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1920s concert parties

Bessie Webb (a.k.a Betty Alexander) performed with the following companies (among others): "The Eclipse Entertainers", League of British Artists, 'Rags and Tatters' Costume Concert Party, 'Bric-a-Bracs' Entertainers, and 'Our Cabaret' . Please email me if you have photographs, posters or information on any of the above.

Newspaper quotes and posters showing chronology of performances:

Bessie could well have answered this advertisement in The Stage in June 1920 in order to perform in Ilfracombe with The Eclipse Entertainers:

Ilfracombe Chronicle
Saturday 26th June 1920

"The Eclipse Entertainers" at the Montebello Lawn
Seven artistes, selected by Fred Pepper esq.: Alfred Wright, Frank Lorden, Walter Sutch,
Bessie Alexander, Iris D'Aubigne, Doris Ladd, Sylvia Greenaway.

In The Stage of 1st July 1920 this was published under the heading Concert and Entertainment Notes:

Ilfracombe Chronicle, Saturday 14th August 1920

"Bessy Alexander, the soprano, has always proved greatly to the audience's liking and is gaining much popular success. During the week she has produced Leslie Elliott's new song 'My Fairy Ship of Dreams', with complete success."

League of British Artists Twenty Seventh Concert
(under the direction of J. Hedley Drummond) at Steinway Hall on
Thursday September 15th 1921 at 8pm.
Miss Audrey Tolley, Soprano
Miss Clarice Reed, Mezzo-Soprano
Miss Vivian Hope, Mezzo-Contrlato
Miss Rita Harris, Contralto
Mr Bernard Collins, Tenor
Mr Basil Brook, Baritone
Miss Mary Thornsby, Dramatic Reciter
Mr H. Waterman Harris, Entertainter at Piano
Mr Ernest Ray, Humorous Monologues
Featuring new works:
Miss Bessie Webb, Miss Lena Wake, Mr Laurence Blades, Mr Joseph Congdon

Undated, but thanks to research on The Stage archive it is September 1922
Apollo Gardens, Ipswich (corner of Norwich Road and Blenheim Road)
Ronald Kaye and Miss Gladys Hay present 'Rags and Tatters' Costume Concert Party in a pot pourri of Mirth, Melody and Music.
Miss Bessie Webb - soprano
also: Jaques Maxwell, Enid G. Forde, Jack Kendrick, Vivienne M. Tempest.

undated programme, probably
Frederick Mantell and Claire Swallow present the 'Bric-a-Bracs' Entertainers at The Casino, Swanage Pavilion Ltd., Station Road, Swanage.

1. Overture
2. Opening Chorus "Hey for Fun and Frolic" F.Mantell THE COMPANY
3. Concerted item "Caroline"
4. Humorous Interlude
5. Song and Dance " Love Me" Miss Jessie Lewis
6. Concerted Item "The Hoo Doo"
7. Song "Any Girl" Mr Jack Osbourne
8. Song "My Ships" Miss Claire Swallow
9. Concerted Item "Melon Time"
10. Song "The Valley Of The South" Miss Bessie Webb
11. Original Farcical Sketch FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES by Frederick Mantell
The Hon. Algernon Anglesbury (A Gentleman gifted with humour but with little Brains) Mr F. Mantell
Cora Angelsbury (his Wife) Miss Claire Swallow
Scene: The Hon. Anglesbury's Apartments at Mrs Grunt's Breakfast for Two - 10am
12. Selection
13. Concerted Item "Minnetonka"
14. Comedy and Piano Miss O'Neil and Mr Osbourne
15. Song "Glorious Devon" Mr Jack Stevens
16. Concerted Item "Our Bazaar"
17. Pianoforte Solo "(Selected)" Miss Shelagh O'Neil A.R.C.M, L.R.A.M (Gold Medalist)
18. Character Sketch "Later On" Mr Jack Osbourne
19. Musical Monologue "Not Understood" Miss Claire Swallow
20. Humourous Duet "Your Girl and My Girl" Mr Stevens and Mr Osbourne
21. Musical Monologue "My Book, My Pipe and Jack" Mr Frederick Mantell
22. Original Burlesque THE CINEMA SHOW

In The Stage of
20th September 1923, under this heading:

Bessie had this advertisement:

Poster: Hippodrome and Theatre Leicester (?)
Monday December 24th (1923) 6.45 8.45 twice nightly
Miss Alice Preston presents Ye Olde Christmas Pantomime Jack and Jill and the Wishing Well
Book by Byam Wyke, revised by Reg Preston, produced by A.W.Thompson
Jack: Vivienne Tempest
Jill: Doreen Costello
Jenny Greentheeth (The Wicked Water Witch): Bessie Webb

It appears to have been customary for performers to place 'Season's greetings' messages in The Stage. Both Bessie Webb and Vivienne Tempest did so in the 29th December 1923 edition, while they were performing in Jack and Jill in Burslem.

In January 1924 Bessie Webb was a wanted woman:

Poster: Salford Palace
The junction of Cross Lane and Regent Road
Week commencing
January 12th (1925) twice nightly 6.45 8.50
Mario and Stella present the Great Spectacular and funny PANTOMIME Dick Whittington and his Cat, with a specially selected Star Cast including The Bros Hanaway.
Cast: Molly McCarthy as Dick,
Betty Webb as Polly Prim

Advert placed in The Stage on 5th February 1925

In 1926, Bessie joins Our Cabaret (renamed as New Our Cabaret as it has a slightly different line up to previously) and prepares to travel to India, stopping en route to perform in Gibraltar and Egypt. Before they leave, the company performs in Southsea. Here is the write-up from The Stage of 15th April 1926:

Next stop is Gibraltar!

El Anunciador (Gibraltar) 13th May 1926

Stephen Lopez "representante de la notable troupe inglesa 'Our Cabaret'."

undated unknown Spanish newspaper

"Miss Betty Webb, contralto de bello timbre, ofreció también una buena muestra de su arte en varias canciones inglesas, dichas con gracia y gusto."

The Egyptian Gazette, Wednesday, 16th June 1926

"Our Cabaret" at the Alhambra, Alexandria, Egypt for one week. Producer: Charles Chamier. 'To Miss Betty Webb we would accord the palm; her talent both in acting and singing being most patent. She has a fine natural contralto, which though throaty at times, is a voice of uncommon richness and charm'.

The Sphinx June 12th 1926

Our Cabaret in Cairo
"Betty Webb is an attractive looking contralto and sang with much feeling".

Hyderabad Bulletin, Saturday 7th August 1926

"Our Cabaret" Short season at the British Cinema Theatre in Secunderabad
'Miss Betty Webb, who possesses a fine contralto voice, sang two very pretty songs, one of which was the old favourite "Absent", one of the songs which will never die, and her fine rendering was well applauded.'

Hyderabad Bulletin, Monday 9th August 1926

Saturday's Brilliant Performance
'Betty Webb was well recompensed by the applause she received on her fine rendering of "Melisande" and her encore "An Old Fashioned Town" was equally well sung and appreciated.'

Bessie's fellow artistes in "Our Cabaret" and "New Our Cabaret":

Charles Chamier & Reginald Selleck - producers

Muriel Varna
Tubby Stevens
Anna Lindsey
Rex Mervyn
Delia & Rita Vivienne
Kenneth Rayner
Fred Collier
Gertrude Clegg

For Bessie's account of joining and working with Our Cabaret, click here