PE0215. BETTY IN MAYFAIR (Harold Fraser-Simson & Harry Graham), w.Charles Prentice Cond.Adelphi Theatre Ensemble; Evelyn Laye, Mary Leigh, Jack Hobbs & Arthur Margotson. (England) Palaeophonics 110, recorded 1925, Complete, as Recorded, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 20pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production & facsimile of original brochure. BETTY IN MAYFAIR was produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 11 Nov., 1925, transferred to the Shaftesbury Theatre, and closed there on 3 April, 1926, after a run of 193 performances.
“This 1925 three-act musical play was adapted by J. Hastings Turner from his own play, THE LILIES OF THE FIELD, with music by Harold Fraser-Simson and lyrics by Harry Graham. As a musician, Harold Fraser-Simson is remembered for his work in the theatre primarily as a composer of musical comedies. Fraser-Simson's music tended towards the old-fashioned European romantic songs, in contrast to the ragtime, jazz and other American dance music that began to be used in musicals during World War I.
Evelyn Laye was an English theatre and musical film actress, who was active on the London light opera stage. Born as Elsie Evelyn Lay in Bloomsbury, London, and known professionally as Evelyn Laye, and informally as Bo . Her parents were both actors and her father a theatre manager. She made her first stage appearance in 1915 at the Theatre Royal, Brighton as Nang-Ping in MR. WU, and her first London appearance at the East Ham Palace on 24 April 1916, aged 14, in the revue HONI SOIT, in which she subsequently toured.
For the first few years of her career she mainly played in musical comedy and operetta, including GOING UP in 1918. Among her successes during the 1920s were PHI-PHI (1922), MADAME POMPADOUR (1923), THE DOLLAR PRINCESS, BLUE EYES (1928) and LILAC TIME. She made her Broadway début in 1929 in the American première of Noël Coward's BITTER SWEET and appeared in several early Hollywood film musicals. She continued acting in pantomimes such as THE SLEEPING BEAUTY and CINDERELLA. After the Second World War, she had less success, but she returned to the West End in 1954, in the musical WEDDING IN PARIS. She also acted several times opposite her second husband, actor Frank Lawton, including in the 1956 sitcom MY HUSBAND AND I. Other stage successes included SILVER WEDDING (1957; with Lawton), THE AMOROUS PRAWN (1959) and PHIL THE FLUTER (1969).”
“A gentleman farmer with a love of Edwardian and early Twentieth Century music has created a home industry of preserving early Musical and Revue scores as recorded on 78 and cylinder, the latter of which he is certainly a specialist. It is an impressive list of shows that Dominic Combe has digitalised and issued on Compact Disc. Not only is it the recordings but the lovingly created books that attach.
Early theatre recordings abound in Great Britain, more so than in the United States where it took them some time to start recording original cast material. And so, many early scores are available to be heard. But what Dominic discovered when he started assembling these scores was that often latter day British 78 and cylinder record collectors turned their noses up on recordings of dance music or covers and ‘best of’ or ‘gems’ making them hard to find. And, it is those recordings which can often contain songs not otherwise recorded. He has built strong connections with other collectors willing to lend material to make each issue as complete as possible.
Modern equipment and an aptitude for perfection have helped Dominic ‘clean up’ old 78 and cylinder records to deliver a sound quality that can be stunning. The booklets are produced with as much care by using original theatre programmes or magazines such as PLAY PICTORIAL and MUSIC FOR ALL so that the listener can get a good idea of how the show looked as well as to see the unique art work used to advertise the show back then.
Dominic has issued over fifty of these gems and still has titles either being completed or awaiting to be started on. The label is called PALAEOPHONICS.”
- y phayward, OVERTURES: The Bunnet-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, 10 July, 2017