Black-Eyed Susan; Or, The Lass Who Loved William single work   musical theatre   burlesque   humour  
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: 1890 1890
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Advertised as a 'refined musical extravaganza,' this localised version of the F. C. Burnand burlesque on Douglas Jerrold's original 1929 drama had an extensive musical component, containing (according to one source) some forty musical numbers. The story was set in seven scenes, with these being:

  • Act 1; Scene 1. Susan' Cottage
  • Scene 2. Rocky Pass
  • Scene 3. The Jolly Mugs
  • Scene 4. Dame Halley's Cottage
  • Act 2; Scene 1. The Jolly Mugs
  • Scene 2. The Gaol
  • Scene 3. Deck of H.M.S. Calliope

The additional material supplied by Bert Royle no doubt required of him some intensive research into local identities and recent events when the production was taken on tour. For example, its staging in Brisbane (1890) saw part of the story is set in the Brisbane Gaol, which suggests that the text would have contained satirical hits aimed at the local audience. The Brisbane Courier writes in regard to this aspect of the 1890 production, 'Mr Sheridan, as Henry Irving Smith, a smuggler, and afterwards Captain Crossgrain, was irresistibly funny, and had been supplied with any number of local hits' (28 April 1890, p.4). When the company returned for a two night season a week later (having opened for two nights at Ipswich during the week), the paper's critic further noted that 'the dialogue was interspersed with many local allusions to persons and occurrences [which] were appreciated, and created a great deal of amusement' (3 May 1890, p.5).

The musical programme inserted into the production included 'a magnificent song, '"Traveller's All" [sung] by Mr Montague, [of which] it is said… had not been heard in Australia for over a quarter of a century,' 'The Villagers Chorus,' 'Merry Little Bridesmaids' (female trio), 'The Smugglers, Silence and Fun' (male trio), 'The Coquette' (solo), 'How He Carries On' (solo), 'On Board the Lugger' (company), 'Two Lovely Black-Eyes' and 'Villains of the Deepest Dye' (quintet), 'Heave Away' (solo/ chorus), 'It's English, You Know' (with dialect verses in English, Irish, Scotch, French, Yankee and Dutch sung by J. F. Sheridan), 'Farewell My Own,' and 'Pretty See-U-Pass' (company), 'Moonlight Killarney' (duo), 'The Kranky Boys' (quartette), 'Turn on Old Time' (trio), 'Tooral-I-Oo-Ral-I' (company), 'Beautiful Moon' (duet) and the solo/chorus 'The Blatherun' (Brisbane Courier 28 April, p4). The Sydney season (1891) was commended, too, for the quality of the several ballets, the highlights being 'The Snow Ballet,' which was described as 'a scenic and terpsichorian display [that ranked] as the most wonderful and picturesque ever presented to an Australian audience' and 'The Grand Sailor Ballet' (Sydney Morning Herald 25 Apr. 1891, 2). John F. Sheridan also performed two new numbers, 'You Can't Think of Everything' and 'Is He Guilty?' (a parody on 'Bright Little Glass').

Production Details

  • 1890: Opera House, Brisbane; 26 April, 2-3 May

    • Director John F. Sheridan; Producer MacMahon Brothers; Music Director/Conductor J. A. Robertson; Lessee J. B. Hickie; Scenic Arist Mr Campbell.
    • Cast incl. Gracie Whiteford (William), Alfred James (Doggrass), F. W. Montague (John Pewter), Wilfred Carr (Jack the Terror), Charles Bovis (Nip-Up), Harry Crawford (Flip Flap), William Bovis (Tumble-Up), Alice Austin (Gnatbrain), David Marion (Blue Peter), John F. Sheridan (Henry Irving Smith/Captain Crossgrain), Lena Salinger (Susan), Nellie Arline (Dolly Mayflower), Minnie Bell (Julia Simple), Mary Melville (Polly Pickle), Tilly Williams (Kitty Combes), Kate Whiteford (Jenny Wren), Sissy Fraser (Pansy Blossom), May Ellis (Carrie Jay), Fanny Wiseman (Dame Halley), Mr Carr (Admiral of the Fleet).

    1891: Garrick Theatre (Syd); 25-30 Apr. [As Little Black-Eyed Susan]

    • Director John F. Sheridan; Producer F. E. Hiscocks and W. J. Wilson; Music Director/Conductor J. A. Robertson; Scenic Arist W. J. Wilson; Choreography Mildred Trigge.
    • Cast incl. Gracie Whiteford (Little Black-Eyed Susan), Nina Osbourne (Dolly Mayflower), John F. Sheridan (Cross-Brush), Bert Royle (Judge of Court), Mildred Trigge (Susie Primrose), Alfred James (Dame Haley), Miss Royle (Polly Pansy), Miss Williams (Lottie Tulip), Miss White (Mary Marigold), Miss Fraser (Barbara Boronia), Miss Livingstone (Truitie Fruitie), Miss White (Rosy Roslyn), Miss Williams (Jenny Juniper), Miss Garner (Lily Lilac), Stella Tudor (William), Alice Austin (Gnat Brain), Henry M. Imano Doggrass), William Carr (Jack the Terror), Sam Stealem (Bill Bitten), Charles Bovis (Shearer), William Bovis (Shearer), John Tudor (Grabem, the Bailiff), Julius Errickson (Pull-em, an officer) Walter Dalgieish (The Donkey).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

[Editorial] 1890 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 28 April 1890; (p. 4)

— Review of Black-Eyed Susan; Or, The Lass Who Loved William John F. Sheridan Bert Royle 1890 single work musical theatre
[Editorial] 1890 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 3 May 1890; (p. 5)

— Review of Black-Eyed Susan; Or, The Lass Who Loved William John F. Sheridan Bert Royle 1890 single work musical theatre
[Editorial] 1890 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 28 April 1890; (p. 4)

— Review of Black-Eyed Susan; Or, The Lass Who Loved William John F. Sheridan Bert Royle 1890 single work musical theatre
[Editorial] 1890 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 3 May 1890; (p. 5)

— Review of Black-Eyed Susan; Or, The Lass Who Loved William John F. Sheridan Bert Royle 1890 single work musical theatre

PeriodicalNewspaper Details

Note:
This entry has been sourced from research undertaken by Dr Clay Djubal into Australian-written popular music theatre (ca. 1850-1930). See also the Australian Variety Theatre Archive
Last amended 20 Oct 2014 09:03:13
X