In August 1882 the New Star Music Hall in Liverpool advertised a varied bill for Bank Holiday Monday – magic, singing, comedy, dancing, opera. The venue sought to attract customers not only through the quality of performers booked but also by its claim to be the coolest and best ventilated hall in England.
Bank Holiday Monday programme for the New Star Music Hall in Liverpool - Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald 5 August 1882. British Newspaper Archive
The acts for the evening of 5 August 1882 were listed as-
Bryant’s Great Marionette
George Bryant operated marionette performances from the 1870s. Here is a picture of his Marionette Minstrels from a bill for the Winchester Music Hall in Southwark –a ‘Novel, Wonderful and Amusing Speciality’, ‘the Best Mechanical Entertainment in Europe, consisting of Songs, Dances, Jokes, Choruses etc’.
Bryant's Marionette Minstrels from a bill for the Winchester Music Hall in Southwark - British Library Evanion Collection 752
Don Esparto, the Mystagogue, and Miss Lilian Haydn, the Enchantress
Don Esparto was the stage name of illusionist William Smith from Barrow Upon Humber, Lincolnshire. He combined conjuring with mesmerism. In one show, he made a man eat a candle in the belief that it was a string of sausages. Miss Lilian Hadyn acted as his assistant and was described in newspapers as vivacious and a very good serio-comic.
Sisters and Brother Phillips, the Burlesque Trio, The Three Comical Cards
This ‘Witty, Whimsical and Pantomimical’ act was formed in 1870 by W H Phillips who wrote the songs and material performed. In 1886 he complained of ‘unprincipled copyists’ malignant vindictiveness and jealousy’.
Brady and Johnson, the Inimitable Comic Duettists
Albert Brady and Marion Johnson were the stage names of married couple John and Mary Brady. They performed sketches.
Mr Harry Steele, Comic Vocalist and Eccentric Skater
Steele’s catchphrase was ‘By Jove! I was nearly down again’.
Miss Milnes, Soprano Vocalist
The repertoire of Agnes Milnes, ‘the queen of song’, included opera and sentimental ballads.
Mr George Vokes, Grotesque Comedian
Vokes was said to excite ‘the risible faculties of the audience by his comicalities’.
George Vokes by Alfred Concanen, circa 1870s © National Portrait Gallery, London
Mr Harry Starr, American , Dutch, and Irish Character Comedian
Starr enjoyed considerable success as a variety artist and then became an actor and dramatist.
Sisters De Laine, Fascinating Duettists and Champion Skipping Rope Dancers
In 1894, Alice De Laine opened a dance academy in London for music hall aspirants which specialised in tuition for skipping rope dancing.
Advert for Alice De Laine's dance academy - Music Hall and Theatre Review 31 August 1894 British Newspaper Archive
The Band - Grand Selection from Donizetti’s opera Anna Bolena
The performance started at 7.30pm. Tickets for the front stalls cost 1s 6d, stalls and promenade 1s, and the body of the hall 6d. The Liverpool Mercury described the evening’s programme as ‘unusually interesting’.
Lead Curator, East India Company Records
British Newspaper Archive e.g. London and Provincial Entr’Acte 26 July 1873; Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald 5 August 1882; Liverpool Mercury 8 August 1882; The Era 22 August 1880, 3 October 1885, and 8 May 1886; Midland Counties Advertiser 1 November 1888; Music Hall and Theatre Review 31 August 1894.