Play List:

1. The Rath Boys

2. The Witchfinder

3. A Madcap Prince

4. Corinne

5. The Queen of Connaught

6. The Nine Days’ Queen

7. The Mormons

8. The Shadow of the Sword

9. Lucy Brandon

10. Storm-Beaten

11. Lady Clare

[Flowers of the Forest]

12. A Sailor and His Lass

13. Bachelors

14. Constance

15. Lottie

16. Agnes

17. Alone in London

18. Sophia

19. Fascination

20. The Blue Bells of Scotland

21. Partners

22. Joseph’s Sweetheart

23. That Doctor Cupid

24. Angelina!

25. The Old Home

26. A Man’s Shadow

27. Theodora

28. Man and the Woman

29. Clarissa

30. Miss Tomboy

31. The Bride of Love

32. Sweet Nancy

33. The English Rose

34. The Struggle for Life

35. The Sixth Commandment

36. Marmion

37. The Gifted Lady

38. The Trumpet Call

39. Squire Kate

40. The White Rose

41. The Lights of Home

42. The Black Domino

43. The Piper of Hamelin

44. The Charlatan

45. Dick Sheridan

46. A Society Butterfly

47. Lady Gladys

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown

49. The Romance of the Shopwalker

50. The Wanderer from Venus

51. The Mariners of England

52. Two Little Maids from School

53. When Knights Were Bold

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THEATRE REVIEWS

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown (1895)

 

The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown
by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe (Harriett Jay).
London: Vaudeville Theatre. 26 June to 5 October, 1895.
London: Terry’s Theatre. 7 October, 1895 to 8 February, 1896.
New York: Standard Theatre. 2 December, 1895 to 8 February, 1896.
Rotterdam. Tivoli Theatre. 25 December, 1895 (under the title, De lotgevallen van Juffrouw Trilbie).
Other performances:
London: Court Theatre. 23 September, 1901.

Novelisation: The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown by Harriett Jay (London: R. Buchanan, 1897).
In 1909 The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown was published in the series, French’s International Copyrighted Edition of the Works of the Best Authors, no. 163. Available at the Internet Archive.

A musical version, Tulip Time, was also produced in 1935 and had a successful run in London.

An adaptation of The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown by Peggy Ann Wood of the Rapier Players was produced at Bristol’s Little Theatre for two weeks beginning 23rd December, 1958, under the title, The Amazing Adventures of Miss Brown.

brownposter03

[Tour poster advertising The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, 1895.]

 

The Yorkshire Evening Post (20 April, 1895 - p.3)

     Miss Brown is the striking title of a new farcical comedy by Robert Buchanan and Henry Murray. The intention of the authors is to exploit it themselves in London.

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The Stage (6 June, 1895 - p.9)

     Referring to the vague paragraphs which have recently gone the round of the Press in regard to the plans of the Vaudeville, I am enabled to give you the true story. Mr. Weedon Grossmith, instead of going out of his way to give more or less uninteresting reasons for his decision, says frankly that his present play does not satisfy the box-office, and his new piece—concerning which he is not ready to give any detail for publication—not being ready, he has decided to close his season on Saturday, June 15, and has sub-let the theatre to Mr. Frederick Kerr, who will produce on Wednesday, the 19th, Robert Buchanan’s new farcical comedy Miss Brown, the existence of which I told you some weeks ago. Mr. Grossmith wishes it known that he has no intention of surrendering his lease, and will re-open later on with his new play. Meanwhile Mr. Henderson will, of course, remain in his present capacity during Mr. Kerr’s short season.
     In the cast of Miss Brown will be found, among others, Mr. F. Kerr, Mr. Lionel Brough, Mr. Gilbert Farquhar, Mr. Beauchamp; Misses May Palfrey, Gladys Homphrey, Esmé Beringer, Murray, Dudley, and M. A. Victor.

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The Dundee Courier (6, June 1895 - p.3)

     Mr Robert Buchanan will furnish the inaugural piece for the new management of the Vaudeville Theatre. It will take the form of a farcical comedy, in which Mr Lionel Brough, Mr John Beauchamp, and Mr Fred Kerr will appear in conjunction with Miss May Palfrey (Mrs Weedon Grossmith). Although Mr Buchanan has hitherto worked mainly as an adapter of Fielding’s and Richardson’s novels, his power as a sarcastic writer was shown in that mordant satire of the Ibsenian drama, “A Gifted Lady,” produced at the Avenue Theatre two years ago. The result is partly that plays “made in Norway” no longer arouse interest in London.

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The Sheffield Evening Telegraph and Star (12 June, 1895 - p.2)

missbrowncharley

The Dundee Evening Telegraph (13 June, 1895 - p.2)

     Mr Robert Buchanan’s name, which has not been since “The Charlatan” upon the bill of a London theatre, will shortly reappear attached to the new farcical comedy “Miss Brown,” which is to be produced at the Vaudeville about the middle of next week, with Mr Lionel Brough and Miss M. A. Victor in prominent parts. Mr Buchanan will shortly be seen in a new light as editor of a fresh monthly magazine devoted largely to literature and the stage.

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The Era (15 June, 1895)

     THE cast of Mr Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe’s new and original farcical play, The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, to be produced by Mr Frederick Kerr at the Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday next, is as follows:—Miss Romney, Miss M. A. Victor; Angela Brightwell, Miss May Palfrey; Euphemia Schwartz, Miss Esme Beringer; Matilda Jones, Miss Daisy Brough; Millicent Loveridge, Miss Ethel Watson; Clara Loveridge, Miss Grace Dudley; Mrs O’Gallagher, Miss Gladys Homfrey; Emma, Miss Marion Murray; Major O’Gallagher, Mr John Beauchamp; Private Docherty, Mr L. Power; Herr Von Moser, Mr Robb Harwood; Mr Hibbertson, Mr Gilbert Farquhar; Sergeant Tanner, Mr Lionel Brough; and Captain Courtenay, Mr Frederick Kerr. In the first act Miss Brown makes an unexpected appearance at Major O’Gallagher’s quarters, Chelmsford; in the second she is guilty of most unladylike behaviour at Miss Romney’s Academy, Cicero House, Chichester; and in the third she makes a most astounding confession and departs for ever from Cicero House. The business management of the theatre will be in the hands of Mr A. F. Henderson.

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The Daily News (15 June, 1895 - p.5)

     Mr. Frederick Kerr’s season at the Vaudeville will commence on Thursday evening next with a new and original farcical play in three acts, describing “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown.” The authors, Mr. Robert Buchanan and Mr. Charles Marlowe, label their acts respectively “The Wedding,” “The Honeymoon,” and “Amazing Apotheosis of Miss Brown.” After the fashion of Fielding and Cervantes, they also provide each division of their work with a brief synopsis or “argument,” thus: “Act I. In which Miss Brown makes an unexpected appearance at Major O’Gallagher’s Quarters, Chelmsford.” “Act II. In which Miss Brown is guilty of most unladylike behaviour at Miss Romney’s Academy, Cicero House, Colchester;” and “Act III. In which Miss Brown makes an astounding confession, and departs for ever from Cicero House.” The circumstance that no “Miss Brown” figures in the list of personages is probably to be explained by the fact that “Miss Brown” is only an assumed name. The leading parts will be played by Miss M. A. Victor, Mr. Lionel Brough, Mr. John Beauchamp, Mr. Frederick Kerr, Miss Mary Palfrey, and Miss Esmé Beringer.

