Theatre in Sydney 1892

Not the least interesting event in connection with the celebration of the Christmas festivities is the appearance of the streets on Christmas Eve and when, as was the case this year, the 24th of December falls on a Saturday, a walk through the city affords no little pleasure. On Saturday night there was an enormous crowd of people abroad, and although to many the year rapidly closing has been one of great hardship, it is characteristic of the Australian that he allows no gloomy reflections to mar his thorough enjoyment of the season of peace and goodwill. The external decorations of the business premises are less profuse this year than they have been in times past, but in the principal business streets many of the shopkeepers had gone to considerable trouble in making as attractive a display as possible, and it must be admitted that the result was creditable and interesting. From an early hour the streets were crowded with pedestrians, and although there was some little crushing in the arcades and other popular resorts, and locomotion was at times difficult, the people on the whole were good-humoured, and pleasant greetings were much more frequent than menacing remarks and grumbling ejaculations.

(Sydney Morning Herald Monday 26th December, 1892)

Theatre Royal, Sydney. 1890

Theatre Royal, Sydney. 1890

AMUSEMENTS

CRITERION THEATRE

Since the Brough-Boucicault Comedy Company vacated the Criterion Theatre last June, the landlord (Mr. George Hill) has spent more than £8000 upon the property, of which the decorations alone represent no less a sum than £1500. The only external alteration consists in the addition of porticoes to the stalls and dress-circle entrances, and of a not very noticeable extension of the facade, by which the depth of the stage has been increased. The interior has, however, been much beautified and improved, and although the structure of the pretty little playhouse is not much changed, yet the alterations affecting the comfort of the audience are radical and sweeping. Entering the stalls by the dress-circle entrance, the spectator will note that much has been done by the architects, Messrs. Backhouse and Lindley, to give greater space and airiness to the interior. A little room at the back of the stalls has been abolished, and two alcoves with ventilators above have been added, whilst the space between the top of the swing doors and the ceiling enables the fresh air from the street to circulate above the heads of stallites, these said stallites will sit on seats richly upholstered in velvet plush by Messrs. Beard, Watson, and Co., and, as the obstructive beam beneath the dress-circle front has been removed, their lot should be an enviable one. From the centre of the stalls and from the stage the new architectural feature of the theatre, the dome, becomes visible - visitors to the dress-circle will of course be unable to view this notable improvement. The changes in their quarter of the house consist in a better arrangement of the "platform" of seats, and the creation of innumerable ventilators and exhaust shafts, in the provision of three alcoves daintily decorated in the Moorish style, in the lowering of the awkward barrier which backed the seats, and in the reconstruction of the boxes on either side. Apart from the elegance of the architectural effect the dome may be said to be devoted to the comfort of the family circle and gallery. It rises exactly over the family circle to a considerable height above the new roof, which is itself 12ft, higher than the old ceiling. As the house has been decorated throughout with great taste by Mr S W. Bradbury, the delicate tints of pale blue, duck-egg, fawn, cream, and old gold, give the auditorium the effect of lightness and grace which it formerly lacked. Mr. Robert Brough, whilst describing the various changes to our representative yesterday, dwelt with pardonable pride upon the comfort scoured for occupants of the family circle. In past years these seats were unpopular, as the "sunlight" hung too low, and the low ceiling helped to draw off the fumes into the house instead of out of it. The new sunlight, hanging high above, is of wrought iron, made by Messrs. Cassell and Co., of Newtown, the design showing lilies, waratahs, and tulips, in soft tints of white and pink, pale green and gold. Both electric light and gas are available here as elsewhere. Above the dome is the sliding roof, 8ft across, with great louvres for use in rainy weather. All round the base of the dome and ceiling are Boyle's patent ventilators. "Having suffered in silence so long," remarked Mr. Brough in this connection, "we 'let ourselves go' when we had the chance, so that ventilation is now the strong point of our cosy playhouse", Above the proscenium is a series of pictures by Mr. G. Walsh (of Bradbury and Co.), representing the Seven Ages of Man, whilst the proscenium frame is of terra cotta, crimson and gold. The opening is 2ft. wider than it was and 3ft. lower, and will thus form a well proportioned frame for the tableaux, of which some of especial beauty, from the brush of Mr. W. B Spong, will be shown in "Much Ado about Nothing". The stage itself is 10ft. deeper than it was, the exact size being 36ft. deep by 58ft. wide. The electric light has been installed throughout, but the additional rooms at the back will not be completed until the Pitt-street facade has been extended over the site formerly occupied by the New Zealand Hotel.

From the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday December 23rd, 1892

A LARGE CITY AND NO THEATRES

Although theatres in Sydney flourished at the beginning of 1892 by the middle of the year many began to shut. At one stage there was only one large theatre in operation. Because of hardship audiences began to frequent the Music Hall. Here entrepreneur Henry Rickards made a killing with a variety programme that changed regularly and kept audiences continually amused. Visiting circus's were also popular. At one stage there were two, Wirth Brothers and Fillis's Circus, competing for patrons. Click on a month and check what was happening in Sydney theatres for the year 1892. All reviews are from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' unless otherwise stated.

January February
March April
May June
July August
September October
November December


JANUARY 1892

Her Majesty's Theatre

'The Babes in the Wood' continued all month to great crowds.

"The pantomime went brightly, and the transformation scene, with its graceful groups of pretty fairies, was received with enthusiasm."

The pantomime finished its season on Friday January 29th.

On January 30th for the first time in Australia the comedy drama 'Forty Nine' was mounted. The company was headed by William Rignold and Maggie Moore.

"The new piece, though it cannot boast lively dramatic action or originality, is everywhere tinged with tender sentiment, and the story is clearly, though quietly, unfolded."

This played until February 12th. On Saturday February 13th there was a revival of Goethe's 'Faust'.

"Mr Jewett makes a lusty Faust in his condition of recrudescence - wanting in fineness of touch, perhaps, but full of manliness and verve. He plays with much dash, and sustains his part with a considerable share of success. Miss Kate Bishop is well suited as Marguerite. She imparts to her rendering of the character a graceful touch, of girlish sentiment and freshness of manner, with a pleasing suggestion of that romanticism which we are accustomed to associate with the Marguerite of the story."

The drama ran the rest of the month.

Criterion Theatre

The juveniles continued playing 'La Mascotte' to good business.

The Star reviewer said that the production was "well worth seeing. One of the prettiest effects we have seen on the stage for a long time."

The last performance was on January 8th. On Saturday the 9th 'The Mikado' was mounted. This featured two Sydney lads. Master Robert Clough played Nanki-Poo and Master Harry Leader played Booh-Bah. On Monday the 18th 'The Pirates' returned for a couple of performances. This was followed by 'Patience' on the Wednesday. The last night of the season was on Friday January 22nd.

