1934, the show advertised was “Sporting Love” which ran for 302 performances from 1st March 1934 and stared Stanley Lupino.

July 25, 2015 Posted by | Deltiology, Social History, The Gaiety Theatre, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment