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George Darrell (a.k.a. George Frederick Price Darrell; Edward Price George Darrell; Gentleman George; Georgius Darrell) b. 11 Dec 1841 d. 27 Jan 1921 (38 works by)

The son of a prominent Bath (England) brewer, George Darrell first arrived in Australia around 1865 after having run away from home whilst in his teens. After a brief period of time in Melbourne he spent the next few years fossicking for gold in New Zealand before returning to Australia. It was during this time that he learned the art of engraving and performed in local amateur theatrical productions. Darrell's first theatrical success came through Mde. Fanny Simonsen who engaged him to sing secondary roles in grand opera. One such part was Prince Paul in The Grand Duchess. In 1869 he took on the juvenile lead opposite Walter Montgomery during the famous actor's Melbourne season. Around this time Darrell married Fanny Cathcart, the widow of actor Robert Heir, who had come to Australia in 1863 with Charles Kean. The union was to prove a successful one, both personally and professionally, and Darrell soon rose to prominence as a lead actor in his own right, and as a principal cast member for several overseas companies touring the country.

George Darrell's career as a dramatist began around the late 1860s/early 1870s. One of his earliest works was an adaptation of the drama Man and Wife (1871). In 1872 he became lessee and director of the old Victoria Theatre, and engaged a company of actors, among them George P. Carey and Maggie Oliver. He also toured throughout Australia presenting combinations of plays and musical entertainments, several of which were his own creations. Among these early works are the musical sketch The Darrell's at Home and a play with music Matrimonial Manoeuvres. Between 1872 and his retirement some thirty-five years later, George Darrell wrote and produced no less than 23 original plays and ten dramatisations of already existing stories. Interestingly, his early works (at least up to 1876) seldom attempted to tackle Australian subjects. Thus it was not until Transported for Life (1876), first staged in New Zealand some two years after Darrell had returned to the Antipodes from an American tour, that local characters and situations become pivotal to his narratives. His first season in Australia in 1877 (which followed the tour of New Zealand) also saw him present a revival of an earlier work, The Trump Card (1874). Darrell simply changed the narrative from America to Sydney (for the Sydney season) and to Melbourne (when he played there in 1880).

In 1878 Darrell produced Back from the Grave, a melodrama which had its plot based on spiritualism and was set almost entirely in England. This was followed in 1879 by the war melodrama The Forlorn Hope; Or, A Tale of Tomorrow. Margaret Williams suggests that this last work finally saw Darrell come into his own as an Australian playwright (Australia on the Popular Stage, p120). The Naked Truth, an emotional drama staged in 1883 with a small amount of musical performance, was followed that same year with his most acclaimed work The Sunny South. Regarded as one of the most important Australian plays of the late nineteenth century, it had long seasons in Melbourne and Sydney before touring throughout most of Australia. It was also produced in London in 1884 and later in America. Darrell is said to have played the role of Mat Morley at least 940 times. Among his more successful dramas were: The Squatter, which included the George Darrell/David Cope composition "The Passion Song Waltz" (1885); The Soggarth, a play with incidental music composed by Walter J. Rice (1886); another play The New Rush (1886); a dramatisation of Nat Gould's novel The Double Event (1893); and one of his final productions The Land of Gold (1907).

George Darrell's last appearance in public was in 1916 when, at age seventy-five, he 'declaimed with surprising spirit his own well-turned lyrics "Around the Dardanelles," and Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade,"' at the George Marlow-run Shakespeare Tercentenary Festival (Green Room Feb. 1921, 12). His last few years were spent at Roslyn Gardens (Sydney). On Thursday 27 January 1921 Darrell left a note in his room telling his friends he was going on a long voyage. The following day his body was washed up on Dee Why Beach on Sydney's north shore.

