AustLit logo
y separately published work icon In a Harem single work   musical theatre   revue/revusical   humour  
Alternative title: The Porters; Harem Scarem
Issue Details: First known date: 1917... 1917 In a Harem
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

In a Harem sees Stiffy and Mo as porters at a railway station who, along with several other characters, later find themselves in a sultan's harem. M. A. Keup, writing in his Just It 'Vaudeville' column, notes that Phillips based this revusical on 'the same theme that inspired Mozart to compose The Seraglio', presenting an 'old-time impression of a Turkish domestic dovecote' (6 October 1927, p.28). This production differs somewhat from the usual Nat Phillips one-act musical comedy revue, in that it is divided into two distinct scenes and employs a slightly larger cast. Furthermore, several members of the troupe who appear in the first scene ('The Railway') do not appear in the second ('The Sultan's Harem'). The other characters include Will Atkins (a crook) and Mr Burwood (a smartie), a group of passengers, a sultan (alias Will Atkins), and a chorus of Ladies of the Harem. An Argus critic, writing in 1917, suggests that, despite the title In a Harem, 'the best part was at [the] railway station, where the two comedians were on duty. Their ideas on running railways, including the Transcontinental line, would certainly prove original in practice' (3 December 1917, p.5).

The 1922 production incorporated the following songs into the narrative: 'The Trippers' (passengers), 'Goodbye Dixie' (Connelly, O'Brien, Davis, Merton, and girls), 'Whose Heart is Breaking Now' (Paul and girls), 'Any Little Baby' (Merton and girls), 'Peggy O'Neill' (Connors and Paul), 'After You Get' (Connelly and Davis), 'Lo the Dawn is Breaking' (ladies), 'Shindie Arroon' (Paul and ladies), 'The Older They Get' (Connors and ladies), and the finale, 'Back to Sydney' (company).

For his 1926 Stiffy and 'Erb version (as The Porters), Phillips introduced such songs as 'Wake Yourself Up' (opening chorus: the passengers); 'Just Around the Corner' and 'They Call it Dancing' (Queenie Paul); 'Tramp', 'Brown's Funeral', and 'Get One Yourself' (Mike Connors); and 'A Bouquet' (a scena with Connors, Paul, and ballet).

Production Details

  • 1917: Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, 29 September - 5 October (return season as Fun in a Harem: 1-7 December).

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips (Stiffy), Roy Rene (Mo), Horace Mann (The Sultan), Daisy Merritt (Mrs Atkins), Caddy Franks (Fatima), Dan M. Dunbar (Dick Mansfield), Peter Brooks (Jack Burns), Belle Pollard (Violet), Walter Jackson [aka Walter Whyte] (Fred Terry), Cliff O'Keefe (Joe Johns), Vince Courtney (Goe Banus), Eva Courtney, Dot O'Dea, Linda Klume, Phyllis Whisken, Olive Thompson, Olga Pietriche, Rosie Bowie, Rene Redfern, Gwen Brandon, Doris Davis [aka Mrs Roy Rene].
    • Rosie Bowie, Phyllis Whisken, and Gwen Brandon were long-serving members of the Stiffy and Mo chorus, billed in 1917 as the Panama Six.

    1918: Empire Theatre, Brisbane, 16-22 March (return season: 20-26 July).

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Roy Rene, Daisy Merritt, Caddy Franks, Horace Mann, Dan M. Dunbar, Peter Brooks, Belle Pollard, Walter Jackson [aka Walter Whyte], Vince Courtney, Cliff O'Keefe.

    1919: Fullers' Theatre, Sydney, 21-27 June.

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd; Music Director W. Hamilton Webber; Stage Manager Dan M. Dunbar.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Roy Rene, Daisy Merritt, Caddy Franks, Horace Mann, Amy Rochelle, Walter Jackson [aka Walter Whyte], Chester Harris, Dan M. Dunbar, Peter Brooks, Maisie Posner, Jack Dennis.

    1920: Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, 3-9 April (return season: 24-30 July).

