PE0211. BUBBLY (Philip Braham & J. Hastings Turner), w.Philip Braham Cond.Comedy Theatre Ensemble; Teddie Gerrard, Gilbert Childs, Phyllis Monkman, Jack Hulbert, Winnie Melville, Gerald Kirby, Davy Burnaby, Eric Courtland & Walter Jeffries. (England) Palaeophonics 108, recorded 1917, Complete, as Recorded, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 26pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production & facsimile of original brochure. BUBBLY was produced at the Comedy Theatre, London, on 5 May 1917, and closed on 6 April 1918 after a run of 427 performances.
“Mr. Andre Charlot describes his successful production at the Comedy as a ‘New Musical Entertainment’, and one may assuredly say that he errs on the side of modesty.
Certainly, BUBBLY is a musical entertainment of most excellent quality, well supplied with lilting song and lively dance, which afford complete satisfaction to one and all, containing as it does such melodious numbers as ‘The Restaurant’ duet; a medley version of ‘Comin' thro' the rye’, and ‘Hawaiian Butterfly’, in which Miss Teddie Gerard is seen and heard to excellent advantage, and the charming duet and dance, ‘Have your forgotten?’ admirably rendered by Miss Phyllis Monkman and Mr. Walter Williams, the latter replacing Mr. Jack Hulbert, who is now in the A.S.C., somewhere in France. The above are just a few items chosen, more or less, in haphazard fashion, and they are fairly representative of the remainder.
I began by saying Mr. Charlot's description of BUBBLY was modest in definition, and it is so for the reason that apart from its musical entertainment it possesses another factor which entitles it to be considered as genuine burlesque drama. First and foremost in this respect we must place ‘An Old Situation in Four Ways’. The presence of the Compère and Commère, Mr. Gerald Kirby and Miss Margaret Campbell suggests Revue, but we will not quarrel with the author on that score. Revue or Burlesque, it is capital satire and rich in humour, as the laughter of the audience demonstrated. Further, it provides good acting and mimetic opportunities for such clever artists as Mr. Arthur Playfair, one of the best of unctuous and versatile comedians, Mr. Walter Williams, Mr. Gilbert Childs, Miss Winnie Melville, and Miss Laura Cowie. The ‘old situation’ is concerned with the headstrong youth who falls in love with a lady burdened by a not irreproachable past, the fond and forgiving mother, and the elderly man of the world who was such an invaluable asset in the dramas of Dumas fils. In the first place, we have the episode treated in the Alexandrian manner at the St. James, and Mr. Playfair's imitation of the Knight of King Street [i.e. Sir George Alexander of the St. James's Theatre] is particularly good in its restraint and vraisemblance. Then we are transported to the Hudson Theatre, New York City, where it becomes a ‘crook’ drama. Back to this side again, and we are given its realistic environment as imagined by the Stage Society, and the ‘fourth situation’ brings us to the Lyceum and Mr. Walter Melville's conception of the theme on the romantic melodrama lines associated with his name. Each scene is admirably acted. On much the same lines is Mr. Ivan Campbell's Rehearsal burlesque, modelled on the lines of A PANTOMIME REHEARSAL [Terry's Theatre, London, 3 August 1891], and entitled, ‘The Gipsy Queen's Revenge’, or, ‘It will be all right on the Night’, a most amusing piece of fooling. In strong contrast to this we have Mr. Arthur Weigall's Grand Guignol Episode, ‘A Tooth for a Tooth’, certainly a grim incident, although it is supposed to be only the dream of a young lady while under the influence of gas in the dental chair. Mr. Charlot is to be heartily congratulated on the production….”
