THE LONDON STAGE 1800-1900

Joseph Donohue and James Ellis, General Editors

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ROYAL ADELPHI THEATRE

(formerly THE SANS PAREIL THEATRE)

1806-1900

Seasonal Summary for 1886-1887

Edited by Peggy Russo

A Publication of

The Adelphi Calendar Project

Alfred L. Nelson and Gilbert B. Cross, General Editors

Theodore J. Seward, Jr., Systems Analyst

1992

Contents

Theatre Information

Royal Adelphi Theatre. Doors open 7:00, curtain 7:15.

Ticket prices: orchestra stalls 10/-, balcony stalls 6/-, upper circle 3/-, pit 2/-, gallery 1/-.

Seasonal Dates

6 September 1886 - 25 June 1887

272 performances: 23 matinee, 249 evening

Benefit (1): J. A. Cave (14 Jun 1887)
Commemoration (1): Jubilee (21 Jun 1887)
Dark (3): Christmas Eve (24 Dec 1886, 25 Dec 1886)
Good Friday (8 Apr 1887)

The Season

The 1886 season continued where the 1885 season left off--with the long-running hit, The Harbour Lights, starring William Terriss and Jessie Millward. Harbour Lights, which had been given its 241st performance of the 1885 season on 4 September 1886, was given its first performance of the 1886 season on the following Monday, 6 September. The play continued to draw audiences until the end of the 1886 season.

The explanation for such a success is not written in the text of the play. The Harbour Lights, by George R. Sims and Henry Pettitt, represents little more than a competent piece of hack-work. But Adelphi audiences loved it--primarily because they loved William Terriss. Terriss's was not a new face on the London theatrical scene; he had first unveiled it at the Prince of Wales's in 1868, and he had continued to act successfully on London stages and American ones from 1868 on. In 1880, he had joined the Lyceum's company under Henry Irving, and by 1885, had established himself as a popular and competent second lead. It was not until he starred at the Adelphi in The Harbour Lights, however, that Terriss became what he remained until his death in 1897--the matinee idol of the melodrama.

In Theatre in the Age of Irving, George Rowell explains why the move to the Adelphi changed Terriss's image:

At the Adelphi he was ideally cast as a man of action, often in the services, whose honour was usually impugned but whose bravery was overwhelmingly displayed and credit ultimately restored (p. 143-4).

Women in the Adelphi audience, it seemed, loved him for his good looks and the brave and honourable roles in which he was cast. But the male audience also liked him: "Terriss had served briefly at sea, and sailing and swimming were his chief occupations, so 'Breezy Bill' was an apt and affectionate nickname for him" (Rowell, p. 144).

In a comparison between melodrama at the Lyceum, Drury Lane and Adelphi theatres, Rowell gives another clue to Terriss's sudden success: the Lyceum "elaborated on the sinister and sardonic vein in which Irving excelled;" at Drury Lane, "heroes were comparatively minor figures, and the villains numerous and variegated;" but at the Adelphi, "the play's impact derived from the athleticism and forthrightness of Terriss's acting, and from Jessie Millward's quiet appeal opposite him" (p. 146). In Forty Years on the Stage, J. H. Barnes calls some of Terriss's roles prior to his Adelphi years, merely "splendid" or "admirable." However, says Barnes:

as the hero of the dramas at the Adelphi, such as Henry [David] Kingsley (Harbour Lights), and indeed in the whole series of the plays done about then at that theatre, he was absolutely unapproachable, and up to now unapproached (p. 218).

Thus, the actor, the actress, the theatre, and the melodrama itself were already in existence--the proper ingredients--waiting to be combined to create a popular success. The Gattis' success with Harbour Lights may be explained by their willingness to experiment with different combinations of ingredients until they found the recipe that most satisfied the palates of their audience.

Saturday matinee performances of Harbour Lights were a weekly practice at the Adelphi from 11 September 1886 through 19 February 1887. Family Jars continued as the accompanying farce at evening performances (there was no farce for matinees) until 27 May 1887. On 28 May, A Kiss in the Dark by J. B. Buckstone replaced Family Jars, and remained on the bill with Harbour Lights until the end of the season.