On Saturday 23rd the Brough-Boucicault Company returned with the first production in Australia of the farcical comedy by William Lestocq and Walter Everard entitled 'Uncles and Aunts'. This featured Tom Cannam and Charles Fabert from the Comedy Theatre, London, making their first appearance in Australia.

Of Mr. Cannam the reviewers said that "from the moment that he stepped upon the stage he became thoroughly at home with the audience"
Of Mr. Fabert the same reviewer said "he only appears in the last act and under the circumstances it is only fair to reserve a notice of his performance until he is able to do more justice to himself and the part entrusted to him."

[Editor's note: Tom Cannam continued his Australian stage career well into the 20th century later appearing with the J.C. Williamson company and in a couple of movies from the silent era]
'Uncles and Aunts' played until February 12th. On February 13th there was the first performance in Australia of 'The Solisiter' by J.H. Darnley. Robert Brough was in the title role.

"The central figure in the piece is, of course, the Solicitor, Gilbert Brandon, whose unfortunate happenings form the central idea of the plot. It is a part exactly suited to Mr Brough, whose peculiar knack of depicting semi-pathetic, semi-humorous misery enables him to keep the audience in roars of laughter at his troubles. The solicitor's wife, Mrs Brandon, was treated in a delicate and finished style by Miss Emma Bronton, who, both by her dress and make-up, gave a sympathetic picture of a beautiful woman in distress."

'The Solicitor' played the rest of the month.

New Garrick

The Cogill Brothers Comedy Burlesque Company success came to a close on Friday January 15th.
On the 16th there was advertised a variety programme featuring Edith Lynne from London and '20 eminent star artists secured by the management at considerable trouble and expense'. This was basically a programme of short works with a more classical nature. The company played just a few nights and then disappeared. There were no reviews posted.

On Tuesday January 26th John F. Sheridan and company returned with a variety programme for a few nights then a return of the popular ' Bridget O'Brien, Esquire' starting on Saturday 30th. This was followed by 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' on February 13th.

"Mr. Harry Leston, although more at home in low comedy, did all that was necessary as Uncle Tom to ensure the tearful sympathy of the audience, especially in the dying scene, and Messes. Burton Royle and Charles Montague, as Simon Legree and George Harris respectively, made the most of what they had to do."

The final two performances of the season were taken with 'Fun on the Bristol'. The season finished on Monday February 29th.

Theatre Royal

'The Forty Thieves' continued to play to packed houses all January. The final night was on Friday February 12th.

On Saturday 13th there commenced a short season of Italian Opera by a newly formed 'Italian' company. The opening night opera was 'Ernani'.

"Signor Melossi made a great hit here in the baritone part as King Carlo, the other principals joined in the intensely dramatic music of the well-contrived situation, and Signor Maffezzoli brought up both chorus and orchestra to the expected musical climax with great judgement."

The opera was repeated the following Monday and Wednesday. Other operas performed this season included 'Lucia di Lammermoor', 'Faust', 'Rigoletto' and 'Un Ballo in Maschera'.


MARCH 1892

Her Majesty's Theatre

The George Ringold season continued with Goethe's 'Faust'. On Saturday 12th the company mounted the military drama 'In The Ranks'.

"The acting all round was fully up to the standard required by the drama. Miss Watts-Phillips appeared in the, leading part of Ruth Herrick, a character which Miss Kate Bishop made popular in the old days and, without entering into comparisons, Miss Phillips may fairly claim to have deserved the approval which the audience bestowed upon her."

On Saturday March 26th the George Sims drama 'Life's Rough Road' was staged for the first time in Australia.

"As in the case of many melodramas of similar character, the scenery forms an important feature in the representation, and to the frequent changes which please the eye is probably due the lack of strong continuity in the plot. Mr George Rignold was at his best in the dock scene, where the agony of the cry, "Give mo work, sir, give me work," was a touching piece of emotional acting and the speeches in the garret had the true ring about them."

Theatre Royal

The Grand Italian Opera Company continued its successful season. 'Faust' was performed on Saturday 27th.

"Sigiiorinu Guidotti, the new Margherita, was very well received by the house. However, since discrimination is necessary, it may be said at once that the soprano was at her best in the last two acts of the opera, the quality of the voice was always liquid and beautiful, but in the "Jewel Song" and elsewhere the artist was too obviously saving her voice and this too conscious care robbed the impersonation of the lightness and spontaneity which should characterise it in the earlier scenes."

The opera was repeated again the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On the Thursday and Friday there were performances of 'Un Ballo in Maschera'.

"Guiseppe Vilalta is to bo congratulated upon his Riccardo. The tenor still makes his points with the gallery by a forcing of the voice which every cultivated ear must disapprove but when this has been said, due weight must be given both to the aplomb with which the artist acted the part, and to the brilliancy and readiness with which he sang it."

The final week of the Italian Opera Company season at the Theatre Royal commenced on Saturday 5th with the popular 'Lucia di Lammermoor' staged once again.

"As a whole, we are inclined to think this the best-performed opera of the present season, and probably no one will dispute that Lucia is Signoru Cuttica's best part. The music suits the quality of the voice, and the rendering is in every department, vocally and histrionically, of the most delicately artistic character. Thus again on Saturday the prima donna carried off the honours of the evening."

This was followed on the Monday by 'Faust', then 'Un Ballo in Maschera', 'The Barber of Seville' (on Wednesday and Friday) and 'Il Trovatore'. On Saturday the 12th the company moved to the Garrick Theatre for, what was to be, one final week.

On Saturday 12th Bland Holt and company returned to Sydney with a brand new selection of dramas. First up was the Naval and Military drama 'A Sailor's Knot', by Henry Pettitt. Joining the company was Charles Glenney from Drury Lane, London.

"Mr Glenney soon won the favour of the house, and the manly conduct of his hero, as well as the spirited way in which he delivered the little speeches the dramatist has put into the part secured frequent and cordial applause." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"The whole performance seemed to afford great enjoyment to the large audience that witnessed it. The 'comic relief' was thrown in with complete success by Mr. Bland Holt as the jolly young waterman of the period, attired in the appropriate costume, coat and badge, etc." (Evening News)

Criterion Theatre

The Brough-Boucicault Comedy Company production of 'The Solicitor', by J.H. Darnley, concluded on Friday March 4th. The company then staged the farcical comedy 'The Arabian Nights' on Saturday March 5th. This was an adaptation, by Sydney Grundy, from von Moser's 'Haroun al Raschid'. This featured the first appearance of Ida Liston as the Gutta-Percha girl.

"Miss Ida Liston, the new soubrette actress, made a decidedly favourable impression as Rosa Colombier, a part she acted with a great deal of spirit. The new-comer, who has a graceful stage presence, was prettily dressed in buttercup silk, with a corset-shaped bodice of russet velvet; and in the second act sang Mr. G. L. Gordon's new song 'Dangers are Hovering Round'."

