Opera Scotland

Gaiety Girl 1895George Edwardes' Company

Read more about the opera Gaiety Girl

A Gaiety Girl swept the country, and swiftly set a pattern for dozens of shows that would follow all the way through to the 1920s. The format was described as a “musical comedy”; a compound of many entertaining elements - song, dance, farce, burlesque, and melodrama, with a vein of quiet sarcasm running throughout.

The situations, too, set a standard - the first act was placed in a cavalry barracks, where the picturesque uniforms of the soldiers added colour to a magnificent scene. The second act relocated the characters to the Riviera, depicting both a bathing and a carnival scene. The staging of the piece was invariably described as in every respect excellent. Indeed one feature of the shows mounted by George Edwardes was the care he seems to have taken with personal supervision of the product.

After its London opening towards the end of 1893, a touring company was put together before long, and opened in Glasgow the following August. The company featured here was a second visit, with a largely new team, and opened the seven week Scottish leg in Edinburgh on Christmas Eve 1894. Three weeks in the capital were followed by two at the Glasgow Royalty. The last two were split between Dundee and Aberdeen before the company of 56 moved back south to Oldham.

By the time they reached Dundee a further newcomer had joined up. George Arliss was only in his mid-twenties, but already able to play middle-aged roles for which he would be famous after his move to Hollywood. Over thirty years later he would be the first British actor to win an Academy Award.

As was still usual at this period, sets for the production were supplied by the local managements, and were put together by the theatre's own scenic artists. It was far easier for hampers of costumes to be lugged around the country, but it would not be much longer before scenery and props designed and built in London would be toured the length and breadth of the country.

Details of this cast are from a programme in Dundee Central Library's Lamb Collection, mostly confirmed by reference to reviews in the Aberdeen Weekly Journal..

Performance Cast

Captain Charles Goldfield a Guards officer

Albert Christian

Alma Somerset the Gaiety Girl

Edith Ostlere

Major Barclay a Guards officer

Arthur Ryley

Dr Montague Brierley an army surgeon

Mr E W Garden

Rose Brierley daughter of Dr Brierley

Jessie Moore

Lady Virginia Forrest Charley's aunt

Christine Mayne

Sir Lewis Gray a Divorce Court Judge

George Mudie (Edi)

George Arliss (Dun)

Lady Gray

Maria Saker

Mina Lady Virginia's French maid

Andrée Corday

Performance DatesGaiety Girl 1895

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

24 Dec, 19.30 25 Dec, 19.30 26 Dec, 19.30 27 Dec, 19.30 28 Dec, 19.30 29 Dec, 14.00 29 Dec, 19.30 31 Dec, 19.30 1 Jan, 19.30 2 Jan, 19.30 3 Jan, 19.30 4 Jan, 19.30 5 Jan, 14.00 5 Jan, 19.30 7 Jan, 19.30 8 Jan, 17.30 9 Jan, 19.30 10 Jan, 19.30 11 Jan, 19.30 12 Jan, 14.00 12 Jan, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

11 Feb, 19.30 12 Feb, 19.30 13 Feb, 19.30 14 Feb, 19.30 15 Feb, 19.30 16 Feb, 14.00 16 Feb, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

18 Feb, 19.30 19 Feb, 19.30 20 Feb, 19.30 21 Feb, 19.30 22 Feb, 19.30 23 Feb, 14.00 23 Feb, 19.30

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