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The Daily News (21 June, 1895 - p.5)

     As already noted in our columns, Mr. Frederick Kerr was to have opened the Vaudeville Theatre last night with an original farcical comedy entitled “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” by Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe. Unfortunately yesterday morning it was found to be imperatively necessary to postpone the new play, Mr. Kerr being afflicted with a total loss of voice consequent upon a severe cold.

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The Newcastle Courant (22 June, 1895 - p.5)

stateofplays

The Times (27 June, 1895 - p.6)

VAUDEVILLE THEATRE.

     The humour of Charley’s Aunt has proved contagious. Another young gentleman is now masquerading in women’s clothes on the stage: for this is the theme of The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, given last night at the Vaudeville at the instance of Mr. Robert Buchanan and Mr. Charles Marlowe. It is a theme necessarily bordering upon the vulgar or the risky, but it is handled by the authors, and by the false “Miss Brown” herself—namely, Mr. Frederick Kerr—with sufficient tact to pass muster; and the cordiality of its reception by the first-night public augurs a successful run for the piece. Among the young ladies attending a select boarding establishment is a certain ward in Chancery who has profited by some laxity of discipline to get married to a gallant captain in the Army. The escapade is almost immediately discovered, and Miss Angela—for such is the young lady’s name—brought back to school. The Lord Chancellor, however, has to be reckoned with, and a Scotland-yard detective is deputed to arrest the male offender. Meanwhile, the captain, with the connivance of a brother officer, makes up in female attire as “Miss Brown,” and obtains admission to the establishment as a boarder also, in order to be near his bride and to plan an escape for both. It is at this juncture that the somewhat broad fun of the piece attains its maximum. Mr. Kerr, who has the interim management of the theatre, adopts as his rather transparent disguise a ludicrous short-skirted school frock, with a sailor hat and a flaming head of red hair, and his movements are a source of continued merriment to the house. Although the bride has no difficulty in penetrating the secret, the other young ladies, together with the detective, are deceived, and even the lady principal of the school observes nothing amiss with the new pupil except that she is a little gauche. Eventually the nocturnal escape is planned, and so far carried out that both the detective and an amorous German music-master, who is on the watch to protect his favourite pupil, are overpowered in a scrimmage which brings all the inmates of the school upon the scene, with candles and in their night-dresses. In the third and last act the terrible “Miss Brown,” who has done prodigies of athleticism, is brought back to the school handcuffed but still undetected as to her sex, the charge being that of aiding and abetting the bride to escape; and when at last the dread discovery is made that “Miss Brown’s” box is full of male clothing, and that she is in truth the captain in disguise, it is reported that she or he has just succeeded to a peerage—a circumstance which it is thought will mollify the Lord Chancellor, and which consequently allows of a happy ending. Mr. Kerr’s disguise is humorous enough to dispense him from saying much, which is fortunate, seeing that he is quite unable to adapt his voice to the situation; but there is otherwise an abundance of dialogue, which, if not as polished as one might expect in a piece to which Mr. Buchanan had put his name, is at least on a level with the subject. Miss May Palfrey makes a bright and engaging bride, and the piece enjoys the services, further, of Mr. Lionel Brough as the detective; Miss M. A. Victor as the lady principal; Miss Esmé Beringer as an amorous pupil who unaccountably takes to the companionship of “Miss Brown,” thereby arousing the bride’s jealousy; Mr. Beauchamp as the brother officer; and Mr. Gilbert Farquhar as an elderly solicitor.

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The Morning Post (27 June, 1895 - p.3)

VAUDEVILLE THEATRE.
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     In “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” produced last night under the interim management of Mr. Frederick Kerr, Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, the authors, have presented us with a “farcical play” simple alike in plot and in humour. Captain Courtenay, a young officer of the Lancers, has fallen in love with and proposed to Angela Brightwell, a ward in Chancery and an inmate of Miss Romney’s boarding-school for young ladies. One day Angela eludes her teacher’s vigilance, and, with the aid of her uncle, Major O’Gallagher, gets married to Courtenay. Miss Romney and her legal adviser are, however, upon their track, and it is found advisable for the girl to return to Miss Romney’s establishment, the Captain having meanwhile, to escape detection, donned feminine attire, assumed the personality of a pseudo niece of O’Gallagher, and taken the name of Brown. Under that name and guise he is introduced into the school as a pupil, and then and there arranges to carry off his wife. Angela’s guardian has, however, called in the assistance of the law, and a detective from Scotland-yard spends the night at the school in order to ensnare and capture the captain. As it happens, Angela gets safe away, but the captain, in the character of Miss Brown, is caught by the detective, handcuffed, and brought back to the school. In the meantime, through the death of a relative, Courtenay has succeeded to a title and estates, and when the curtain falls it is understood that Angela’s guardian will regard her accession to the rank of Countess as excusing her defiance of legal enactments and requirements. Nothing could be clearer or more intelligible than all this, and though it is evolved without special ingenuity or comicality, it gave evident pleasure last night to a crowded audience. The authors were duly called, but it was announced that they were not in the house. The rôle of Captain Courtenay had been sustained by Mr. Kerr, who was more happy in his masculine than in his feminine habiliments. It cannot, in truth, be said that he looked the school-girl to the life; it is, indeed, doubtful whether in that guise he could have deceived anybody, male or female, for a moment. Much more successful was Miss May Palfrey, as Angela, in exciting the sympathy and approbation of the public; she played throughout with vivacity and aplomb, and infused spirit into every scene in which she appeared. Mr. Beauchamp made of the Major an effective character-sketch. Miss Gladys Homfrey was no less admirable in the smaller part of his wife, and Mr. Lionel Brough furnished a delightful portrait of a detective who thinks himself much more knowing than he is. The Miss Romney of Miss Victor and the solicitor of Mr. Gilbert Farquhar were excellent conceptions excellently carried out. Mr. Robb Harwood assigned individuality to a German music writer, in love with Angela, and Miss Esmé Beringer, as a hot-headed young foreigner who “takes” to the supposed Miss Brown showed once more how considerable is her versatility. The piece, in fact, has every justice done to it both as regards the acting and the scenic setting.