On Saturday 18th the Tom taylor (1817 - 1880) comedy 'New Men and old Acres' was staged. This season saw the final appearance of G. W. (George William) Anson before his return to England.

"Mr Anson had a tremendous reception, and the applause lasted so long that the actor had every excuse for feeling embarassed - though wo suspect that Mr Anson is case-hardened in this respect, aand past "flattery to tears" by the golden tongue, which is the actor's sweetest music."

The final night of 'New Men' was on Saturday April 2nd.

Garrick Theatre

Four benefit concerts were held at this theatre from March 1st to the 4th. This was for the pianist Clarice Brabazon prior to her departure to Europe.

The Grand Italian Opera Company concluded their current season with a final two weeks at this theatre. On Saturday 12th and Monday 14th their was the first performance by the current company of 'La Traviata'.

"Signora Cuttica sang superbly. The first act was one long out-pouring of gaily sparkling song, and the fresh ringing voice, which filled the little theatre in the most astonishing way with a rich tolumo of enchanting sound, charmed every ear."

On Tuesday and Thursday another first by the current company. This was 'Lucrezia Borgia'.

"Signorina Guidotti, the new "Lucrezin Borgia," has so fine a stage presence, that with but little effort she gave dignity and distinction to the role. Even where the voice is not strong, the quality is always good, and thus the "Com è bello" was acceptable, whilst in the closing scene of all the prima donna acted with intelligence."

The other two evenings were taken with the every popular 'Lucia di Lammermoor' and 'Martha'. 'La Traviata' returned on Saturday 19th and their was a final benefit performance of 'The Barber of Seville' the following Monday. 'La Sonnambula', 'Il Trovatore', 'La Traviata' and 'Lucia di Lammermoor' played out the week.

The theatre then went dark for a few days opening briefly on Thursday 31st and Friday Aprl 1st for a farewell evening to the American members of Rice's Evangeline Company.


APRIL 1892

Garrick Theatre

The Grand Italian Opera Company returned again for several more performances. These included 'La Sonnambula', 'La Traviata', 'Rigoletto', 'Faust' and other favourites. [Editor's note: The two leading Italians from the troupe, Signor Vilalta and Signora Cuttica had now departed. The opera company performed four nights a week with Rice's Evangeline Company performing odd evenings.] The very final night of the rather long season was on Thursday April 21st. The production that evening was 'Lucia di Lammermoor'.

On Saturday April 23rd and for the following week the Rice Evangeline Company with their usual programme of melodramas, comedies and burlesques, were in residence. The final appearance of this company was a matinee on Saturday April 30th.

Criterion Theatre

On Monday April 4th G. W. Anson played Eccles in a production of Robertson's comedy 'Caste'.

"Last night's success is thus especially satisfactory, in view of the fact that it waa not due to Mr. Anson's fine acting alone, but to the ensemble; and it may be confidently stated in this connection that after the present run it is not probable that as fine a cast will ever bo furnished in Australia again."

The final night of the season for G. W. Anson was on Friday April 22nd. On Saturday 23rd 'Captain Swift', by C. Haddon Chambers, was produced.

"Mr. G. S. Titheradge, who had an immense reception upon his re-appearance, gives a thoroughly clever and harmonious rendering of the part of Wilding, alias Captain Swift. Miss Seymour's re-appearance on the stage aftter a long absence proved a decided element of strength in the representation. Richly dressed, with an elegant figure and an aristocratic face, Miss Seymour filled the part of Lady Staunton to perfection, giving it weight and interest by the repose of her manner and the charm of a pleasant voice."

Theatre Royal

'A Sailor's Knot' concluded its run on Friday April 8th. On April 9th there was a revival of the Henry Pettitt and George Sims drama 'Master and Man'.

"Mr. Bland Holts revival of "Master and Man" at the Theatre Royal on Saturday was received with the most demonstrative enthusiasm. Seldom has an audience been more evidently in holiday mood, and the comic repartees of Tom Honeywood were welcomed with shouts of laughter. Stalls and gallery were unusually crowded, and though the piece went well throughout, the audience more readily recognised the fun of the fable than its pathos."

The last night was on Friday April 22nd. The next evening the Bland Holt company produced the military drama 'The Trumpet Call', by George Sims and Robert Buchanan. This was an Australian first. The play having been playing in London since August the proceeding year.

"The piece has been described as a melodrama without a villain, and certainly Richard Featherstone, as the authors have drawn him, is not a very highly-coloured evil-doer. The demon of discord in the story is Astræa, or Bertha, as the reader prefers. Miss Edith Blande, who essayed the part, was admirably suited, and made what in many respects must be regarded as a distinct success."

'The Trumpet Call' played into May.

Her Majesty's Theatre

On April 2nd William Rignold headed the company in a production of 'Now-a-days' by Wilson Barrett. The final night of the season was on Friday April 8th after which the company headed for Adelaide.

The theatre then closed for a week opening again on Saturday April 16th with Billie Barlow and company in the burlesque 'Dick Whittington and his Cat'.

"Miss Barlow has a very distinct individuality, and may be summed up ns handsome, frank, and hearty. Her speaking voice ia uncommonly large and rich in tone, and every word ia enunciated with distinctness and point."

'Dick' played the rest of the month


MAY 1892

Garrick Theatre

On the evening of Saturday April 30th Frank J. Currier and company produced the comedy drama 'The County Fair', by Charles Barnard, with its wonderful race scene.

"New machinery has been imported for this scene and as the horses galloped strongly on Saturday, complete realism of effect may be gained on the repetition of the race this evening. The chief feature of interest in the revival is thus the impersonation of Abigail Prue by Mr. Currier, upon which the comedian may be heartily congratualted. The make-up in auburn cork-screw curls was capital, and the whole picture was true to life."

The final performance by the company was on Friday May 6th.

On Saturday May 7th the English actor Harry Rickards and his comedy and specialty company made a return visit back to Sydney. They opened with a variety programme which included the musical comedy 'Pink Notes'.

"Mr. Rickards is as versatile and juvenile as ever. His Arthur Ashton was an amusing comedy part, and the funny predicaments in which Ashton is placed by the persistent attention of a lady who is not his wife, and the inquisitorial nature of his mother-in-law, prevented "Pink Notes" from flagging for a moment."

The evening's programme changed regularly. The season drew to a close on Friday June 3rd with a benefit.

Criterion Theatre

The last performance of 'Captain Swift' was on Tuesday May 3rd. On Wednesday May 4th the popular comedy by Robert Buchanan 'Sophia' opened. This was an adaptation of Henry Fielding’s 'Tom Jones'.

