PE0229. A NIGHT OUT (Willie Redstone & Clifford Grey), w. Willie Redstone Cond. Orig. London Cast: Leslie Henson, Lily St John, Fred Leslie, David Burnaby, Fred Leslie, Joe Wilbur, Ernest Pike, etc. (England) Palaeophonics 117, recorded 1920, Complete, as Recorded, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 20pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production & facsimile of original brochure.
“A NIGHT OUT is a musical comedy with a book by George Grossmith, Jr. and Arthur Miller, music by Willie Redstone and Cole Porter and lyrics by Clifford Grey. The story is adapted from the 1894 French comedy L'HÔTEL DU LIBRE ÉCHANGE by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desvallières. The sculptor Pinglet gets an evening away from his domineering wife and dines with the attractive Marcelle Delavaux. After a series of coincidences and mix-ups, he manages the deception without suffering any adverse consequences. The musical was presented with success at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, from 1920 to 1921 and then toured in Britain.
In 1896, A NIGHT OUT, a non-musical adaptation of L'HÔTEL DU LIBRE ÉCHANGE, opened in London and ran for 500 nights. The musical adaptation, produced by George Grossmith, Jr and Edward Laurillard, followed the story of the earlier adaptation (and the French original) closely. The score was by the resident conductor of the Winter Garden Theatre, Willie Redstone, with music for additional numbers provided by the young Cole Porter as some of his earliest professional work. The musical was first presented at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, on 18 September 1920 and ran for 309 performances, closing on 18 June 1921. A touring company presented the piece in the British provinces in 1921, with Norman Griffin in the lead as Pinglet. In 1925, the musical was produced in the U.S.
With Mr. Henson, A NIGHT OUT is one of the brightest things of its kind which we have had for a very long time, and even without him it would still be a first-class entertainment."
- THE TIMES, 20 September 1920
“…the success of the piece principally due to Henson's performance, calling him ‘a little genius’.”
- J. T. Grein, Illustrated London News, 2 October 1920
“… the plot was ‘a comparative masterpiece’ by the usual standard of musical comedy, and the music quite witty and graceful by the same comparisons’."
- Samuel Langford ,The Manchester Guardian, 5 April 1921
“Leslie Henson, was a noted comedian, born in London in 1891, famous for his bulging eyes, malleable face and raspy voice. He studied with 'the Cairns James School of Musical and Dramatic Art as a child, he was writing and producing theatrical pieces while still at school. Became popular in Music Hall from 1910, his first West End role in 1912 was NICELY, THANKS! and became a over-night star, also in TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT which became a smash-hit in 1915 followed by starring in several hit West End musical comedies including YES, UNCLE! in 1917. Henson served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I,then after the war he returned to the West End playing in KISSING TIME in 1919 and a series of musical comedies and farces throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Leslie starred in at least 15 movies, the first of which was THE LIFEGUARDSMAN for the British Actors Film Company in 1916. Most notable, however, was ALF'S BUTTON co-starring Alma Taylor in 1920 and TONS OF MONEY in 1924. Henson also starred in a number of talkies, the best known being A WARM CORNER in 1930 and IT'S A BOY in 1934. He was last seen on T.V. in the late 1950s.”
- Paul Rothwell-Smith, IMDb Mini Biography
“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