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The Standard (27 June, 1895 - p.3)

VAUDEVILLE THEATRE.
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     When applied to a theatrical production, the words “new and original” may mean anything or nothing. The formula is used by Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe to describe a farce brought out at the Vaudeville last night under the title of The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown; but, in truth, the only novelty or originality consists in the idea of mixing together three well-known pieces, and with the aid of one or two notions borrowed from French farces that have not yet come to London—the situation at the end of the second act, for instance—presenting the conglomeration with a fresh name. The success of Charley’s Aunt has, doubtless, led to the invention of Miss Brown. The authors have drawn liberally upon The New Boy, and they have freely helped themselves to the libretto of Messrs. Conan Doyle and  J. M. Barrie’s Savoy opera, Jane Annie; and the result is set forth as new and original. The man who disguises himself in petticoats after the fashion of the hero of Mr. Brandon Thomas’s play is a Captain of Lancers; he goes to school, as the New Boy did in Mr. Law’s play, and there are attempts at abduction, alarums and excursions, as in the play of Messrs. Doyle and Barrie, the scene of which was also a girls’ school. It will be perceived that the authors cannot be congratulated on their imagination. Courtenay, the Captain of Lancers, has married a ward in Chancery—Mr. W. S. Gilbert, by the way, has dealt with the pains and penalties attaching to the offence—and is supposed to be in terror of the police, for a Sergeant invades the barracks, and treats the Major in command in a style that has no relation to real life. The bride is taken back to her school, and Courtenay, in female attire, goes to join her (the “new girl” instead of the “new boy”), instigated and supported by the Major, who is an Irishman, for no ascertainable reason except that it is customary to have Irishmen in farces. It has been so, indeed, for a century and more, notwithstanding the fact that for the last half of that period everyone has quite understood that the appearance of an Irishman when there is no motive for his nationality (as here) is a tacit admission that the author hopes by the employment of brogue to atone for the lack of wit.
     Mr. Frederick Kerr, the temporary manager of the theatre, plays Courtenay, and creates much laughter by his proceedings when in feminine attire, passing as Miss Brown. Mr. Lionel Brough does all that is possible as the policeman who suddenly appears to arrest Courtenay. Mr. Brough is a sterling comedian, and misses no chance of effect, but his Sergeant is so far removed from possibilities by the authors that the actor’s task is a hard one. Miss May Palfrey plays prettily as the runaway bride, and sound assistance is rendered by Mr. Robb Harwood as Herr von Moser, an amorous music master; Mr. Gilbert Farquhar as Hibbertson, a solicitor; Mr. J. Beauchamp as Major O’Gallagher; Miss M. A. Victor as the schoolmistress; Miss Gladys Homfrey as Mrs. O’Gallagher; and Miss Esmé Beringer as a romantic school girl. It should, perhaps, be added that the audience not only overlooked the manifold plagiarisms, but laughed at and applauded the pot pourri.

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St. James’s Gazette (27 June, 1895 - p.12)

VAUDEVILLE THEATRE.

MR. FRED KERR, the latest addition to the ever-growing and, it might be added, constantly diminishing number of London managers, has apparently the courage of his opinions. Dissolution may be in the air, the end of the season within easy distance, the weather at melting-point; but despite these untoward circumstances he boldly undertakes the production of a new piece upon the success of which he does not hesitate to stake his fortunes. And if subsequent audiences prove as enthusiastic as last night’s public at the Vaudeville, Mr. Kerr will certainly have no cause to regret his rashness. Farces more consistently amusing than “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” have, perhaps, been seen; but this is not to say that Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe’s piece did not deserve the hearty reception accorded to it. The initial idea is sufficiently droll, if a trifle risky and not altogether novel. For “Miss Brown” is only too obviously a near relation of “Charley’s Aunt,” and may also claim as close connections “The Magistrate,” “Pickwick,” and other more or less celebrated characters. The authors, notwithstanding, have succeeded, after their patchwork fashion, in putting together a fairly ingenious and amusing piece, containing some really humorous ideas, and some that are not humorous. An exhaustive analysis would probably reveal that the latter are somewhat more numerous than the former; but, without entering upon such an invidious measure, it is sufficient to say that the whole provides a bright and exhilarating evening’s entertainment. The mere suggestion of a dashing cavalry officer, attired in girl’s clothes, forcing his way into a young ladies’ seminary and engaging the confidence of one of its inmates, has a certain unpalatable flavour about it. So discreetly, however, have the authors handled the subject that none need fear to find any offence in their manner of treatment. Be it said, also, that their hero, Captain Courtenay, has abundant justification for the step, inasmuch as he is bent upon rescuing his newly-made bride from the clutches of her jealous guardians. How he is pounced upon by a modernized Dogberry, how he breaks away only to be brought back ignominiously, and how finally he is permitted to take his pretty little wife to his arms, will be found by the curious duly set forth in “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown.” For the interpretation of the story, Mr. Kerr, who is far too shrewd not to appreciate the importance of a capable cast, has got together an excellent company, whose bustling performance would alone justify a visit to the Vaudeville. Of its member, although the part assigned to her is comparatively a small one, we are disposed to give a prominent place to Miss Esme Beringer. By dint of hard work and natural intelligence, this young actress has won her way with exceptional rapidity to the front, and her acting last night fully confirms the impression created on previous occasions, that in her we have one of the most promising leading ladies of the future. Miss Beringer has a sweet and resonant voice; her cleverness is undeniable, and she thoroughly understands how to make her points. The two things she has to guard against at present are an excess of energy and a tendency towards over-expression. But these slight defects excepted, she possesses all the qualities required to make a fine emotional actress. As a muddle-headed Scotland-yard officer Mr. Lionel Brough, by his drily humorous manner, scored one of the chief successes of the evening; while Mr. Fred Kerr, as the supposititious Miss Brown, played with all necessary tact and discretion. Miss May Palfrey made so bright and charming a Ward in Chancery that even the most hard-hearted Lord Chancellor might have excused Captain Courtenay for running away with her. To Miss M. A. Victor, Miss Gladys Homfrey, Mr. J. Beauchamp, Mr. Robb Harwood (altogether admirable in a small character-part), and Mr. G. Farquhar, every credit is also due for their effective performances. In the absence of the authors, Mr. Kerr, appearing before the curtain, undertook to convey to them the gratifying news of the cordial reception given to their piece.

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The Guardian (27 June, 1895 - p.7)

     “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” produced this evening at the Vaudeville Theatre, is an attempt by Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe to “go one better” than “Charley’s Aunt.” Captain Courtenay, a cavalry officer, has married a ward in Chancery, but the minions of the law have got on his track on the very day of the wedding, and he has been obliged to disguise himself in female attire in order to elude them. The bride is sent back to the boarding school from which she has run away, and the success of the gallant captain’s disguise suggests the idea that he should assume it once more in order to rejoin his wife in the seclusion of Cicero House and carry her off therefrom. The style of situation which results from this imbroglio may readily be divined. The authors have steered tolerably clear of the offensive possibilities of such a theme, but on the other hand they have shown very little invention in the development of their idea. The audience, however, was in excellent humour, and laughed and applauded liberally. Mr. Fred Kerr, who has taken over the management of the theatre, played the supposed Miss Brown; Miss May Palfrey was very bright as the schoolgirl bride; Mr. Lionel Brough was good as an idiotic detective; and other parts were cleverly played by Mr. Beauchamp, Miss Gladys Homfrey, and Miss Esmé Beringer.

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The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser (27 June, 1895 - p.5)

     The warm greeting given to the new comedy, “The Strange Adventures of Mrs. Brown,” this evening, at the Vaudeville Theatre, was, I fancy, as much intended to mark the return of a popular author to stage work as a recognition of particular merit in the piece, which is an audacious farce, risky in tone, yet clever and extremely amusing throughout. Mr. Robert Buchanan has done very much better work, and the broadly farcical character of this production has not the merit of being sustained, for interest languishes considerably during the last act. The nature of the piece may be gathered from the fact that the amusement is derived from the presence of a handsome cavalry officer in a young ladies’ school, masquerading in female attire in order to be near a ward in Chancery whom he has secretly married.