"Mr. Cecil Ward, has done nothing so good as his Tom Jones. Last night he again delighted the audience. He quite looks the "pretty fellow" described by Honor as having "a hand for his friends, a kiss for a pretty girl, and a smile for all the world"; and running through all the boisterous high-spirits of the part the actor adroitly shows a certain pathos and earnestness of purpose which is continually peeping out."

The last performance was on Friday May 13th. On the 14th 'Diplomacy' was revived. This was an adaptation of the Sardou comedy 'Dora'.

"No doubt "Diplomacy" is a piece which requires the most anxious, the most laborious rehearsal, and in the case of Saturday's revival though the lines went smoothly, the actors were out of touch with the audience all through the first act. Mr Titheradge, who again appeared as Henry Beauclerc, played with much oi his old breadth and authority, but had so disguised his identity by entirely shaving his face that it was difficult to recognise him as an old friend."

'Diplomacy' finished on Monday 23rd. On Tuesday 'The Country Girl' from the novel by William Wycherley was produced.

"Wycherley's famous comedy in its amended form was received with roars of laughter at the Criterion Theatre last night, and the holiday audience seized the points of a dialogue which bristled with epigram, and enjoyed the humorous ingenuity of the plot in a way which shows that were such plays more plentiful the knell of modern farcical comedy would be sounded. Miss Patti Browne, upon whose acting so much is depended, made a genuine success as Peggy Thrift."

Her Majesty's Theatre

'Dick Whittington amd his Cat' drew to a close on Friday May 6th. The next evening Billie Barlow appeared in the successful 'Little Jack Sheppard'.

""Little Jack Sheppard" is a first rate burlesque, and it is so chiefly because it is strong in its music, an all-important department to which Florian Pascal, Meyer Lutz, Michael Watson, Corney Grain, Alfred Cellier, and many other composers have contributed sparkling and vivacious melodies. Mr John Brauton has painted some beautiful scenery for the new production. There is the pretty landscape and woodland view, with the mill and the foaming river in the distance, which forms the subject of the first act at "Doll's Hill Farm", and again the change from the cells to the outside of the prison, with the bird's-eye view of smoky London as seen from the leads, furnishes further illustration of the " burlesque-operatic-melodrama" - to quote its original (very original!) description." 'Little jack Sheppard' proved itself a hit and played the rest of the month.

Theatre Royal

'The Trumpet Call' finally finished on Friday May 13th. The Bland Holt season was drawing to a close. On Saturday the 14th the Sims and Pettitt drama 'London Day by Day' was revived.

"The drama was broadly acted in the spirit intended by the authors and expected by the audience. As Harry Ascalon, the money-lender, Mr Bland Holt repeated once moro his capital portrait of irrepressible vulgarity, and his appearance in "flannels" and a straw hat was the cause of general laughter. Miss Edith Blande, superbly dressed in peacock blue velvet, harmoniously contrasted with silk of a lighter tint gave a strong and impressive rendering of Maud Willoughby." The Bland Holt season finished on Thursday May 19th.

On Saturday May 21st the English actress, Mrs Bernard Beere (Fanny Mary), made her first appearance in Sydney. She had brought from England her company which included Isabella Urquhart, Henrietta Watson, Herbert Standing and Otto Stuart, The initial production was 'As in a Looking-Glass'.

"Mrs. Bernard-Beere adds a graceful presence and a very pleasing and attunable voice, which last is by no means the least of her advantages. Her power of facial expression, too, struck the audience not less than her admirable ease of manner."

Mrs Bernard Beere. Courtesy of hat-archive.com Fanny Mary Bernard-Beere (née Whitehead) (1856-1915), was born in Norwich. She made her stage debut at the Opera Comique in 1877. She was in the first London production [1882] of 'Far From the Madding Crowd', by J. Comyns Carr and Thomas Hardy, and in 1893 appeared in the first performance of 'A Woman of No Importance', by Oscar Wilde. She was three times married, but for stage purposes retained the name of her second husband.

'As in a Looking-Glass' finished on Tuesday May 31st.


JUNE 1892

Theatre Royal

On Wednesday June 1st Mrs. Bernard-Beere and company performed the Tom Taylor comedy 'Masks and Faces'.

"The new cast is quite adequate, and Mr. Herbert Standing's Triplet in particular is admirable. Not before has "Masks and Faces" been presented here with the completeness which characterises the present revival."

On Wednesday June 8th the company produced 'Fedora'.

"The artiste never over-acts the character, and though on the one hand no attempt is made to throw fresh light upon it or to invent new points on the other there is no close or studied following of Madame Bernhardt's method."

'Fedora' finished on Tuesday 14th. 'London Assurance' then played out the week. Early on the Friday morning the theatre's auditorium was destroyed by fire. Fortunately the stage and wardrobe escaped so on Saturday 18th the Bernard-Beere company moved to the Criterion Theatre and opened 'The School for Scandal' there.

Garrick Theatre

On Saturday June 4th Walter Bentley made his first appearance on the Sydney stage. The production was 'Hamlet' in which he was supported by Laura Hansen and a 'carefully selected' company.

"Mr. Bentley everywhere plays with tact and scholarly reverence for the great Shakesperian part: but the impersonation is undeniably moulded upon popular line. Miss Laura Hausen made her début as Ophelia. The young actress, blue-eyed and with fair hair, looked the character in her white, gold-fringed robes. The impersonation was not strong, but it could boast a certain girlish freshness which pleased, and in the mad scene, which was of unequal merit, the first exit, with its burst of foolish laughter, was dramatically effective."

The last night of 'Hamlet' was Friday June 10th. On Saturday the 11th there was a double bill both featuring the talented Walter Bentley. 'Garrick; or, love and Honour' was followed by the Scotch farce 'Cramond Brig'.

"At all events, the house laughed heartily at and with the farce from start to finish, and beyond this there can be no other test. Mr. Bentley's character touches were distinctly true and workmanlike, and showed sterling knowledge of the actor's art."

The double bill finished on Friday 17th. On the 18th Walter Bentley appeared in 'The Bells'.

"Mr Bentley must have devoted close study to the part from a psychological as well as an artistic, point of view. From the very nature of the plot "The Bells" must necessarily be a one-part piece, and it was the truest compliment to Mr. Bentley's impersonation that the audience were kept closely interested right through the action of the drama."

'The Bells' finished on Wednesday the 29th. On the Thursday and Friday 'The Lady of Lyons' was staged.

Her Majesty's Theatre

'Little Jack Sheppard' continued to hold Sydney audiences under it's spell.

"Miss Barlow has wrought her Jack Sheppard up to a high state of excellence" (Bulletin)

The final night was Friday June 10th. On the 11th there was the first production in Sydney of the burlesque 'Randolph the Reckless, Up to Data'.