1 7 y Gentleman George - King of Melodrama : The Theatrical Life and Times of George Darrell 1841-1921 Eric Irvin , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1980 single work biography
1 George Darrell, an Ambitious Dramatist Eric Irvin , 1976 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , May vol. 20 no. 5 1976; (p. 39-45)
1 George Darrell : Death Severs Old-Time Link 1921 single work obituary
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 21 January 1921; (p. 8)
1 14 y The Sunny South George Darrell , 1884 single work drama humour
1 y The Soggarth George Darrell , 1886 single work drama
1 y The Queen of Coolgardie The Road to Ruin George Darrell , 1897 single work drama
1 1 y The Belle of the Bush George Darrell , Sydney : N.S.W. Bookstall Company , 1916 single work novel
1 3 The Sorrows of Satan George Darrell , 1897 single work drama

Adapted for the stage by George Darrell from Marie Corelli's novel of the same name (1895), the story concerns Geoffrey Tempest, a penniless author who one day receives three letters. The first is from a friend in Australia who has made his fortune and offers to introduce him to a good friend who might be able to lift him from poverty. The second is a note from a solicitor detailing that he has inherited a fortune from a deceased relative, the third is a letter of introduction from a foreign aristocrat called Lucio, who befriends him and proceeds to be his guide in how to best use his new found wealth. Unaware that Lucio is the Earthly incarnation of the devil his life descends into misery depsite his new-found wealth. He eventually realises that he has been tricked by the devil and in renouncing evil he returns to society penniless but content with the chance to purify his soul.

1 1 Convict Once George Darrell , 1896 single work drama

Melodrama.

The story concerns a beautiful young woman who suffers so that her loved but unworthy father may be saved from a just retribution.

1 Sappho George Darrell , 1902 single work drama
1 Solange George Darrell , 1882 single work drama
1 George Darrel; : Veteran Actor Passes 1921 single work obituary
— Appears in: Green Room , February 1921; (p. 12)
Provides an overview of George Darrell's career and last days.
1 The Manager's Dream i "I dreamt a dream of the buried great,", George Darrell , 1880 single work poetry
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 10 July vol. 2 no. 24 1880; (p. 7)
1 Great White Queen i "Lower the banners half-mast high--"The Great White Queen" is dead.", George Darrell , 1901 single work poetry
— Appears in: School Paper for Classes V and VI , March no. 28 1901; (p. [81])
1 The Battle and the Breeze George Darrell , 1905 single work drama
1 Paris and Pleasure George Darrell , 1904 single work drama
1 Justice or Murder George Darrell , 1902 single work drama
1 The Punter George Darrell , 1902 single work drama
1 The Pakeha Life for Life George Darrell , 1890 single work drama
1 Mr Potter of Texas George Darrell , 1890 single work drama
1 The Lucky Lot George Darrell , 1890 single work drama
1 The Queen of Bohemia George Darrell , 1888 single work drama
1 The Naked Truth George Darrell , 1883 single work drama
1 The Squatter The Sundowner George Darrell , 1855 single work drama
1 Transported for Life George Darrell , 1876 single work drama
1 Back from the Grave George Darrell , 1878 single work drama
1 The Four Fetes George Darrell , 1875 single work drama
1 The Trump Card George Darrell , 1874 single work drama
1 Dark Deeds George Darrell , 1873 single work drama
1 Matrimonial Manoeuvres Matrimony George Darrell , 1872 single work drama
1 Man and Wife George Darrell , 1871 single work drama
1 Her Face, Her Fortune Under the Ban George Darrell , 1874 single work drama
1 Hue and Cry George Darrell , 1888 single work drama A variation on the 'transported for life' theme.
1 The Land of Dawning George Darrell , 1896 single work drama
1 The Light That Failed George Darrell , 1899 single work drama Based on Rudyard Kipling's novel The Light That Failed, it tells the story of a painter who is going blind and who is spurned by the woman he loves.
1 The Double Event The Double Event: A Tale of the Melbourne Cup George Darrell , 1893 single work drama A dramatisation of Nat Gould's novel The Double Event: A Tale of the Melbourne Cup (1891), the debut production included a staged running of the Melbourne Cup, with 20 thoroughbred horses ridden by professional jockeys.
1 The Crimson Thread The Crimes of Chicago; From Scotland Yard George Darrell , 1894 single work drama detective
1 The New Rush Cardoc's Crime; The Queen of Coolgardie; The King of Coolgardie; The Land of Gold; The Road to Ruin George Darrell , 1886 single work drama