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The Dundee Courier (28 June, 1895 - p.3)

     “Charley’s Aunt” has found a promising rival in “Miss Brown.” “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” is the title of a three-act farce by Robert Buchanan, which I attended upon its production last night at the Vaudeville. The theatre so famous in connection with the four years’ run of “Our Boys” has been taken for this play by Mr Fred Kerr, who is even more unique as a comedian than Mr Penley. Miss Brown is really a young cavalry officer, who, having married a schoolgirl, a ward in Chancery, visits his wife at her school himself dressed as a new lady border. The complications, aided by an Irish major of Dragoons, and with Lionel Brough as a detective from Scotland Yard, are delightfully diverting.

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The Era (29 June, 1895 - p.8)

     EVERYBODY knows Miss Schwartz in Vanity Fair; therefore Miss Schwartz in Vanity Fair is known to Mr Robert Buchanan and Mr Charles Marlow—or Mrs or Miss Charles Marlow, for sexes are not always what they seem, and to the public “Charles Marlow” is but the shadow of a name. No one can blame the newer authors for having taken a hint—even an entire personage—from the older; but why this needless candour? A name must be a simple thing for a writer of Mr Buchanan’s fertility to invent. The lady’s comely blackness might, with no great effort, have been suggested by some other means as simple and direct even as the employment of a German adjective for her surname.

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(p.9)

STRANGE ADVENTURES OF MISS BROWN.
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A New and Original Farcical Play, in Three Acts,
by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe,
Produced at the Vaudeville Theatre, on Wednesday, June 26th.

Miss Romney    ....................     Miss M. A. VICTOR
Angela Brightwell  ..................    Miss MAY PALFREY
Euphemia Schwartz  ...............     Miss ESME BERINGER
Matilda Jones      ....................    Miss DAISY BROUGH
Millicent Loveridge  ................    Miss JAY HOLFORD
Clara Loveridge  ....................     Miss GRACE DUDLEY
Mrs O’Gallagher  ...................    Miss GLADYS HOMFREY
Emma                 ....................     Miss MARION MURRAY
Major O’Gallagher  ................     Mr J. BEAUCHAMP
Private Docherty   ...................     Mr POWER
Herr von Moser   ...................    Mr ROBB HARWOOD
Mr Hibbertson      ...................     Mr GILBERT FARQUHAR
Sergeant Tanner  ...................    Mr LIONEL BROUGH
Captain Courtenay .................    Mr FREDERICK KERR

     To say that The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown “proved acceptable” at the Vaudeville Theatre on Wednesday night is to exactly describe the impression produced. We have had, of late, rather a glut of serious plays; and a sad tale saddens doubly when it—the weather, not the narrative—is warm. We turned on Wednesday with cheerful alacrity and a certain feeling of relief to Messrs Buchanan and Marlowe’s adroit concoction, with its good, old-fashioned farcical business, its irresistible frivolity, and its pretty young ladies in creamy attire well suited to the prevailing temperature, and suggestive of an airy coolness much to be desired. Pleasing mystery is ever present to lend piquancy to scenes in the interior of a young ladies’ school, and what with the excellent acting, and the never-flagging if not particularly novel fun, we confess to spending a pleasantly hilarious evening with Miss Brown. This is the story:—A certain impulsive damsel named Angela Brightwell runs away from school to marry one Captain Courtenay, of the 41st Lancers, aided and abetted thereto by Major and Mrs O’Gallagher, at whose quarters the wedding breakfast takes place. In the middle of it Miss Angela’s school mistress, Miss Romney, arrives in pursuit of the fugitive, accompanied by Mr Hibbertson, a solicitor, and Sergeant Tanner, a detective from Scotland-yard—for Miss Brightwell is a ward in Chancery, and Captain Courtenay by wedding her has put himself within reach of his country’s laws. In order to escape capture by the police, he dresses up in the clothes of and is introduced to the detective as an imaginary “Miss Brown,” the Major’s niece. In the second act, which takes place at “Cicero Academy,” Courtenay, still in the disguise of “Miss Brown,” is left by the Major as a pupil at the school, and it is arranged that he shall elope with Angela that same evening. Tanner, who is on the premises, prepares for an attack from outside, and makes himself comfortable in an apartment communicating with the garden of the school through a conservatory. Now the music-master of the establishment, one Von Moser—no relation to the celebrated German dramatist—is watching in the garden outside, for he has conceived a violent passion for Angela, and is determined to prevent her loving husband from carrying her off. When “Miss Brown” and Angela come down into the sitting-room at eleven p.m. they find Tanner there, put him off his guard by their simple blandishments, and finally succeed in getting him to lock a pair of handcuffs on his wrists. They then turn out the lights, and escape in the confusion caused by the irruption of the young ladies and their preceptress in their nocturnal costumes.
     In making his escape Courtenay engaged in a desperate struggle with the music-master, and maltreated him severely. The Captain was pursued by Tanner, and finally captured, and is brought back to Cicero House in the third act, dishevelled and mud-splashed. The misunderstanding is kept up for some time longer, and then the dénouement is done by the arrival of the news that Courtenay’s cousin, an Earl, is dead; and that the Captain has succeeded to the title. In these circumstances the objections of Angela’s guardians to the match are withdrawn; and Courtenay, having cast away feminine disguise, appears once more in male attire, and leads away his bride.
     The farce had the advantage of being admirably acted by a remarkably good all-round cast. It is difficult to imagine a better representative of the rôle of Miss Romney than Miss M. A. Victor, who looked superbly proper in black silk and white lace, and bore herself with all the grace and dignity possible. Miss May Palfrey’s peculiarly fascinating personality and style were once more displayed in the part of Angela Brightwell; and she played it throughout with charming naturalness and impulsive vivacity. Miss Esme Beringer deserves very warm praise for her performance as Miss Euphemia Schwartz—Messrs Buchanan and Marlowe have evidently been reading “Vanity Fair”—a young lady from Demerara. She looked the part extremely well; and played it with excellent taste and discretion. Miss Daisy Brough was quietly comical as Matilda Jones; and Miss Gladys Homfrey made a genial, hearty, and agreeable Mrs O’Gallagher. Mr J. Beauchamp infused into his representation of Major O’Gallagher a vast amount of sly and roguish humour, and his performance was smart, vigorous, and alert throughout. Mr Power made the most of the small part of Private Docherty, and Mr Robb Harwood won a round of hearty applause by the burlesque vigour of his acting in the scene in which Von Moser, with broken head, cut face, and arm in a sling, persists in loudly proclaiming his love for Angela. Mr Gilbert Farquhar endowed Mr Hibbertson with all the necessary solidity and self-importance, and Mr Lionel Brough’s Sergeant Tanner was an impersonation to be remembered for its dry, irresistible drollery. Mr Brough’s depiction of the heavy, conscientious, and obstinate detective was most artistic; and contributed not a little to the illusion and to the success of the piece. Mr Frederick Kerr, as Captain Courtenay, was gentlemanlike and natural in the first act; and in the attire of “Miss Brown” was quietly and intensely amusing without any offensive and unnecessary exaggeration. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown was warmly received; and Mr Kerr, appearing in the serge suit of Captain Courtenay, briefly thanked the audience for their kind reception of the play, and promised to convey the verdict to its authors. Everyone will be pleased if the popular actor’s experiment as a manager, so bravely tried at a time of torrid heat, should prove successful. We fancy a good deal more might be done, by a judicious arrangement of doors, to keep the auditorium of the Vaudeville as cool during the performance of the farce as it was on Wednesday at the commencement, when, to an audience of early comers, was played, as a lever de rideau, Mrs Hugh Bell’s comedietta entitled

“BETWEEN THE POSTS.”