"The house on Saturday evening was crowded from top to bottom, the gallery was enthusiastic, and the vivacious Miss Billie Barlow scored triumph after triumph from her devoted admirers, who, it need hardly be mentioned, are mostly to be found in the upper regions of the theatre. Miss Barlow was in her element, she danced and sang and talked airy nonsense with that vivacity which is her peculiar charm, and which would make her fortune on the music-hall stage, were she to desert the boards of the theatre for the more profitable if less dignified place of entertainment."

This was the final week of the Billie Barlow season with the last performance on Friday the 17th. She would set sail for England in early July.

On Saturday the 18th the Royal Comic Opera Company under the direction of J.C. Williamson returned for an extended season. The opening work was a Sydney first. This was 'La Cigale', by Edmond Audran (1840 - 1901), with an English libretto by F.C. Burnand.

"Mr Williamson has staged the piece magnificently, and with Mr Henry Bracy, to whose direction the well-regulated animation of the fair scene and the smooth movement of the whole piece is due, may be congratulated upon an admirable performance of a charming work. This review of Saturday's performance would bo incomplete without brief allusion to the excellence of the chorus and orchestra of the Royal Comic Opera Company under M. Léon Caron's direction."

'La Cigale' continued through the month.

Criterion Theatre

'The Country Girl' finished on Tuesday June 7th. On Wednesday the 8th there was the first production by the Brough-Boucicault company of W.S. Gilbert's 'Engaged'.

"('Engaged') was very brightly presented last night, and laughter, applause, and a generally cheerful spirit pervaded the house throughout the action of the crisp little piece. The piece is described on the bills as a farcical comedy, and there is no doubt that it is, at all events, an entirely amusing and supremely ridiculous farce."

'Engaged' finished on June 14th. Then 'The Pickpocket' and 'The Country Girl' played out the week. The Brough-Boucicault Company then made their farewells to Sydney.

On Saturday the 18th Mrs. Bernard-Beere and company opened 'School for Scandal' at this theatre.

"The transition from one theatre to another was marvellously well managed. The feat called for great exertions from all concerned - from actors, managers, and stage hands - and the public showed their appreciation of it by giving the piece a most cordial reception. The mounting was bright, and on the whole historically correct, though we might venture to suggest that modern school maps were not usually found in the study of an eighteenth century gentleman. The dresses were luxurious even tot lavishness; and, thanks to excellent stage management, the many changes of scene were well carried out."

On thursday and Friday, the 23rd and 24th, 'She Stoops to Conquer' was staged. Mrs. Bernard-Beere played Miss Hardcastle. "The actress was in herself a thought too tall and stately to look the part, and it was thus difficult to account for Young Marlow's s folly in mistaking so elegant a creature for the barmaid of an inn." 'Conquer' was followed on Saturday the 25th by 'Adrienne Lecouvreur'.

"It is gratifying to be able to record Mrs. Beere's complete success in her new part and not only this, but the performance as a whole will rank amongst the productions of her season as second only in point of popularity to "Masks and Faces"."

'Adrienne Lecouvreur' finished on July 1st.

Imperial Opera House

The old Opera House in York Street reopened on Saturday June 25th under it's new name. George Forbes, the lessee, had spared no pains to beautify the interior and make the whole place cosy and pleasant. The opening production was the comedy 'The Whirligig' with a large cast that included Henry Shine, A.E. Greenaway, Edwin Bryer and J. R. Greville, as Mr. Jordan.

"Mr. J. R. Greville makes his reappearance before a Sydney audience in this part, and he makes the most of it. He amplifies the character as it is written up by gagging remorselessly throughout the piece, securing many a hearty laugh."

'The Whirligig' played out the week.


JULY 1892

Criterion Theatre

Mrs Bernard-Beere's season continued one further week with a mixed program that included 'Masks and Faces', 'London Assurance' and 'Fedora'. The final night was on July 7th. The theatre then went dark for what was quoted in the newspaper as being for alteration and repairs. The landlord, George Hill, spent £8,000 on the property which would eventually reopen with the Brough-Boucicault company on boxing night 1892.

Imperial Opera House

On Saturday July 2nd Mr. F.J. Currier made his first appearance at the theatre in a Sydney first. This was the comedy 'A Pleasant Home'. This was an adaptation from a German comedy by H. Duckworth and W. Gillette.

"The new play is so incoherent in construction, and so fragmentary in its detail, that it might fairly bo described as "a piece in pieces." It has been written by an experienced hand, however, and the best scenes on Saturday were received with shrieks of laughter."

On Saturday July 9th Jennie Lee and her famous 'Jo' hit the Opera House stage for one week prior to her departure to England.

"There is in Miss Lee's impersonation of "Jo" a touch of genius, and this keeps it fresh after years of wear and tear."

Jennie Lee then played 'The Ticket-of-leave Man' on Saturday the 16th and the following nights with a grand benefit for her on Thursday July 21st. There was one further performance of 'Ticket' on Friday and Jennie Lee made her final farewells to Australia.

On Satuday July 23rd the comedian John Gourley returned for a season. The popular 'Skipped by the Light of the Moon', by George Sims, made a return visit.

"In the present revival Mr Gourlay and Mr Walton sustain the sketch with their droll humour, and as the author leaves them perfectly free to follow their own devices, they sport with impunity in the ocean of folly they quickly create for themselves. It need scarcely be said that almost incessant laughter on the part of the audience is the outcome of their joint endeavours."

Her Majesty's Theatre

The successful 'La Cigale' continued to draw the crowds. The piece drew to a close on Tuesday July 5th. On the 6th 'Marjorie', by Walter Slaughter (1860 - 1908), was staged. [Editor's note: 'Marjorie' was first produced in 1890 in London by the Carl Rosa Opera Company. It ran for 193 performances.] The cast included Florence Young, in the title role, Flora Graupner, Elsie Cameron, Henry Bracy and recently arrived comedian George Lauri.

"The bright little operetta takes its tone from the situation. Crisp, unpretentious, melodious, there is a martial keynote to many of its motifs, whilst its lighter airs have a characteristic English simplicity, and suggest a general assertion of rugged independence. The comedian in the present instance introduces a bew artist, Mr. George Lauri, who will ere long have endeared himself to the Sydney "boys"; for the present his "I'm coming down" will probably remain their pet catchword." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"A production of the highest merit, and received with every demonstration of approval" (Telegraph)
"The piece is exceptionally well mounted in every respect, and may be at once put down as a success." (Evening News)

However popular 'Marjorie' was the last night was on Friday 15th. The ever popular 'The Gondoliers' returned on Saturday July 16th. The cast was almost the same as when the operetta had appeared previously with the exception of George Lauri as the Duke.

"Mr Lauri is an accomplished actor and a thorough artist, his singing voice is of very pleasant quality, his make-up with the deeply lined face beneath the flowing wig, was admirable, and the grave courtesy of manner from under which the quiet humour peeped slyly out, was quite in keeping with the Duke."

