TED OAKLEY’S SCRAPBOOK

October 03 

ST. MICHAEL’S DAY SCHOOLS.

ENTERTAINMENT IN THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS

In the Handsworth Public Buildings on Tuesday before a crowded audience the Warwickshire Amateur Pierrot orchestra gave an entertainment in aid of St. Michael’s Day Schools. The orchestra, of which Mrs. Anthony Browne is hon. Secretary, has been brought to a wonderful state of perfection considering that most of the performers are in their teens. The costumes of the artistes created a good impression on the audience. Nothing could be more simple, and at the same time effective, than the white satin dresses with black chenile pom poms, ruffled collars and high peaked hats of the ladies; or the white linen suits trimmed with red, and the black skull caps of the gentlemen. Even the instruments - mandolines, zithers and banjoes - were gaily bedecked with ribbons. The entertainment was almost exactly a reproduction of that given with such unequivocal success in the Boulton Road Schools on January 10th and fully reported in our issue of January 18th. The orchestra has greatly improved since then, and was heard to considerable advantage in the march "Badminton" (Stanley Hill); selection "Darkies Dawn" (Lansing) and lullaby "Ruy Blas". Mr. Olly Oakley, whose musical career we shall watch with the greatest of interest, had an enthusiastic reception. His zither-banjo solos "Valse de Concert" (Cammeyer) and "Intermezzo, Cavalliera Rusticana" were rendered with characteristic brilliance, and that mastery over the instrument upon which we have before commented. Miss Elsie Wilson and Miss Ethel Browne gave a duet, "The Chinee Dolly", very prettily, and Miss Browne and Mr. C.A. Lucas sang with taste and expression a duet entitled "If you were me". They were encored, and repeated the last verse. A most skilful rendering was given of the quartette "Whisper and I shall hear", Miss Wilson and Miss Browne playing guitars and Messrs Oakley and Lucas banjoes. Mr Charles Lucas was encored for his rendering of "The gay tomtit" and Mr C. Howard Wilcox was similarly honoured for his highly humorous interpretation of that laughable absurdity, "The dandy coloured coon". The entertainment concluded with a comedietta. "Exchange is no robbery," the dramatis personae being as follows: Sir Fearful Gale, Mr Charles Lucas; Gerald Gale (his son), Mr. C. Howard Wilcox; Mrs. Winterton, Miss Ethel Browne; Marjory Winterton (her daughter) Miss Elsie Wilson; Perkins (the maid) Miss Dolly Neufliess. The stage accommodation was very much better than on the last occasion that this piece was produced in Handsworth, and the actors having much more scope for a display of their histronic abilities. The performance was all that could be desired, and the audience was kept in a thoroughly good humour by the comical combination of circumstances which arose from the courtship by the nautical knight, Sir Fearful Gale, of winsome Marjorie, while his son Gerald was seeking the hand of Marjory’s mother. The denouement was very effective, laughter ringing loudly through the hall when Marjory came to the naïve conclusion that an exchange of lovers was desirable and exclaimed that "Mother will marry Sir Fearful and I shall marry Gerald. You see we are all going to marry one another!" In all respects the entertainment was a delightful one. The audience was entirely satisfied with their evening’s amusement; in the satisfaction of the onlookers the performers (who gave their services without any fee whatsoever) found ample reward; and, as the hall was completely filled, the funds of St. Michael’s Day Schools have doubtless been augmented to the satisfaction of the school managers. We understand that about £20 was realised.

 

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