Geoffrey Warburton ..........     Mr JOHN BUCKSTONE
Edith Neville            ..........     Miss MEASOR
Lucy                         ..........    Miss GRACE DUDLEY

How Mrs Bell’s play in French called L’Indécis was produced at the Royalty Theatre in the November of 1887, how it was adapted into English by her under the title of Between the Posts, and how a version by Mr G. W. Godfrey called The Man that Hesitates was performed at the St. George’s Hall in the February of 1889 need not be here retold. The interest in connection with the revival at the Vaudeville last Wednesday grew out of the appearance of Miss Measor, a charming actress who has been too long absent from the English stage, though what has been England’s loss has been Australia’s gain. She sustained the character of Edith Neville with her wonted delicacy, tact , and fine finish; and an effective contrast to her agreeable impersonation was the Geoffrey Warburton of Mr John Buckstone, which was a sound, careful, and humorous bit of acting. The little piece was evidently much enjoyed. Laughter was hearty and frequent during its representation; and Mr Kerr deserves the gratitude of the pit and gallery for supplying them with such a capital curtain-raiser.

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From The Theatrical ‘World’ of 1895 by William Archer (London: Walter Scott, Ltd., 1896 - p.233)

“MISS BROWN.”

                                                                                                                                                       3rd July.

     The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, a farce by Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, produced at the Vaudeville last week, amused the audience hugely, and in so far fulfilled its purposes. It is an ingenuous attempt to run Charlie's Aunt and The New Boy into one; but it is not nearly so clever as either of these farces, and quite as vulgar as both of them together. Still, as aforesaid, it went merrily enough, thanks to the bright acting of Miss May Palfrey and Miss Esme Beringer, and the red wig of Mr. Frederick Kerr. Mr. Kerr’s character called for no art whatever, except that of looking foolish—a task in which he succeeded to admiration. Mr. Lionel Brough, Mr. John Beauchamp, and Miss Gladys Homfrey also contributed to the success of the production.

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Black and White (6 July, 1895 - p.16)

THE LONDON THEATRES.
_____

     The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, by Mr. Robert Buchanan and Mr. Charles Marlowe, produced at the Vaudeville, is an amusing trifle of the Charley’s Aunt order which bids fair to win popularity. Of course, the theme of a young man masquerading in woman’s clothes comes perilously near the vulgar; but in this piece, as in its prototype, actual contact with it is avoided. Miss May Palfrey, Miss Esmé Beringer and Miss M. A. Victor act with grace and spirit. Mr. Frederick Kerr is extremely amusing as the false “Miss Brown,” and his representation is accompanied by a constant ripple of laughter. Other parts are capitally portrayed by Mr. Lionel Brough, Mr. Beauchamp and Mr.Gilbert Farquhar.

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The Sketch (17 July, 1895)

“THE STRANGE ADVENTURES O|F MISS BROWN,” AT THE VAUDEVILLE.

The curiously named play, by Mr. Robert Buchanan and Mr. Charles Marlowe, produced at the Vaudeville on June 26, has caught so much favour of the public that it seems not unlikely to survive even the theatrical disaster in shape of a General Election that threatened it. Certainly, if laughter of the audience be test of the merits of a farce, “Miss Brown” is a capital work, and surely, save when the laughter comes from unseemly humours, it is the true test. No one can pretend that Miss brown is a shocling young lady; and though she and the other characters are very old friends, their welome is warm. The acting, of course, plays a great part in the success. Mr. Fred Kerr is perhaps less funny than is conceivable as the masquerading officer: nevertheless, he is amusing; and Miss May Palfrey, as his energetic bride, shows unexpected talent as an actress. Miss Esmé Beringer makes, perhaps, the hit of the evening by her charming, clever work. Mr. Lal brough, of course, excites roars of laughter as a thick-headed detective, and Mr. Robb Harwood, though his dialect is fantastic, once more shows himself to be a character-actor of great skill. Here is the cast—

Miss Romney    ...    ...    ...      Miss M. A. VICTOR.
Angela Brightwell      ...    ...      Miss MAY PALFREY.
Euphemia Schwartz    ...     ...     Miss ESME BERINGER.
Matilda Jones      .     ...    ...      Miss DAISY BROUGH.
Millicent Loveridge    ...    ...      Miss JAY HOLFORD.
Clara Loveridge        ...    ...      Miss GRACE DUDLEY.
Mrs O’Gallagher          ...     ...   Miss GLADYS HOMFREY.
Emma                         ...     ...     Miss MARION MURRAY.
Major O’Gallagher    ...    ...      Mr J. BEAUCHAMP.
Private Docherty         ...     ...     Mr POWER.
Herr von Moser         ...    ...    Mr ROBB HARWOOD.
Mr Hibbertson            ...     ...     Mr GILBERT FARQUHAR.
Sergeant Tanner          ...     ...     Mr LIONEL BROUGH.
Captain Courtenay      ...     ...     Mr FREDERICK KERR.

missbrownsketchlt

[Review and photos from The Sketch (17 July, 1895). Click the picture for a larger image.]

 

The Bury and Norwich Post and Suffolk Standard (23 July, 1895 - p.7)

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The Theatre (1 August, 1895)

THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF MISS BROWN.

A Farcical Play, in Three Acts, by ROBERT BUCHANAN and CHARLES MARLOWE. Produced at the
Vaudeville, June 27.

Miss Romney            ...   Miss M. A. VICTOR.
Angela Brightwell      ...   Miss MAY PALFREY.
Euphemia Schwartz  ...  Miss ESME BERINGER.
Matilda Jones            ...   Miss DAISY BROUGH.
Millicent Loveridge    ...   Miss JAY HOLFORD.
Clara Loveridge        ...   Miss GRACE DUDLEY.
Mrs O’Gallagher      ...  Miss GLADYS HOMFREY.

Emma                     ...  Miss MARION MURRAY.
Major O’Gallagher  ...  Mr J. BEAUCHAMP.
Private Docherty       ...   Mr POWER.
Herr von Moser       ...   Mr ROBB HARWOOD.
Mr Hibbertson          ...   Mr GILBERT FARQUHAR.
Sergeant Tanner        ...   Mr LIONEL BROUGH.
Captain Courtenay    ...   Mr FREDERICK KERR.