Garrick Theatre

On Saturday July 2nd commenced his final week at this theatre. 'The Merchant of Venice' played three performances.

"The gallery boys entered heartily into the spirit of the piece; they wept with Antonio, laughed with Gratiano, and carried away, perhaps, by the freedom which has recently been allowed, they at last came to regard Shakespeare's great comedy in the light of a modern melodrama, designed especially to excite their sympathy for virtue and their detestation of vice." This was followed by two performances of 'Hamlet'. The season finished with a benefit performance of 'Othello' on Friday the 8th. The Garrick went dark for a week. On Thursday July 14th the conjuror and illusionist Carl Hertz appeared for the first time in Sydney.

"It is not too much to say that we have seen no conjurer so facile, or an illusionist possessed of more startling and mystifying tricks, than Carl Hertz, and his sleight of hand alone was sufficiently wonderful last night to astonish those who witnessed the performance."

Carl played to the end of the month.


AUGUST 1892

Imperial Opera House

John Gourlay's season continued. On Saturday July 30th the comedy 'Kindred Souls' was produced.

"The piece is a farcical absurdity, the foundation of which is so peculiar as to leave but little room for criticism. It is one of those pieces which, although full of improbable situations, make the audience shriek with laughter, and that is what occurred on Saturday night."

John Gourlay's short season finished on Friday August 5th.

On Saturday Myra Kemble and her comedy company opened for a season. First up was 'Jane', by Harry Nicholls and William Lestocq.

"There could hardly have been a better disposition of the cast, and the inherent fun of the comedy was so well brought out that only the intervals between the acts put a stop, temporarily, to the roars of laughter, and gave the audience a much-needed rest."

On Saturday August 13th 'Dr Bill' was revived for a week.

"Miss Myra Kemble again giving a well-studied representation of the vivacious but meddlesome Mrs. Horton, and Mr. R. Owen Harris successfully impersonating Dr. William Brown."

On Saturday the 20th the Myra Kemble company presented for the first time in Australia the comedy 'The Judge', by Arthur Law.

"The piece is not strong hut Miss Myra Kemble und her company keep its good points adroitly in evidence, and by vivacious acting give an air of probability to incidents which would otherwise strain credulity to breaking-point."

'The Judge' finished the following Friday. On Saturday the 27th there was a revival of the drama 'The New Magdalen', by Wilkie Collins.

"Miss Kemble and Mr. Lawrence were stimulated by frequent applause, and the action of the drama was followed with almost as much attention as if it were being played for the first time."

Her Majesty's Theatre

On Saturday July 30th there was staged a double bill. 'Iolanthe' and 'Charity Begins at Home'.

"In Mr. Leon Caron's direction of the concerted numbers, a noticeable triumph was gained in the "Peers' Chorus", where the military effects of the band upon the stage were made without any of the divergence from the orchestral tempo, which so often jeopardises the ensemble in this clever piece of music."

On Saturday the 6th the ever popular 'Dorothy' returned.

"Just at tbe last moment an unexpected alteration in the cast was made by which Misa Clara Merivale appeared as Dorothy. Miss Merivale played Dorothy two years ago in Melbourne, and being telegraphed for on Friday only arrived in time for one hurried rehearsal on the afternoon of Saturday's production. There were thus occasional hesitancies at night, but the impersonation gives promise of being one of the attractions of the new cast. Miss Merivale acts throughout with vivacity, and her vocal style is particularly refined."

'Dorothy' continued until Tuesday 16th. There was a performance of 'The Mikado' on Wednesday 17th with a special matinee performance on the 18th.

"Miss Clara Merivale is seen at her best as Yum Yum,which she plays with ludicrous little giggles and ogling glances which are quite in character. Her gestures are graceful, and she plays quietly, and without that over-emphasis and restless desire to bo perpetually in evidence, which is the failing of more than one clever little Australian actress in this company. Her singing of "The Sun Whose Rays" was especially sweet and refined."

The evening performances of the 18th and 19th were devoted to a revival of 'The Yeomen of the Guard' with George Lauri appearing for the first time as Jack Point.

"Mr. Lauri plays the part of the sorry jester with grave feeling, and the death scene at the last, where broken-hearted, he lays aside his bauble for ever, touched the house."

'The Old Guard' by Planquette played on Saturday the 20th.

"Mr Lauri as the lively Major of Vaudrez-les-Vignes has added another to his list of successes. Throughout the opera, the exquisite fooling with which teh character is so largely invested, was immensely relished by the audience."

After a week 'The Old Guard' was replaced by 'Pepita', by Charles Lecocq, on Saturday the 27th. Flora Graupear played the title role.

"Miss Graupner, who, as a rule is a most even and consistent singer, happened to be tired and out of voice on Saturday. Miss Violet Varley appeared to advantage as Inez and made good use of the opportunity afforded by the composer in "Do not, my own, be prying"."

Garrick Theatre

On Monday August 1st the Estudiantina Espanola soloists and orchestra presented a series of unique variety programmes.

"The first of these concerts was given under the direction of Senor Lopez at the Garrick Theatre last night. The entertainment would naturally be described by the friendly little audience that witnessed it as "moderately successful"." The Spanish students finished their season on Friday August 12th.

On Saturday the 13th John F. Sheridan commenced what he called his 'Farewell to Australia' season. The large company included Gracie Whiteford and Fannie Liddiard. Dion Boucicault's 'The Shaughraun' was the chosen production for this final week.

"His representation of the rollicking, poaching, and fiddle-playing vagabond was remarkably good, and he carried the audience unmistakably with him all through the action of the drama, and caused roars of laughter by his acting in the wake scene and its climax."

The final night was on Saturday August 20th.

On Monday the 22nd of August the Alabama Minstrels hit the boards of the Garrick for a season. Among the large cast were two important top liners, Billy Emnerson and George H. Wood.

"For the laughter "Billy" Emerson and George Wood were mainly responsible, and the efforts of this pair of comedians were well supported by other members of the troupe."


SEPTEMBER 1892

Her Majesty's Theatre

The J.C. Williamson season was drawing to a close. 'Petita' played for the last time on Saturday afternoon September 3rd. The last few nights of the season were taken up with productions of 'The Mikado', 'The Gondoliers' and 'The Yeomen of the Guard'. 'The Gondoliers' featured the final performance of Charles Ryley prior to his departure to England. When the season finished the company left on an extended tour of New Zealand.

On Saturday September 10th saw the first appearance of the London Gaiety Company. The first production was the Sims/Pettitt opera 'Faust Up to Date'. The large cast included E. J. Lonnen, Robert Courtneidge, Addie Conyers and Marion Hood.

