Graphics, Image for Bedford, Paul J.: as <I>Saint George and the Dragon</I>
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Graphics, Image for Bedford, Paul J.: as Saint George and the Dragon
THE   ADELPHI   THEATRE   CALENDAR
A Record of Dramatic Performances at a Leading Victorian Theatre

Formerly the Sans Pareil (1806-1819), later the Adelphi (1819-1900)
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Title:Bedford, Paul J.: as Saint George and the Dragon
Description:Bedford, Paul J.: as Saint George and the Dragon by Gilbert A. à Beckett and Mark Lemon.  The Dragon (a national nuisance) was played by Paul J. Bedford.
1st Performance:Mar 24, 1845
Theatre:Adelphi
Source:The Illustrated London News, Feb 29, 1845, p. 204
Review:The Illustrated London News, Feb 29, 1845, p. 204

ADELPHI.

The ready pens of Messrs. Mark Lemon and Gilbert à Beckett, have furnished a very admirable burlesque to this theatre, "founded," as they assure us, "on a polite request from Madame Celeste," but taken from the old English chivalric legend of "St. George and the Dragon." Putting aside the clever notion worked out with great tact in the plot--that of making the dragon the impersonation of humbug--as well as the sparkling dialogue, which is crammed with jokes, puns, and allusions, the piece has been produced in the most gorgeous style: all the appliances are of first-rate excellence, and the extravaganza, good as it is in itself, has certainly received every adventitious aid from the spirited management.

St. George is performed by Miss Woolgar, a valuable actress in burlesque, where intelligence and perception of humour are required.  Mr. Wright is Almidor, a black monarch, paying court to the Princess Sabra (Miss Ellen Chaplin); Mr. Paul Bedford is "great" in all senses as the Dragon, and wears a dress, which is an ingenious compromise between a scaly monster's and a Newmarket "cut-away;" and Mr. Selby is a magnificent Ptolemy.

St. George undertakes the crusade against the Dragon, to win the hand of Sabra, and finally vanquishes him by the Press, which changes to the Spirit of Truth, ingeniously working out the notion above alluded to.

There are so many good things in this burlesque that it is very difficult to select some.  Possibly those which follow are amongst the best.

Cuimoth is dressing the hair of Kabyla, the enchantress:--

       Cui. (brushing KABYLA'S hair)
    Your hair, my lady's, getting rather dry,
    Some of the Russian balsam shall I try?
       Kab. Well, p'rhaps you may--yet no--upon the whole,
    Anything Russian's hurtful to the Pole;
    The very thought my nervous system shocks,
    O!  would that mine were like Chubb's--safety locks!
    Should I turn Grey, I'd bid the world good bye,
       Zon. If you turn grey, it would be time to dye.

A marriage contract:--

       Kab. Yon living charger I design for thee
    If you'll consent at once to marry me.
       St. Geo. I do consent so that you don't object
    To grant what modern husbands now expect.
       Kab. Of course, my love!  What may your wishes be?
       St. Geo. Oh!  a cigar in-doors, and a latch key!
       Kab. The former is a secondary matter,
    But there's a deal of mischief in the latter.
    Latch keys cause men without restraint to roam;
    For there's no knowing when they do get home.

The miseries of royalty:--

       Pto. Silence!  What!  can't my majesty walk out
    But after me you raise this horrid rout!
    Upon my daughter's nerves I'm sure it jars:
    The soldiers all seem bravos or hussars.
       Sab. You're right, papa; I dread the cannon's roar:
    ‘Tis the old dose, "the powder, as before,"
    A princess now, no matter if it suits her,
    Can't move, but some artillery man salutes her.

An insurance-office:--

       St. Geo. Is this the office?  yes, I'm pretty sure it is--
             [Seeing Dragon]
    Oh!  I beg pardon; do you buy securities?
       Dra. Why that depends on what they are, young man,
    I'm willing to do business if I can;
    For anything I'll give a price that's fair,
    From an old coat up to a Railway share!
       St. Geo. I've coal shares, sir, in the Talacre concern,
    Such coals you'll find, there regular bricks to burn.

The Portland Vase affair:--

       Pto. Off with the Dragon's head, its proper place
    Is the Museum, under a glass case.
       St. Geo. If as a curiosity they take it
    To the Museum, somebody may break it.

The piece entirely successful, and reflects great credit upon all parties concerned in its production.  The applause, when the curtain fell, was genuine and continuous; and Miss Woolgar, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Paul Bedford, were called for, and loudly welcomed by the audience.

Our illustration will be best accompanied by a quotation from the libretto:--

    St. Geo.The lady's hand sure prize enough will be--
                (about to take Sabra's hand)
    Alm.(interferes)
    Hollo!  young man, you'll take that after me.

    DUET.--ST. GEORGE AND ALMIDOR.

    St. Geo.

    I'll thank you to mention, if it's your intention,
       In that lady's affection my rival to be?
    For if it is sir, I'll only say this, sir,
       Consider you're horsewhipp'd this moment by me.

    Alm.

    ‘The lady has taste, sir, she'll ne'er be disgraced, sir,
       By wedding with one who's so horribly vain.
    So pray, sir, take warning, or else, some fine morning,
       ‘Twill be pistols for two, so don't do it again.

    Both.

    Don't, &c.

 

The Illustrated London News, Feb 29, 1845, p. 203

 

 

The Illustrated London News, Feb 29, 1845, p. 204

 



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Copyright © 1988, 1992, 2013 by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.
Originally published by Greenwood Press as The Sans Pareil Theatre 1806-1819, Adelphi Theatre 1819-1850: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers, 1988, and The Adelphi Theatre 1850-1900: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers and Management, 1992.
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The Adelphi Theatre Calendar revised, reconstructed and amplified.  Copyright © 2013, by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License, with the exception of graphics from The Clip Art Book, edited by Gerard Quinn and published by Crescent in 1990.  These images are reproduced in accord with the publisher’s note, which states "The Clip Art Book is a new compilation of illustrations that are in the public domain.  The individual illustrations are copyright free and may be reproduced without permission or payment.  However, the selection of illustrations and their layout is the copyright of the publisher, so that one page or more may not be photocopied or reproduced without first contacting the publishers."