Mary Rorke, who played the original Lena Nelson, left the cast on 10 January, replaced by Miss Achurch. Miss Achurch, in turn, left the cast on 26 March. Daisy England, who played Emily in Family Jars, played Lena for one night, and then the role was taken by Annie Irish, who remained Lena until the end of the run. The other major cast change occurred during the week of 16 May (Monday) through 21 May (Saturday) when Jessie Millward was replaced by Miss May Whitty (later Dame May Whitty, who was married to Ben Webster, grandson of old Ben Webster long associated with the Adelphi). This week-long engagement was the first appearance by Whitty at the Adelphi (she returned in 1897). Millward returned to the production the following Monday, 23 May.

On 14 June, the Gattis donated their theatre as the site of a complimentary matinee for the benefit of J. A. Cave. There were a variety of presentations: Cool as a Cucumber was presented by Charles Colletre and his company; Charles Warner and Alma Murray appeared in the second act of Held by the Enemy; The third act of The Red Lamp starred Beerbohm Tree and Lady Monckton; the fourth and fifth acts of Heartsease were performed by Grace Hawthorne, Maurice Gally and the Olympic Theatre Company; the cast of Mr. and Mrs. White included Miss M. A. Victor, and J. A. Cave himself. There were also several short "incidentals" (Times, 14 June 1887).

On 21 June 1887, the Adelphi held a special early performance (6:00 p.m.) to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. There was no accompanying farce. On 25 June, the Gattis announced the 512th and final performance of The Harbour Lights, and thus ended the 1886 season (Times, 25 June 1887).

PR

Theatre Management And Functionaries

Authors

Buckstone, John B. Kiss in the Dark, A (28 May 1887)
Gillette, William Held by the Enemy (14 Jun 1887)
Jerrold, William B. Cool as a Cucumber (14 Jun 1887)
Lunn, Joseph Family Jars (6 Sep 1886)
Mortimer, James Heartsease (14 Jun 1887)
Pettitt, Henry Harbour Lights, The (6 Sep 1886)
Raymond, Richard J. Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)
Sims, George R. Harbour Lights, The (6 Sep 1886)
Tristram, W. Outram Red Lamp, The (14 Jun 1887)

Musical Composers And Arrangers

Sprake, Henry Harbour Lights, The (6 Sep 1886)

Actors

Beveridge, James D.

Nicholas Morland (102) in Harbour Lights (26 Feb 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Boleyn, Richard S.

Nicholas Morland (169) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Feb 1887); Mark Helstone (102) in Harbour Lights (26 Feb 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Campbell, Duncan

Mark Helstone (169) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Feb 1887)

Cave, Joseph A.

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Collette, Charles H.

character (1) in Cool as a Cucumber (14 Jun 1887)

Courtneidge, Robert

Diggory (11) in Family Jars (16 May 1887 - 27 May 1887)

Courtneidge, Robert?

Solomon (77) in Harbour Lights (28 Mar 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Dagnall, Ells

Delph (224) in Family Jars (6 Sep 1886 - 27 May 1887); Jack Lirriper (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887); Mr. Slim Pettibone (24) in Kiss in the Dark (28 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Dawson

harbour master (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

East, Charles A.

Detective Wood (114) in Harbour Lights (8 Jan 1887 - 14 May 1887)

Gally, Mons. Maurice

characters (1) in Heartsease (14 Jun 1887)

Garden, Edmund W.

Tom Dossiter (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Laurence, F.

Benedict (224) in Family Jars (6 Sep 1886 - 27 May 1887); Will Drake (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Lyndal, Percy

Frank Morland (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Maclean, John

Capt. Nelson (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Marcel, Arthur

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Paget, Frederick M.