"Everything in the performance seemed to delight the audience, and sentimental ballads rendered in the vocal style characteristic of the music-hall were encored with an evident determination to be pleased, which is not always noticeable in the concert-room, even when singers of the highest reputation are upon the platform. Thus the stamp of popular approval has been set unmistakably both upon the Gaiety Company and upon the first or the three new burlesques they bring with them from London. Miss Marion Hood is the handsome Marguerite of the burlesque but no longer sings with the refinement of her earlier days. The constant drawling of the voice and the forcing of the lower notes is, of course, intentionally done, for Miss Hood is an artist who thoroughly understands the line of business to which she has devoted herself since she forsook the higher walks of comic opera."

'Faust' continued the rest of the month.

Imperial Opera House

Myra Kemble's season continued. 'The New Magdalen' finished on Friday September 2nd. The next evening there was another Australian first. 'A Peer of the Realm', by F.W. Broughton, received its first performance.

"The play is crowded with smart sayings which keep the audience always on the alert for some unexpectedly "happy thought," and the sensational situation which forms the climax of the third act deeply stirred the house, and led to the repeated recall ot the principals."

The season came to an abrupt end on Friday September 9th and the theatre then went dark.

Garrick Theatre

The ever popular Alabama Minstrels continued their run at this theatre. There was a complete change of programme on Monday September 5th.

"The inclement weather told somewhat upon some of the more susceptible voices of the singers, the tenors as usual being the chief sufferers. Mr. Charles Gerrard, however, gave a sweet rendering of Moore's fine melody, "If the waters could speak"; and Mr. John Fuller's pretty light tenor voice was heard to advantage in "My pretty Jane"."

There was another change of programme on Monday the 19th.

"The opening songs did not show the singers quito at their best, and the burlesque trapeze act proved a weak item, but otherwise tbe new bill was a decided success."


OCTOBER 1892

Her Majesty's Theatre

On Saturday October 1st the London Burlesque Gaiety Company presented 'Carmen Up to Data' by the same writers as 'Faust'.

"The clever comedians of the company did wonders with the poor material at hand, the scenery waa magnificent, the costumes were rich, and laughter and applause were frequent throughout tho evening."

'Carmen' ended her run on Friday October 14th.
On Saturday October 15th the company mounted the burlesque opera 'Joan of Arc' with music by Frank Osmond Carr (1858 – 1916). The play had little to do with the lady in question and more to do with the High Constable of France, in a policeman's uniform!

"The dialogue is of the poorest, depending for its effect entirely upon the ingenuity and comic spirit of the actors. "Joan of Arc" would, in fact, be greatly improved if its playing time were reduced by a skilful hand from three hours to two hours and a-half."

The season drew to a close on Thursday October 27th.

Frank Osmond Carr Frank Osmond Carr (1858-1916) was born near Bradford, Yorks. He was a Doctor of Music and an MA graduate and became the composer for several of the earliest Victorian musical comedies. These included 'Faddimir, or the Triumph of Orthodoxy', 'Joan of Arc', and 'In Town', which was first performed in 1892 and which many consider to be the very first English musical comedy. He had a moderate success with 'His Excellency', a comic opera with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert. He retired in 1916 and almost immediately died of a heart attack aged 58.

On Saturday the 29th George Rignold and company opened a season with 'The Silver King'.

""The Silver King" was revived for the fifth time in Sydney, and with ono of the finest casts yet seen here. Mr. George Rignold's Wilfred Denver is one of the best things that sterling actor has done. The impersonation as a whole depends chiefly upon the rendering of the character in the last three acts, where the new reading was singularly dignified and impressive. (Sydney Morning Herald)
"The splendid rendering of Nellie Denver by Miss Herietta Watson was almost without a blemish - in the emotional scenes she literally took the house by storm." (Evening News)
"

Garrick Theatre

The ever popular Alabama Minstrels continued with another complete change of programme on Saturday October 1st.

"On Saturday night the theatre was again well filled, and the items on the varied and well-selected programme were received by the audience with appreciation."

The final night of the rather long season by the Alabama Minstrels was on Saturday October 8th.

On Monday the 10th the Soldene Comic Opera Company opened a season with Offenbach's 'Genevieve de Brabant'. The English translation was by Henry Brougham Farnie.

"After an interval of 15 years, Mme. Emily Soldene re-appeared upon the Australian stage last night in her original character as Drogan. Mdme Soldene herself sang like an artist. Her important solo in the "Balcony Duet" showed at once that the voice had lost little of its richness and the crescendo at the close, made as it was with admirable judgment, led to one of the many scenes of triumph in which this artist has figured in the past."

Others in the large cast included Rosa Conroy, Ada Lee, Edwin Lester and George Walton.

Emily Soldene Emily Soldene(1838-1912) was born in London. She was a singer, actress, director, theatre manager, novelist, journalist and later a celebrated gossip columnist. She was a leading proponent in bringing English language versions of French operetta before the British public. In the late 1880s she moved to San Francisco. Her 1892 tour to Australia was a financial diaster. Forced to seek new employment she became the music and drama critic for the Sydney Evening News. She died of a heart attack at her lodgings in Bloomsbury at the age of 73. She left behind four children.

On October 22nd the ever popular 'La Fille de Madame Angot' was staged . This saw a special engagement of Edward Farley, John Gourlay and Knight Ashton. However the hit of the evening proved to be Josephone Deakin.

"Miss Josephine Deakin, who sometimes acts in a lifeless way, delighted her admirers by the arch spirit she displayed as Clairette. Looking girlish and pretty in the conventional wedding dress of the character, Miss Deakin proved in full voice, was encored for the freshness and animation with which she delivered the revolutionary ballad of the first act, and was twice encored for the principal air of the third. In every respect Miss Deakin's Clairette was excellent, and proved a prime factor in the success of the evening."

The operetta managed only two weeks and the short season finished on Friday November 4th.


NOVEMBER 1892

Her Majesty's Theatre

'The Silver King' continued its successful season. Excellent houses kept the play on stage until Friday November 25th. On the 26th there was the first Sydney production of 'The English Rose', by George Sims and Robert Buchanan. This production introduced Lionel Rignold to Australian audiences. Lionel was the son of Harry and the cousin of George.

""The English Rose" has been advantageously represented under Mr. Rignold's management. It has certainly been superbly staged, and it has been strongly cast with the assistance of several actors not previously seen with the company. Chief amongst these stands that sterling English comedian, Mr. Lionel Rignold, whose first appearance on the Australian stage was very cordially welcomed by the great audience."

Garrick Theatre

On Saturday November 5th a new company formed from the joint forces of John Gourlay and George Walton started a short season at this theatre. The programme consisted of a series of short one or two acters with musical selections interspersed. The opening programme consisted of a comic-drama 'Milky White', by H.T. Craven, the sketch by John Gourlay 'Alice Again' and the farce 'Living Models'. Musical songs and duets were performed in between.