- B.W. Findon, THE PLAY PICTORIAL, #185, Vol XXXI, BUBBLY issue, London, 1917, pp. 18-19
“Winnie Melville was initially a concert singer who made her London Stage debut in the musical show SEE-SAW (Comedy, December 1916). After appearing at the same theatre in BUBBLY (May 1917-April 1918), she went to Paris for ZIG-ZAG at the Folies-Bergères. She returned to London where she appeared at the Hippodrome in JOY BELLS (March 1919) and JIG-SAW! (June 1920). After touring in SYBIL, she returned to London, appearing at His Majesty's in Cairo, and (in August 1922) at the Lyric in WHIRLED INTO HAPPINESS.
The cast at the Lyric included Derek Oldham, whom Miss Melville married in 1923. She left the stage for three years, returning to His Majesty's in 1926 as Kathie in THE STUDENT PRINCE. She next appeared in PRINCESS CHARMING (Palace, October 1926) and THE VAGABOND KING (Winter Garden, April 1927, again opposite Oldham). In September 1928 she was at the Coliseum performing a repertoire of songs, then in December toured in the title role in WINONA.
In August 1929 she joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company as principal soprano, appearing as Josephine in H.M.S. PINAFORE, Mabel in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Yum-Yum in THE MIKADO, Rose Maybud in RUDDIGORE, Elsie Maynard in THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, and Gianetta in THE GONDOLIERS. She may have been out of her element, however, and she left the Company in January 1930, replaced by Sylvia Cecil.
She later toured in BLUE EYES and FOREVER AFTER, but played principally in vaudeville or variety houses. Although she made a number of recordings in her career, none were of Gilbert & Sullivan. Her marriage to Oldham ended in divorce, and she died in 1937 at the age of 42.”
- The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
"Jack Hulbert (1892-1978), studied at Cambridge and the Central School of Speech and Drama. Following an appearance at the Queen's Theatre, he was hired by Robert Courtneidge, for his first professional stage performance in THE PEARL GIRL at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1913. In 1931 he appeared in his first film SUNSHINE SUSIE, and throughout the thirties, successfully went on to act, write and direct films. After the war he and his wife, Cicely Courtneidge, transferred their popular entertainment to the theatre and radio, performing revues and musical plays, that encompassed their own brand of light comedy, song and dance."
- University of Bristol Theatre Collection
“Philip Braham (18 June 1881 – 2 May 1934) was an English composer of the early twentieth century, chiefly associated with theatrical work. From 1914, he composed music for such musicals and revues as THEODORE & CO (1916) and LONDON CALLING! (1923), including several revues produced by André Charlot. He began to compose music for the theatre in 1913 with ALICE UP TO DATE at the London Pavilion. He contributed additional music to musicals such as THE GIRL IN THE TRAIN (1914), and THEODORE & CO and SEE SAW, both in 1916. He wrote the music for the hit revue TAILS UP! (1918), together with his frequent collaborator Douglas Furber, which played at the Comedy Theatre in London for 467 performances. The best-remembered show on which he worked was probably LONDON CALLING! (1923) on which he collaborated with Noël Coward. In 1925, he collaborated with Coward in ON WITH THE DANCE and with John Hastings Turner on BUBBLY, starring Cyril Ritchard. He wrote for several revues produced by André Charlot.”
-Zillah Dorset Akron
“If you are interested in what original audiences of early 20th century English operetta and musical comedy heard, there is a great source for such recordings – the record label Paleophonics. Dominic Combe prepares CDs for them from his huge collection of shellacs and a few cylinders.
I came across these somewhat hard-to-find CDs on the website of the mail-order company NORBECK, PETERS AND FORD, (norpete.com) which is specialized in historical performances from the beginning of recorded sound all the way through to the 1960s.
There are now over fifty Paleophonics CDs, and more are being prepared or scheduled for future release. Each CD comes with a lavishly illustrated program booklet with reviews, information about the shows and fantastic publicity photographs, and artwork from the original London productions, in the form of reproductions of the magazine PLAY PICTORIAL.”
- Thomas Krebs, OPERETTA RESEARCH CENTER - PALEOPHONICS - A JOURNEY TO THE DAWN OF RECORDED SOUND IN MUSICAL COMEDY, 1 July, 2020