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Russell, Howard

Mr. Porcelain (224) in Family Jars (6 Sep 1886 - 27 May 1887); Capt. Hardy, R.N. (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Soutar, Robert

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Terriss, William

Lieut. David Kingsley, R.N. (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Travers, Ernest

Diggory (213) in Family Jars (6 Sep 1886 - 14 May 1887); Solomon (194) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 26 Mar 1887)

Tree, H. Beerbohm

characters (1) in Red Lamp (14 Jun 1887)

Warner, Charles

characters (1) in Held by the Enemy (14 Jun 1887)

Wentworth, G.

Dick Hockaday (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887); Frank Fathom (24) in Kiss in the Dark (28 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Whitehead

Detective Wood (157) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Wyatt, H.

Lieut. Wynyard, R.N (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Actresses

Achurch, Miss Janet?

Lena Nelson (17) in Harbour Lights (8 Jan 1887 - 25 Jan 1887)

Brennan, Miss Maude

Mrs. Helstone (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Byron, Miss

Mary (24) in Kiss in the Dark (28 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Carter, Mrs. John

Bridget Maloney (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Clark, Miss N.

Polly (36) in Harbour Lights (16 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Dearing, Miss

Emily (105) in Family Jars (6 Sep 1886 - 7 Jan 1887); Polly (121) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 8 Jan 1887)

England, Miss Daisy

Emily (119) in Family Jars (8 Jan 1887 - 27 May 1887); Lena Nelson (3) in Harbour Lights (26 Jan 1887 - 26 Mar 1887); Mrs. Pettibone (24) in Kiss in the Dark (28 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Ffolliott, Miss Gladys

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Hawthorne, Miss Joyce

characters (1) in Heartsease (14 Jun 1887)

Huntley, Miss Grace

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Irish, Miss Annie

Lena Nelson (130) in Harbour Lights (28 Jan 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Jecks, Miss Clara

Peggy Chudleigh (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Leigh, Mrs. Henry

Mrs. Chudleigh (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Millward, Miss Jessie

Dora Vane (265) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Monckton, Miss

characters (1) in Red Lamp (14 Jun 1887)

Murray, Miss Alma

characters (1) in Held by the Enemy (14 Jun 1887)

Nelson, Miss Lizzie

Liddy Larrigan (224) in Family Jars (6 Sep 1886 - 27 May 1887); 1st fisherwoman (271) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Rorke, Miss Mary

Lena Nelson (121) in Harbour Lights (6 Sep 1886 - 8 Jan 1887)

Simmons, Miss

Unknown female (24) in Kiss in the Dark (28 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Victor, Miss Mary A.

characters (1) in Mr. and Mrs. White (14 Jun 1887)

Whitty, Miss May

Dora Vane (6) in Harbour Lights (16 May 1887 - 21 May 1887)

Williamson, Miss Amy

Polly (114) in Harbour Lights (8 Jan 1887 - 14 May 1887)

Musicians

Pieces Performed And Summary Cast Lists

Cool as a Cucumber

(farce) by William B. Jerrold (1 time, 14 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Family Jars

(farce) by Joseph Lunn (224 times, 6 Sep 1886 - 27 May 1887)

Summary Cast:

Harbour Lights, The

(drama, 5 acts) by George R. Sims, Henry Pettitt, Henry Sprake (comp) (271 times, 6 Sep 1886 - 25 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Heartsease

by James Mortimer (1 time, 14 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Held by the Enemy

(drama) by William Gillette (1 time, 14 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Kiss in the Dark, A

(farce, 1 act) by John B. Buckstone (24 times, 28 May 1887 - 25 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Mr. and Mrs. White

(farce) by Richard J. Raymond (1 time, 14 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Red Lamp, The

by W. Outram Tristram (1 time, 14 Jun 1887)

Summary Cast:

Genre

Music, Composers, And Musicians

Songs, Composers, And Singers


Adelphi Theatre

End Of 1886-1887 Season

(Generated 01-Oct-1998)


© Copyright 1992 by Alfred L. Nelson and Gilbert B. Cross

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