"The association of two such masters of low comedy would alone be a guarantee of excellence, but Messrs Gourlay and Walton have got together an efficient company to support them, and the result is about as much wholesome fun and variety as could be well got together."

On Saturday the 12th the programme changed slightly but with the same interesting variety. On Saturday November 19th the company mounted the popular comedy 'Skipped By the Light of the Moon' with a special engagement of W. Warner playing the Irish policeman.

"Mr. W. Warner had been specially engaged as Garnishee McIntyre, and the part of the Irish policeman should fit him like a glove during the week. On Saturday, however, this clever comedian was unfortunately suffering from a severe cold. Miss Amy Goulay, pretty and petite, made a vivacious "Sarah", and in the first act sang "Baby's Laughing in his Sleep" with so much tenderness and refinement that the dainty slumber-song was encored."

The triple bill type programme returned on Saturday 26th for another seven performances. The final night of the season was on Saturday December 3rd. The theatre then went dark.


DECEMBER 1892

Her Majesty's Theatre

Her Majesty's was now the only large theatre offering entertainment to Sydney audiences. 'The English Rose' continued to attract good audiences. The play was successful enough to hold the stage until its final night on Thursday 22nd when everyone attending that night received a special Christmas box, each of which held gifts of various degrees of value.

On Christmas eve the annual 'grand comic' pantomime was staged. This year it was 'Blue Beard' with a large cast that included Maggie Moore, George Walton, Lillie Napier (making her first Australian appearance) and the Rignold family. There was the usual Grand Halequinade, Transformation Scene and Grand Ballet. Over one hundred and fifty costumes had been designed for this production.

"The story lent itself readily to the theatrical exigencies of scenic splendour...the closing transformation scene being especially beautiful, and this does much to atone for the poverty of a libretto which does not give the chief actors sufficient scope, and for the common-place character of much of the music. Lillie Napier is of imposing stature, and in well-contrasted colours of grey and scarlet with a yellow fur worn coquettishly upon the head, doubtless looked her best. Her opening "Jodel" song showed the range of a very powerful mezzo-soprano voice, into which, however, the singer needs to throw more sympathy can eau co-exist with an almost constant fortissimo. Miss Napier's speaking voice is very strong and clear; she dances a little, and plays with intelligence."

Imperial Opera House

On Saturday December 10th Harry Rickards took over the lessee of this theatre which had been newly decorated. Rickard's New Tivoli Minstrels and Specialty Company took the stage for a season.

"The enterprise shown by Mr. Harry Rickards in re-opening the Imperial Opera House at "million prices" was rewarded on Saturday night by a densely-crowded audience. Hundreds of persons were unable to gain admission, and as the entertainment had "plenty of bang", as American showmen say, it is quite probable that Mr. Rickards may be able to establish himself permanently in the newly decorated theatre. Mr Rickards himself is chiefly the cause of hilarity, but he is none the less well supported, and several novelties are introduced."

On Saturday December 24th there was a complete change of programme.

"The artists certainly could not complain of want of appreciation on the part of the audience, who were liberal with their applause."

It might be an idea to give you an idea of what a typical evening at the theatre with the Rickards Company might consist of. The evening would start with an Overture. This would be followed by a couple of songs by various members of the company. There would be a comic monologue or song followed by something serious. On the Christmas programme Blanche Montague sang "Love's Golden Dream". This was followed by various songs both comic and the more serious from the likes of Fred Dark, John Lindsay, Johnny Gilmore, Kate Richards and others. The comic number "Yodeliety" ended the first half of the programme. A serious ballad opened the second half to be followed by the lady contortionist, Pearl Akarman. This was followed by a couple of ballads and a selection on the violin by Katherine Vinceni. Harry Rickards appeared in several original character impersonations. This was followed by an Irish ballad and the whole performance concluded with the extravaganza "Gay Paris". The minstrel part of the whole evening would consist of songs, ballads, jokes and witticisms interspersed with the artists and items mentioned above.

Garrick Theatre

The Garrick remained closed until a couple of days before Christmas when a group of amateurs put on a production of 'Caste'. What was a little different about this production was that three of the young men on stage were the sons of their more famous actor fathers...Anson, Emery and Titheradge.

"The comedy was well staged and all the actors were cordially received by the audience."

Mr. Fred B. Norton took over the lease of the Garrick for a short season. On Christmas eve the comedian Tom Cannam and a specially organised company took the stage in the farcical comedy 'Blue Blood' by George Sims. [Editor's note: this was, in fact, a reworking of the comedy 'Clutch and Toothpick'.] Opening on Christmas eve meant a small audience.

"The Alderman Jones of Mr. Stirling Whyte was an excellent impersonation, and he is to be congratulated upon it. He entered fully into the spirit of the energetic and somewhat purse-proud alderman, and made the character the central figure of the pioce, as it was intended to be. Mr. Tom Cannam, who was once a member of the Brough and Boucicault Company, appeared as Jellicoe, but gave an entertaining, if somewhat overdrawn, picturo of the city tailor."

Lyceum Theatre

J.C. Wiliamson and George Musgrove's newest theatre, the Lyceum, was opened on Monday 26th December with a crowded house. The pantomime 'Little Red Riding Hood' was the first production. This starred Alice Leamar, Addie Conyers and Robert Courtneidge, all from the recently visiting London Gaiety Company.

"Little Red Riding Hood" has some genuine pantomime features which give it intorest. Especially there is the Dolls Quadrille in the last act, in which dolls of every height and shape, from giants to the veriest dwarfs, solemnly descended a grand staircase at the back of the stage, and amidst shrieks of laughter, joined in the dance. The masks and make-up were first-rate. In the first act Mr. Goatcher has painted a bautiful village scene, with its windmill and red-roofed street, and here the whole scene of Riding Hood's election as Queen of the May, the stage crowed with dancers, was briskly carried out."

Criterion Theatre

The Brough-Boucicault company reopened the Criterion on December 26th after being dark for almost six months. A sliding roof had been introduced and electric lighting was available throughout the theatre. There was reupholstered seating and the stage had been extended. George Titheradge and Mrs Brough appeared in 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

"(Mrs Brough) gives an adimrable portrayal of the maid born in a happy hour, who had a star to dance at her nativity. it is true that thus Beatrice indulges in unnecessary facial play at times - rather more, indeed, than is required to give piquancy to the points of her quipsome discourse but one forgets that in her blitheness and vivacity. The alterations in the theatre, were found an agreeable addition to the comfort of a large holiday audience, and this first performance of "Much Ado About Nothing" may fairly be classed among the many successes which Messrs. Brough and Boucicault have presented here."

Theatre in Sydney 1891

Theatre in Sydney 1893