The story concerns a banker, Caradoc, and his wife Alice, who both live and gamble extravagantly. Complications arise when Alice's first husband, Marsden, who was long ago presumed dead, turns up and cheats Caradoc (he is unrecognised by Alice). As a result Caradoc is forced to close down his bank he is imprisoned for four years. During this time his sister, Kate, marries a new chum named Wyndham. Upon his release Caradoc meets up with Marsden and is informed that Alice is actually still married to him. In a fit of rage Caradoc throws him out a window and is subsequently sent back to gaol. With Caradoc out of the way Marsden forces Alice to accompany him to the gold diggings, where they meet up with two low-life characters named Sogg (unemployed) and Stoyles (a bookie). Caradoc later arrives at the diggings and comes into possession of a giant nugget, which Marsden resolves to steal. Caradoc meets with Alice to tell her she is now once again rich, but after they part Marsden attacks her, striking her so violently on head that she appears to be dead. Although Wyndham and Stoyles accuse Marsden of the crime, Marsden and Sogg succeed in getting Caradoc charged with murder. However, when Alice recovers she is able to tell the true story. Angered by the deception and villainy the miners lynch Marsden and Sogg.

1 The Mystery of a Hansom Cab aka Midnight Melbourne George Darrell , 1888 single work drama

Stage version of Fergus Hume's novel of the same name.

2 y Looking Back, Or, Pique, Repique and Capot George A. Walstab , Calcutta : Wyman , 1864 single work novel Tale of a man's life recalled in later years - and principally of his friend Harcourt Darrell, the scion of an old roman Catholic family in England. The narrator and Darrell were school friends and spent several months in Devonsire studying with a Protestant clergyman before they were to enter the army. While there, Darell fell in love with the gentle clergyman's daughter but his strict Roman Catholic mother opposed the match unrelentingly. The effect of her refusal on the lives of all the protagonists, especially Darrell in his rapid decline into a true 'Wild Darell' comprises the major thread of the tale whose main events take place around 1850. The narrator, George Wainwright's efforts to restore his father's lost fortunes through entering military school in France and his grand passion for a married Frenchwoman bring adventures to him too. Walstab also takes the chance to involve him in French politics and Louis Napoleon (1848-51). Wainwright eventually emigrates to Australia and joins the Victorian mounted police among the other duties, guarding a quarantined ship. (PB)
1 The Australian Character on the Nineteenth Century Stage Richard Fotheringham , 2001 single work criticism
— Appears in: Defining Acts : Australia on Stage : A Centenary of Federation Exhibition Celebrating the Australian Character on the Popular Stage over the Past 100 Years 2001; (p. 8-13)
'Pity Eliza and Ann Winstanley. They came to Australia as children in 1833 and a few years later became two of Sydney's star actors, only to be yelled off the Royal Victoria Theatre stage by the cabbage-tree mob because they were 'un-Australian'. The cabbage-tree youths were the first European children born in Australia. They were the sons and daughters of convicts, soldiers and settlers. Fiercely proud of their 'native' status, they wore hats woven from cabbage-tree palm leaves and tied with black ribbon. Already, it was being noticed that they spoke with a different accent and that with sunshine and plenty of fresh meat they were growing taller than their parents: 'cornstalks''. (p. 8)
1 The Play 1896 single work column
— Appears in: The Free-Lance , 17 October vol. 1 no. 26 1896; (p. 4-5)
A column canvassing current stage productions in Sydney and Melbourne. Included in the overview are some comments on Alfred Dampier's Robbery under Arms and George Darrell's Convict Once.
1 2 y Australia on the Popular Stage 1829-1929 Margaret Williams , Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1983 selected work
1 form y The Crop George Elliot , Australia : Miracle Productions , 2004 single work film/TV crime

'THE CROP, set in the early '80s, is about a larrikin nightclub owner, Ronnie (Blade) Gillette, and his barmaid girlfriend Geraldine. Two months after random breath testing has been introduced Blade realises he's going broke. Afraid of DUI, his customers are not buying his grog – instead they're going out to the car park to smoke dope. Like any good businessman Blade decides he needs a strategy. He decides to grow some dope himself as a way out of his financial hole. Diversify and expand – beauty! But that's when life gets interesting.'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 11/4/2014)

1 2 y Australian Melodrama : Eighty Years of Popular Theatre Eric Irvin , Sydney : Hale and Iremonger , 1981 single work criticism