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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

With no fewer than twenty-three principal performers in the cast, fourteen of whom played comedy characters, this 1917 Christmas pantomime was another hugely successful enterprise for the Fullers, running for upwards of 130 performances in Sydney and Melbourne over a four-month period.

The story concerns Robinson Crusoe, played as a distinctly bohemian character, who has returned after a ten-year incarceration on a lonely island. The incidents of the pantomime then centre on the voyage of the Pirate King to Rainbow Island, where there is an immense treasure to be had. One scene, which takes place during the voyage, involves the wrecking of Crusoe's boat by the Demon Octopus, thus giving him a chance to see the wonders under the ocean. The ship itself contains a variety of people, ranging from wowsers to adventurers. One of the features of the pantomime was the 'Globe of Death' act performed by the Staigs, which involved a motor cycle being ridden in all directions round and round the interior of a lattice-work globe.

The synopsis of scenes published in the Argus is Port of Hull, England; Road to the Seashore; Deck of the Pirate Ship; The Wreck; Beneath the Waves; The Demon's Grotto; Crusoe's Rainbow Island; Gates of Rainbowland (18 March 1917, p.7).

Notes

  • The principal boy role (traditionally played by a young woman) was undertaken in this production by Victor Prince, with Nellie Kolle taking on the lead support role of Will Atkins.

Production Details

  • 1917: Grand Opera House, Sydney, 24 December 1917 - 9 March 1918

    • Director Victor Prince; Producer Fullers' Theatres Ltd; Scenic Art Rege Robins.
    • Cast incl. Victor Prince (Robinson Crusoe), Nellie Kolle (Will Atkins), Nellie Fallon (Polly Perkins), Alice Sinclair (Fairy Queen of Rainbow Island), Olive Sinclair (Fairy Princess of Rainbowland), Lou Vernon (Demon Octopus), Charles Vaude (Friday/Joe Marlinspike), Will Verne (Saturday/Bill Tarrebreeches), Walter Cormack (Dame Crusoe), Billy Watson (Archibald Crusoe), Charles Zoli (Pirate King), Percy Clifton, Kennedy Black, Kelso Henderson (Demon Microbe), Ernest, Victor and Fred Paulesto, Mark Erickson, Harry Hart, George McNalty, Maud Fanning (Cannibal Queen), Dorothy Hastings (Prince Chromo, captain of the Rainbow Guards).
    • 112 performances.
    • Vaude and Verne, whose dual roles were still quite minor, were pulled from the pantomime by the Fullers after two weeks. They returned to vaudeville.
    • A second edition of the pantomime was produced from 16 February 1918 (after eighty-four performances of the first edition). The second edition introduced Maud Fanning's children, 'The Elliott Girls' (Violet, Mercia, and perhaps Daisy) in a specialty act, along with Cusko's Monkeys and the Staig Troupe.

    1918: Bijou Theatre, Melbourne ; 16 March - 12 April.

    • Cast and production mostly as for previous Sydney production.
    • Cast members indicated in Melbourne advertising (Age and Argus) but not identified in the Sydney Morning Herald are Billie Mavis, Winnie Trevail, Grace Quine, Dorrie Tointon, Letty Craydon, Elsie Stagpoole, E. Vernon, M. Gross, N. Gross, C. Taylor, N. McGuire, D. McGuire, B. Blackwell, and F. Sewell. A number of these performers may have been in the Sydney production.
    • It is unclear if Melbourne music director Fred Whaite was also involved in the Sydney production.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

'Robinson Crusoe' Pantomime 1918 single work review
— Appears in: The Argus , 18 March no. 22350 1918; (p. 7)

— Review of Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island Victor Prince , 1917 single work musical theatre
Opera House - 'Robinson Crusoe' 1917 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Morning Herald , 24 December 1917; (p. 5)

— Review of Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island Victor Prince , 1917 single work musical theatre
Music and Drama 1917 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 29 December 1917; (p. 9)

— Review of Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island Victor Prince , 1917 single work musical theatre
Music and Drama 1917 single work review
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 29 December 1917; (p. 9)

— Review of Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island Victor Prince , 1917 single work musical theatre
Opera House - 'Robinson Crusoe' 1917 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Morning Herald , 24 December 1917; (p. 5)

— Review of Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island Victor Prince , 1917 single work musical theatre
'Robinson Crusoe' Pantomime 1918 single work review
— Appears in: The Argus , 18 March no. 22350 1918; (p. 7)

— Review of Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island Victor Prince , 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 29 Apr 2014 12:17:39
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