Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes single work   musical theatre  
Adaptation of Black-Eyed Susan; Or, The Little Bill That Was Taken Up F. C. Burnand 1866 single work musical theatre
Issue Details: First known date: 1895 1895
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Bert Royle's text for the burlesque is said to follow the original storlyline closely, though much of the dialogue and all of the songs were 'obviously new.' It is likely, however, that some of the material may well have been based on an earlier burlesque of the Black-Eyed Susan story, staged in 1890 by John F. Sheridan, and for which Royle contributed lyrics to J. A. Robertson's music. One of the most ludicrous incidents in the burlesque, records the Sydney Morning Herald critic was the scene in which 'a boat full of tars who rowed gaily over the waves, and then, to the delight of the whole house, walked upon the stage with the shell of the boat round their waists.' Another particular highlight was Crosstree's escape over a human bridge formed by four acrobats (6).

Musical numbers incorporated into the narrative included the songs 'Too Long A-Lingering' (sung by Fred Dark), 'The Gipps Street Buccaneers' (trio), 'At Four O'clock in the Morning' (Forde); and a nautical dance performed by the 'tiny' child Kitty Lohr.

Notes

  • Towards the end of the premiere Sydney season of this burlesque version of the popular Black-Eyed Susan, a Sydney Morning Herald, wrote in the paper's 'Musical and Dramatic Notes' column that this "dashing burlesque… is quite different from Burnand's famous travesty… first produced at the Royalty Theatre as long ago as 29th November 1866" (2 March 1895, p.2). What is perhaps more unusual and quite different, however, was the decision to present both a dramatic and a burlesque version each evening of the season. In this respect George Rignold (in an advertisement published in the same paper), suggested that by 'producing Douglas Jerrold's celebrated nautical drama of Black-Eyed Susan, and [having it] travestied on the same evening, I think there is some claim to originality, my contention being that there is no real fun in burlesque unless the subject matter is fresh in the mind of the auditor; and in placing both before the audience on the same evening I trust that my theory will prove correct' (16 February 1895, p.2). Although the paper's theatre critic suggested that the opening night performance of the travesty went on too long, he or she noted that 'Bert Royle has written plenty of smart lines' and that when 'trimmed… there is no reason why the 'new departure' should not justify itself by established success' (19 February 1895, p.6).

Production Details

  • 1895: Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney; 16 February - 9 March

    • Director/Producer/Lesese George Rignold; Scenic Artist John Brunton; Stage Manager J. W. Hazlitt.
    • Cast incl. Fred Dark (Dame Hatley), Florence Esdaile (Susan), Frank Harcourt (Hatchett), Florrie Forde (William), Edmond Leonard [Crosstree), Agnes Bristow (Gnatbrain), Stirling White (Judge), Bert Royle Kitty Lohr, Perman Family [including Bella Perman].
    • The 9 March production was included as part of the bill for a farewell benefit to Florrie Forde. This version of the burlesque apparently had some additional business, in the form of "specialties" incorporated into the introductory passage.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Amusements: 'Black-Eyed Susan' 1895 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19 February 1895; (p. 6)

— Review of Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes Bert Royle 1895 single work musical theatre
Amusements: Her Majesty's Theatre 1895 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 11 March 1895;

— Review of Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes Bert Royle 1895 single work musical theatre
Musical and Dramatic Notes 1895 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 March 1895; (p. 5)

— Review of Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes Bert Royle 1895 single work musical theatre
Amusements: 'Black-Eyed Susan' 1895 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19 February 1895; (p. 6)

— Review of Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes Bert Royle 1895 single work musical theatre
Amusements: Her Majesty's Theatre 1895 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 11 March 1895;

— Review of Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes Bert Royle 1895 single work musical theatre
Musical and Dramatic Notes 1895 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 March 1895; (p. 5)

— Review of Susan with Two Lovely Black Eyes Bert Royle 1895 single work musical theatre
Last amended 11 Mar 2014 09:13:41
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