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Source: Australian Star (Sydney) 29 April 1899, p.2.
The Two Scamps single work   musical theatre   - 4 act
Adaptation of Robert und Bertram Gustav Räder , 1856 single work drama
Issue Details: First known date: 1899... 1899 The Two Scamps
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Described in advertising as an 'up-to-date musical comedy,' The Two Scamps is based on the German play Robert und Bertram (1856). It concerns Bert and Bob, two tramps (also referred to as 'Jack Shepherds'), who escape from imprisonment, disguise themselves as an English Lord and Italian opera singer, and while on the run get themselves invited into the mansion of a wealthy parvenu. After despoiling their host and one of his friends the pair change their disguises and flee aboard a streamer. They are eventually brought to justice, however, by the would-be lover of the host's daughter. The young man has been rejected by the father and in a desperate effort to win his favour turns detective hoping to track down the two criminals.

Interestingly the par of Bert was played by Miss Mina Phillips. One critic wrote of Bert and Bob, 'their chief accomplishments appear to be an aptitude to take advantage of a decided looseness of lock-up regulations, which enable them to escape as soon as arrested, which happened so often as to become slightly monotonous' ('Opera House - The Two Scamps,' Australian Star 1 May 1899, p.7). Another, from Sydney's Evening News, records:

Both are of the 'bad lot' type, but they carry out their nefarious schemes with a sangfroid which would bare done credit to the fashionable pickpocket of the end of the eighteenth century. Indeed there is a vein running through the comedy strongly reminiscent of the adventures of 'Robert Macaire' ("Opera House - The Two Scamps." 2 May 1899, p.8).

The Two Scamps received largely positive reviews from the Sydney press, with most agreeing that Phillips and her co-star. T. Edmond Leonard, were well-suited to the roles. Although the libretto was considered minimal, it was viewed as 'infinitesimal' by the Australian Star critic (p.7) and 'slight' by the Referee's critic (3 May 1899, p.10), Tucker nevertheless drew much praise for his topical hits and local allusions - among them references to the Paddington military band, the Premier and his Federal proposals. The libretto also allowed for a number of show highlights, one of which was a country dance that preceded a wedding procession.

Hermann Florack's score and original songs were also well-praised, as was the orchestra and the singing by both the principal cast and the support ensemble. The musical's songs included 'Off to Philadelphia (parody sung by T. Edmond Leonard), 'The Deathless Army (Wentworth), 'Tyroleon Serenade' (Shepherd), 'Known to Everybody in the Force' (Phillips), 'Dreaming' (Miriam Lewis), 'If You Only Know the Way to tell the Tale' (Phillips and Leonard), 'Swinging' and 'Come My Beloved' (Shepherd and Lewis), and 'The Skipper' (Ambrose).

Source: 'H. Florack.' Australian Variety Theatre Archive : Popular Culture Entertainment: 1850-1930.

Notes

  • A few days prior to the 29 April premiere the former stage manager of the Opera House, Charles Maurice, applied for a court injunction against the theatre's proprietor and producer, Jacob Josephson, restraining him from staging The Two Scamps. He also sought financial restitution. Maurice claimed the injunction on the grounds of piracy, arguing that the libretto was identical with his work, A Pair of Paragons, and that he should therefore be identified as joint author with J. Harding Tucker.

    In his court appearance on 28 April Josephson responded by claiming that Maurice has been paid only to translate the original German play into English. He then engaged Tucker to write a play from that translation,and contracted Hermann Florack to write the music. Furthermore, The Two Scamps had been registered, put into rehearsal and was now ready to be staged the following night. Josephson further stated that if the production was cancelled more than 80 people would lose their jobs and that he would also suffer considerable losses (''The Two Scamps' or 'A Pair of Paragons',' Sydney Morning Herald 29 April 1899, p.7)

    A few days later the judge agreed that the plaintiff had sold his rights to the defendant, and refused the injunction. 'Direction was give,' however, 'for an account to be taken of receipts pending the hearing of a suit in Equity' (''Two Scamps' : Injunction Refused.' Evening News 2 May 1899, p.1).

  • The Two Scamps made further news towards the end of its season when a man fired a pistol into the air during the 7 May performance. The Evening News, one of many newspapers in Sydney and elsewhere to report on the incident, records:

    [The] individual had become somewhat annoyed at the manner in which he was being 'chyacked' by those around him, and he suddenly threw an egg on the stage, narrowly missing one of the actors. He then drew a revolver, and fired a shot in the air. The bullet struck the ceiling, and rebounding, fell on the floor. Constable Hardiman, who happened to be witnessing the play in the stalls, at once made his way to the pit, and, seizing the man, disarmed him. The weapon was found to be a six chambered revolver, loaded in five chambers, with one cartridge recently exploded ('A Revolver Episode,' 8 May 1899, p.4.)