     The easiest and most comprehensive manner of describing Miss Brown is to say that the piece is fairly amusing. The fact is more than sufficient to secure for it the favour of a laughter-loving public, and the authors consequently may rely upon reaping a reward altogether disproportionate to the labour they have expended on their work. For, truth to tell, neither in the matter of originality nor of wit have they been too prodigal. Where invention failed, however, memory has come to the rescue, while any lack of humour is fully counterbalanced by a plentiful supply of horseplay. The result is more or less of a dramatic hotch-potch, in which one is continually encountering savoury little scraps conveyed by the purveyors from sources familiar to every playgoer. At one moment we have a suggestion of Don Juan, at another The Magistrate is recalled, while at every turn the unmistakable influence of Charley’s Aunt can be detected. This the merest sketch of the plot will serve to show. Captain Courtenay, a dashing young cavalry officer, has married Angela Brightwell, a ward in chancery, without first obtaining the necessary permission. Nemesis, in the shape of a fussy little solicitor and a muddle-headed detective, follows swiftly upon his track, and in order to elude those representatives of the law Courtenay shaves off his moustache and appears in the dress of a schoolgirl. So attired, he contrives to penetrate into Miss Romney’s academy, where his bride is held prisoner, with results which can easily be imagined. The situation is as old as the hills, and at this time of day hardly offers scope for anything like novel treatment. As it happens, the authors of Miss Brown have been content to take things as they found them, on the principle, doubtless, that what served to make our fathers and grandfathers laugh can scarcely fail to provoke merriment in a later generation. Frankly, however, they might have been at the pains to supply a last act a trifle more ingenious in construction and convincing in dénouement. But the average farce-writer is seldom too particular about the final unravelling of the various threads of his plot, preferring to cut the Gordian knot at one stroke, and in this respect Messrs. Buchanan and Marlowe are no better or worse than the majority of their fellow-workmen. In fairness it should be said that much of the success obtained by their piece on its first performance was due to the admirable interpretation given it by an excellent company. In selecting the title-part for himself, Mr. Fred Kerr, who has temporarily assumed the management of the Vaudeville, showed a degree of self-abnegation somewhat unusual in the actor-manager, for certainly no one could describe Captain Courtenay as a star part. With commendable tact and discretion, Mr. Kerr succeeded, however, in avoiding the dangers which invariably attend the appearance on the stage of a man in woman’s clothes. As Euphemia Schwartz, one of the schoolgirls, Miss Esmé Beringer gave a performance of remarkable merit, which proved conclusively that in Miss Beringer we have an actress who, given the opportunity, is capable of rising to a very high level. Let us hope that she will speedily be afforded the chance of showing what she can do with a really strong emotional part. Miss May Palfrey made a delightfully fresh and piquant bride; while, needless to say, Miss M. A. Victor and Mr. Lionel Brough extracted every ounce of fun from the characters assigned them. To the remaining members of the cast nothing but praise is due.

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The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent (26 August, 1895 - p.5)

     “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” is having a very successful run at the Vaudeville Theatre. It is a farcical comedy, in the construction of which Mr. Robert Buchanan has had a share. It brims over with real fun; the dialogue is intensely witty; the situations comical in the extreme. This effect is brought about without vulgarity and without boisterous horse-play; and the piece impresses the spectator throughout by its novelty. The “Vaudeville” is only a small house, but it is extremely comfortable and convenient for London visitors staying in the West End. Mr. G. Hollingshead, manager, has scored a big success in “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown.”

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The Glasgow Herald (8 October, 1895 - p.7)

     AS the Vaudeville is now required for Mr Weedon Grossmith’s new farcical comedy, Mr Robert Buchanan’s “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” which has been running since last June, was to-night transferred to Terry’s Theatre. I have already given an account of this amusing piece, the success of which at the outset was in great part due to the admirable acting of Mr Kerr and Miss Palfrey, as the young husband and wife. Miss Palfrey, however, is now required for her husband’s enterprise, and she was to-night succeeded by Miss Eva Moore, who, though not in any way imitating her predecessor, gave an excellent representation of the character in which she makes a special mark. There seems no reason why this laughter-provoking, though highly improbable, farcical comedy, should not attain a satisfactory run in its new quarters.

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The Standard (8 October, 1895 - p.3)

     TERRY’S THEATRE.—That amusing, if somewhat slight and flimsy, farcical comedy, The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, by Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, which was produced at the Vaudeville on the 26th June last, sufficiently satisfied a section of the public to justify its removal to the little house on the other side of the  Strand, where it was played for the first time yesterday evening. Wards in Chancery, surreptitiously married to the men of their choice, have ever figured largely in novels and plays with either serious or humorous purpose, and the only weak spot in the present piece is that the deception practised on the highly-respectable governess of the young ladies’ seminary known as Cicero House, the female pupils themselves, and the police-officer from Scotland-yard, is too transparent, for Mr. F. Kerr, excellent actor that he is, could not possibly pass for a female, and his clever impersonation is not sufficiently a delusion, even for stage purposes. Some changes have been made in the cast, though not to the disadvantage of the interpretation. Miss Eva Moore is charming as the schoolgirl heroine; and Miss M. A. Victor, as the mistress of the establishment; Mr. Herbert Standing, as the detective; Mr. Robb Harwood, as the German music master, Herr von Moser; and Miss Adela Measor, Miss Rosina Filippi, and Mr. Arthur Playfair contribute to the general efficiency of the performance.

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The Stage (10 October, 1895 - p.12)

LONDON THEATRES

TERRY’S.

     On Saturday The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown was transferred from the Vaudeville to this theatre, where it was presented before a well-filled house. Some alteration in the cast has taken place since the initial performance of Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe’s farce, which now goes as merrily as ever. Miss Eva Moore now plays the runaway schoolgirl, Angela Brightwell, so charmingly as to quite captivate the audience. As Euphemia Schwartz Miss Adela Measor, too, is well suited, and her portrayal is distinctly good. Nothing but praise can be given to Miss Rosina Filippi for her clever and smart performance of Mrs. O’Gallagher. Mr. Arthur Playfair now appears as the Irishman, Major O’Gallagher a part he plays with a fine freedom of style and capital brogue. It marks a great advance in the career of the young actor, who evidently means making a name for himself. The self-important Sergeant Tanner is admirably acted by Mr. Herbert Standing, who is as near perfection as is possible in the character, and a great favourite with his audience. Others in the cast continue to do well as before. Miss M. A. Victor, for instance, is thoroughly good as Miss Romney, Miss Daisy Brough is pretty and simple as the schoolgirl, Matilda Jones; Mr. Robb Harwood gives a clever and strongly characteristic portrait of Herr Von Moser; Mr. Gilbert Farquhar does his best as the Solicitor, and Mr. Frederick Kerr as Captain Courtenay, the young husband, who dons female attire to escape the law, and as Miss Brown causes wild fun throughout the piece, gives, as before, a quietly-effective performance that entitles him to praise. Between the Posts is played as a first piece by Mr. John Buckstone and Miss Adela Measor who both rattle it off in a highly-satisfactory manner.

brownaddorking

[Advert for the touring production of The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown
from The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser (21 November, 1895 - p.4).]

browncharley

[Advert from the Pall Mall Gazette (2 December, 1895 - p.1).]

 

The New York Times (3 December 1895)

A FARCE AT THE STANDARD.

“The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” Is a Bit Queer.