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Roy Rene, Amy Rochelle, Daisy Merritt, Caddy Franks, Horace Mann, Dan M. Dunbar, Will Liddle, Lou Harris.
    • The company undertook a brief regional tour between seasons, with the return season beginning 10 July. The Age also notes that 'the supporting company has been very much improved' (12 July 1920, p.8). Mike Connors and Queenie Paul joined the troupe at this time. See also At the Club (1920), which had its Australian premiere during return season.

    .

  • 1921: Empire Theatre, Brisbane, 25 June - 2 July.

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Roy Rene, Lola Hunt, Belle Pollard, Gerald Cashman, Walter Jackson [aka Walter Whyte], Dot O'Dea.

    1922: Fullers' Theatre, Sydney, 6-12 May.

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd; Music Director Charles Ryder; Chorus Rosie Bowie; Business Manager George C. Audley; Costumes Ethel Moar; Stage Manager Dan M. Dunbar.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Roy Rene, Dan M. Dunbar (Will Atkins, a crook/the Sultan), Gladys Shaw (Mrs Atkins), Mike Connors (Mr Burwood, a smartie), Queenie Paul (the Sultan's favourite wife), Keith Connelly (Mr Stanmore), Dot Davis [aka Mrs Roy Rene] (Miss Suburbia), Ida Merton (Miss Outskirts), Doc O'Brien (Mr Ashfield/Mocca); and the Radio Six Girls (Gwen Brandon, Rosie Bowie, Thelma Duff, Flo Wilson, Marie McLaughlin, Phyllis Whisken) as ladies of the harem.
    • Details sourced from advertised programme in Fuller News 6 May 1922, p.8.

    1926: Empire Theatre, Brisbane, 23-29 October (as The Porters).

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd; Music Director Frank Wilson.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Whirligigs [aka Stiffy and 'Erb].
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Jack Kellaway ('Erb), Mike Connors, Queenie Paul (Fatima), Daisy Merritt, Dan Dunbar (the Sultan), Alec Kellaway (the Rajah), Dan Weldon, Irene Vando, Elsie Hoskins, and the Radio Six Girls;
    • Musicians Charleston Super Six Symphonists, incl. Frank Wilson (trombone/accordion), 'Tiny' Douglas (violin), Art Dewar (banjo), Frank Morton (cornet), and Les Clements (piano).

    1927: Fullers' Theatre, Sydney, 21-27 June (return season: 1-7 October).

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd; Stage Manager Dan M. Dunbar.
    • Troupe Stiffy and Mo Revue Company.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips, Roy Rene, Amy Rochelle, Harry Ross, Sadie Gale, Daisy Merritt, Statler Sisters, Alec Kellaway, Jack Kellaway; and Radio Girls.
    • Musicians Charleston Symphony Jazz Band.
    • The October revival did not include Alec Kellaway in the cast. New members were Dan M. Dunbar, Phyllis Du Barry, and Claude Holland.

    1928: Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, 31 December 1928 - 6 January 1929 (as Harem Scarem).

    • Director Nat Phillips; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd; Music Director Tiny Douglas.
    • Troupe Nat Phillips' Whirligigs.
    • Cast incl. Nat Phillips (Stiffy), Jack Kellaway ('Erb), Daisy Merritt, Al Mack, Jack Scott, Tom Collins, Dan M. Dunbar, Kitty Stewart, Winnie Edgerton, Grace Savieri; and the Radio Six.
    • Musicians Tiny's Varsity Boys (incl. Tiny Douglas on violin).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1917
      .
      Extent: 2p.p.
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: UQFL9
      Note:
      Incomplete: Character parts for The Sultan (2p) and unidentifed character from the station scene (2p).

Works about this Work

Vaudeville M. A. Keup , 1927 single work review
— Appears in: Just It , 6 October 1927; (p. 28)

— Review of In a Harem Nat Phillips , 1917 single work musical theatre
Bright Revue at Empire 1926 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 25 October 1926; (p. 19)

— Review of In a Harem Nat Phillips , 1917 single work musical theatre
Vaudeville M. A. Keup , 1927 single work review
— Appears in: Just It , 6 October 1927; (p. 28)

— Review of In a Harem Nat Phillips , 1917 single work musical theatre
Bright Revue at Empire 1926 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 25 October 1926; (p. 19)

— Review of In a Harem Nat Phillips , 1917 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 19 Jan 2017 16:30:36
X