    The 22 year old man was remanded for a week while the man received medical treatment.

Production Details

  • 1899: Opera House, Sydney; 29 April - 12 May

    • Director/Stage Manager W. J. Montgomery; Producer F. J. Josephson; Music Director H. Florack; Manager Harry P. Stewart; Choreographer Madam Parta.
    • Cast incl. Mina Phillips (Bert), T. Edmond Leonard (Bob), W. J. Montgomery (Jeffrey Dale), Hilda Fraser (Eveline), Fred Wentworth (Hasbene, the gaolkeeper), D. C. Smith, Arnold Denham, Katherine Scott, J. E. Shepherd (Leonard, Hasbene's nephew), Miriam Lewis (Rose, a maid), Harold Ambrose (Dr Cornwall).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon H. Florack Clay Djubal , 2016 10416972 2016 single work biography

'The colourful career of Frederick King appears to have begun in the late-1870s. Having changed his name to Hermann Florack (likely in an effort to evade a Victorian arrest warrant from1876), he toured the country with companies led by Baker and Farron and Tom Buckley, and on a number of occasions produced and/or toured his own shows (including Florack's Federal Minstrels)....'

'The Two Scamps' or 'A Pair of Paragons' 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 29 April 1899; (p. 7)

A report on the legal dispute over the copyright ownership of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

'Two Scamps' : Injunction Refused 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Evening News [Sydney] , 2 May 1899; (p. 1)

A report on the outcome of a legal dispute over the ownership of the adaptation and translation of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

Theatrical Dispute: Fortunes of the Opera House – A Motion for Injunction 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian Star , 29 April 1899; (p. 11)

A report on the legal dispute over the copyright ownership of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

A Revolver Episode : An Unrehearsed Scene 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Evening News [Sydney] , 8 May 1899; (p. 4)

A report on an incident in which a man fired a pistol into the air during the 7 May 1899 performance of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

Amusements: The Opera House – 'The Two Scamps' 1899 single work review
— Appears in: The Evening News [Sydney] , 2 May 1899; (p. 8)

— Review of The Two Scamps J. Harding Tucker , 1899 single work musical theatre

A review of the 1899 Sydney season of The Two Scamps (Opera House; 29 April - 12 May).

Opera House 1899 single work review
— Appears in: Truth [Sydney] , 30 April 1899; (p. 2)

— Review of The Two Scamps J. Harding Tucker , 1899 single work musical theatre

A review of the 1899 Sydney season of The Two Scamps (Opera House; 29 April - 12 May).

The Opera House 1899 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 1 May 1899; (p. 7)

— Review of The Two Scamps J. Harding Tucker , 1899 single work musical theatre

A review of the 1899 Sydney season of The Two Scamps (Opera House; 29 April - 12 May).

Opera House - 'The Two Scamps' 1899 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Star , 1 May 1899; (p. 7)

— Review of The Two Scamps J. Harding Tucker , 1899 single work musical theatre

A review of the 1899 Sydney season of The Two Scamps (Opera House; 29 April - 12 May).

Opera House - 'The Two Scamps' 1899 single work review
— Appears in: The Evening News (Sydney) , 30 April 1899; (p. 2)

— Review of The Two Scamps J. Harding Tucker , 1899 single work musical theatre

A review of the 1899 Sydney season of The Two Scamps (Opera House; 29 April - 12 May).

A Revolver Episode : An Unrehearsed Scene 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Evening News [Sydney] , 8 May 1899; (p. 4)

A report on an incident in which a man fired a pistol into the air during the 7 May 1899 performance of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

Theatrical Dispute: Fortunes of the Opera House – A Motion for Injunction 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian Star , 29 April 1899; (p. 11)

A report on the legal dispute over the copyright ownership of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

'Two Scamps' : Injunction Refused 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Evening News [Sydney] , 2 May 1899; (p. 1)

A report on the outcome of a legal dispute over the ownership of the adaptation and translation of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

'The Two Scamps' or 'A Pair of Paragons' 1899 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 29 April 1899; (p. 7)

A report on the legal dispute over the copyright ownership of the musical comedy The Two Scamps.

y separately published work icon H. Florack Clay Djubal , 2016 10416972 2016 single work biography

'The colourful career of Frederick King appears to have begun in the late-1870s. Having changed his name to Hermann Florack (likely in an effort to evade a Victorian arrest warrant from1876), he toured the country with companies led by Baker and Farron and Tom Buckley, and on a number of occasions produced and/or toured his own shows (including Florack's Federal Minstrels)....'

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 17 Nov 2016 11:15:46
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