     There was some difficulty in determining whether it was a theatrical performance, in the ordinary sense of that term, or an extremely large family party that took place at the Standard Theatre last evening. Everybody in the audience seemed to know somebody on the stage, and to take a most cordial and personal interest in his or her—especially her—success. Indeed, so complete and obvious was the sympathy between the people behind the footlights and those in front of them that a close observer almost fancied at moments that the two divisions looked alike. Of course, that must have been merely an optical illusion, but it gave one the sense of being present at an amateur instead of a professional effort to prove that “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” is an amusing farce, and that its importation from London was a wise proceeding. In the cast, however, were John T. Sullivan, Harry Brown, Ellen Burg, Jennie Satterlee, and two or three other people with familiar names, and therefore the amateur idea must have been as entirely without foundation as was that in regard to the resemblance.
     As for the piece, it is a manifest attempt to glean again the field from which “Charley’s Aunt” reaped so rich a harvest and from which “The New Boy” managed later to pick up enough grain to make a meagre sheaf or two. It is not so good as either of its predecessors, being more complex than either of them, quite without the serious thread of feeling which ran through the first and destitute of even the faint measure of possibility which the second possessed. It is, too, full of long speeches that are a weariness to flesh and attention alike, but these speeches are well written and every one of them contains “points” which one suspects are capable of producing both applause and laughter. Last night, a good many of these points produced no impression whatever, for, as already intimated, the people present were rather spectators than auditors and gave their very generous approval to individuals instead of to the work of those individuals or that of the authors. This was a fact decidedly confusing for such critics, if any were there, as tried to get a hint from the behavior of their neighbors as to whether the new farce is going to be a failure or a success. Perhaps it is safe to say, however, that “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” may win something of popular favor if the present company, or another, can be persuaded to play it with about three times the present speed of speech and action, and it is certainly not dangerous to declare that unless this end can be attained the farce will flicker for a little while and then go quietly out, leaving only a thick financial darkness in somebody’s pocket to serve as its only monument.
     The story of the play was published Sunday and was doubtless read then by all whom it would be likely to interest. As such stories go, there is no particular fault to be found with it. There are a few passages which an especially Young Person might criticise with an exclamatory “Isn’t that horrid!” but even these are quite harmless. The authors—Mr. Robert Buchanan, with whose previous work every theatregoer is familiar, and a C. Marlowe about whom nothing is known except that he is not the original Kit or the original Charles—have relied almost wholly upon the old expedient of putting a young officer in skirts for their humorous effects. Mr.Sullivan, who played this rôle last evening, has often proved both his talent and his intelligence, but he failed to strike the right key even for a moment and was much more grotesque than amusing in his blue gown and long red curls. His presence among the schoolgirls woke no thrill of apprehension, for his mannishness was far too insistent to deceive even the simplest of damsels for a moment. Mr. Brown, as an Irish Major, was mysteriously ineffective, for it was hard to see what his acting lacked to produce conviction, but lack it did to a decided extent. Miss Satterlee, as his wife, warm-hearted and impulsive, came much nearer hitting the mark. Miss Burg made a gently admirable object for the gallant young Captain’s plot and affection, while Louis Mann earned and won, in a single scene, hearty applause for his portrayal of a queer little music teacher with Paderewski hair and a soulful German accent. There was, too, a Miss Schwartz of Demerara—why of Demerara?—a bevy of particularly fresh and pretty girls assisted her in filling the school parlor with pleasing spectacles. Mr. Herbert Sparling played a conventionally impossible man from Scotland Yard, and there were others—as the following cast indicates:

Major P. O’Gallagher
Captain Courtenay
Private Docherty
Bugler Bates
Sergeant Tanner
Herr Von Moser
Mr. Hibbertson
Angela Brightwell
Miss Romney
Mrs. O’Gallagher
Clara Loveridge
Miss Matilda Jones
Emma
Euphemia Schwartz
Millicent Loveridge
Miss Stilts
Miss Perkins
Miss Sommerton

Harry Brown
John T. Sullivan
G. Nichols
W. A. Eastwood
Herbert Sparling
Louis Mann
Charles Harbury
Ellen Burg
Lillian Alliston
Jennie Satterlee
Clara Lipman
Ollie Redpath
Annie Dacre
Nita Allen
Carrie Sanford
Kate Miller
Virginia Paul
Frances Wilson

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New-York Daily Tribune (3 December, 1895 - p.7)

MISS BROWN AT THE STANDARD.

     A good farce called “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” was brought forth at the Standard Theatre last night, and was received with auspicious favor by a large audience. It is the work of Messrs. Buchanan and Marlowe, and it has been brought here from the London stage by Messrs. J. M. Hill and J. R. Rogers. Its theme is kindred with that of Mr. Toole’s play of “The Don,” written for him by Hermann Merrivale. In “The Don” a young woman, who is a ward in chancery, has privately been wedded to an Oxford student, and, visiting her husband at the university, is disguised in male attire to avoid discovery. In “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” an army officer has married a ward in chancery, and in order to escape arrest he is disguised in female attire and is turned loose among the girls. To wed a ward in Chancery without the consent of the Chancellor, if she be a minor, is to commit a criminal offence. In “The Don” that subject is complicated with other subjects, and is treated with good taste. In “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” the theme has been handled with broad humor. The incidents are numerous, the situations are comic, the movement is nimble, and the effect is merry. Captain Courtenay elopes with Angela Brightwell, taking her from Miss Romney’s boarding school for young ladies, at Calchester, and subsequently the captain, in the character of Miss Brown, finds himself environed with many difficulties. The piece is amusing, and it was sufficiently well acted, with the following cast:

Captain Courtenay      .....    John T. Sullivan
Major P. O’Gallagher .....    Harry Brown
Sergeant Tanner          .....     Herbert Sparling
Herr Von Moser         .....     Louis Mann
Mr. Hibbertson           .....     Charles Harbury
Private Docherty         .....     G. Nichols
Bugler Bates               .....     W. A. Eastwood
Angela Brightwell        .....     Ellen Burg
Miss Romney              .....     Lillian Alliston
Mrs. O’Gallagher       .....    Jennie Satterlee
Clara Loveridge          .....     Clara Lipman
Miss Matilda Jones     .....     Ollie Redpath
Emma                         .....     Annie Dacre
Euphemia Schwartz    .....    Nita Allen
Millicent Loveridge      .....     Carrie Sanford
Miss Stilts                  .....    Kate Miller

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The World (New York) (3 December, 1895 - p.8)

nyworldmissbrown

IT OUGHT TO BE FUNNIER.
_____

“The Strange Adventures of Miss
Brown” at the Standard.

     “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” a farcical play in three acts, by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, which has been running now for over five months in London, had its first hearing in this country at the Standard Theatre last night. It is founded on a genuinely humorous idea and should be much funnier than it is. Had its theme been developed by a Frenchman it would have probably been highly indecent, but a great deal more could have been made of it without in the least straining the bounds of good taste.
     Robert Buchanan has been writing plays now for a great many years, but somehow none has ever achieved any great success. He is an able writer, but the mysteries of stagecraft are practically unknown to him. Frequently a good scene or situation has been wasted because he was either too careless to properly develop it or because his technical knowledge was insufficient to cope with its difficulties.
     It is this want of knowing how to work out a consistent and comprehensive scenario that makes “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” an only passable farce, instead of one that might have rivalled “Charley’s Aunt” in popular favor. For, like that phenomenally successful piece, it turns upon the adventures of a young man who masquerades in women’s clothes.
     Capt. Courtenay marries Angela Brightwell, a ward in chancery. He is aided and abetted by a Major P. O’Gallagher and his wife. When the officer comes to arrest Courtenay for this contempt of court he dons female attire and is introduced as the O’Gallagher’s niece, Miss Brown.
     His wife is sent back to Cicero Academy, and there the Miss Brown is also sent as a boarder. Of course, all this leads to some highly amusing complications. They finally escape, after the athletic Miss brown has done up a German music teacher and a Scotland Yard detective. In the final act it is discovered that the Captain has fallen heir to a title, and all ends happily.
     The first act is extremely crude. The exposition is long-drawn out and lacking in humor, while twenty minutes of the third act is taken up to describe what has happened off the stage.
     The honors of the evening were borne off by Louis Mann as the German music teacher. His make-up was very comic and his accent admirable. Roars of laughter greeted his every scene and he was recalled time and again. John T. Sullivan was fairly successful as the masquerading officer, although needless burlesque was used to emphasize certain scenes. He will be better when he becomes more familiar with his work. In fact, the whole show needs more rehearsals.
     Harry Brown, with a Harrigan accent, played Major O’Gallagher with much spirit and effect, and Herbert Sparling was natural and clever as the detective. Ellen Bury made a skittish Angela, and Jennie Satterlee a jolly, whole-souled Mrs. O’Gallagher. Clara Lipman was again seen as a laughing girl, and Nita Allen made a picturesque figure as Euphemia Schwartz.

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The World (New York) (8 December, 1895 - p.28)

nyworldbrownrev2

An Amusing Farce.
_____

“The Strange Adventures of Miss
Brown” at the Standard.

     “THE Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” which has been running now for over two hundred nights in London, and which was produced here for the first time at the Standard Theatre last Monday, is the joint production of Robert Buchanan and “Charles Marlow.” Who the gentleman is who chooses to hide his identity under the name of the hero of “She Stoops to Conquer” has not been revealed. Judging from the workmanship displayed in the construction of the piece it is safe to say that he suggested its story and that Mr. Buchanan put it into its present acting shape.
     Mr. Buchanan has dabbled for years in writing plays, but never with any pronounced success. He is not a subtle dramatist, nor is he skilled in the craft he is anxious to shine in. How to humor a complication or realise all the possibilities of a situation are unknown to him.
     It is in this respect that “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” is weakest. Starting with a genuinely funny idea, Messrs. Buchanan and Marlow have proved themselves unequal to handling it for all it is worth. An expert with such premises would have turned out as screaming a farce as “Charley’s Aunt.” Not that Miss Brown’s escapades are not amusing. They are so, and create no little laughter and merriment. But they might easily create a great deal more.
     The farce is now running smoothly—on the first night it showed hasty preparation—and as a result there is quicker action that materially assists the effectiveness of the several comic climaxes.
     When John T. Sullivan limbers up a trifle—the influence of playing melodramatic heroes still hangs about him—he will give a much better rendering of Capt. Courtenay, who, marrying a ward in chancery, finds it necessary to don female raiment in order to escape arrest. The scenes, too, at Cicero Academy, where the captain, still in woman’s garb, goes as a boarder in order to be near his wife, will gain in illusion if Mr. Sullivan affects to imitate, however slightly, the airs and graces of the fair sex.
     The artistic hit of the performance is made by Louis Mann as a long suffering German piano teacher in love with the Captain’s young bride. It is a delightfully humorous creation, free from exaggeration, and at one time strikes the true note of convincing pathos. Herbert Sparling gives a clever and well sustained sketch of a wooden-headed Scotland Yard detective, and Harry Brown is impressively bustling and good-natured as Col. O’Gallagher. Jennie Saterlee as his jolly and whole-souled Irish wife is equally good.
     In the bevy of school girls, Clara Lipman, Ollie Redpath, Nita Allen, Virginia Paul and Kate Miller deserve mention.
     The scenery, which is all new, is glaringly obtrusive and the stage furnishings not what they should be.
     Aside from its first act “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” is a good farce and is worth seeing.

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New York Herald (8 December, 1895 - p.4)

     If a Frenchman had written “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” it would probably be a funnier play, but also it would probably be quite unfit for a New York stage. We shrink from any suggestion of immorality that is made in the open.
     That is a very healthy and commendable state of conduct, but in this particular case it brings trouble to the manager.
     “Miss Brown” is funny only by its suggestiveness. Toning down the suggestiveness tones down the fun. As near as I can see Mr. Hill, who is producing the play at the Standard Theatre, is between two fires.
     I doubt if anybody ever gave Mr. John T. Sullivan credit for being as good an actor as he is. In “Miss brown” he even surprises his warmest friends. His portrayal of the English cavalry officer is well nigh perfect and when disguised as a woman he gives a refreshing bit of real art.
     The whole play hangs on Mr. Sullivan’s shoulders. He carries it easily, gracefully and, I think, successfully. The supporting company is a good one. Mr. Louis Mann, who only gets on the stage twice, made the popular hit of the show. His “make up” as Paderewski and his character work were charming bits of comedy.
     When “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” are whipped into shape they will rival in attractive qualities the other big Standard successes.

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Edinburgh Evening News (10 December, 1895 - p.2)

“MISS BROWN” AT THE LYCEUM.

     The piece with which the farcical play which occupies the boards of the Lyceum this week is most easily compared is “Charley’s Aunt.” In both cases the plot revolves around a male who, to meet an emergency, is compelled to masquerade as a female. In “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown” a cavalry officer, who has married a ward in Chancery, is obliged, in order to escape the clutches of the law, to appear as the niece of one of his brother officers who has been aiding and abetting him in outwitting the Lord Chancellor. The said captain then appears as a boarder at the school in which his wife has been placed by her legal guardian. He plans carrying off his wife, but is frustrated. The inheriting of a title, however, removes all objections to the captain, and the curtain falls on “perfect peace.” The idea of making a cavalry captain appear as a boarder in a ladies’ school is at first sight a risky one. The idea has, however, been carried out by Messrs Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, the joint authors of the piece, in a manner to which no exception can be taken. In comparing the present piece with “Charley’s Aunt,” it must be admitted that the authors are somewhat handicapped by their plot. To make realistic the personation of a school girl is by no means so easy as to personate capably an elderly maiden lady. Nevertheless despite this drawback “Miss Brown” is likely to make lots of friends. The very ridiculousness of many of the situations is enough to cause hearty laughter. The company which plays the piece is a good one all round. Miss Emma Victor as the prim school mistress was capital, while Miss Grace Dudley made a bright and sparkling ward in Chancery. Miss Vida Croly, as the young lady from Demerara, and Miss Kate Hearwood as the sentimental girl of the school, filled their parts capably. Miss Lizzie Scobie played the part of the wife of the Irish major excellently, and one regretted that she only appeared in the first act. On the male side, Mr John A. Warden filled the part of the “heroine” in a mirth-provoking style, the manner in which he from time to time “gave himself away” being most amusing. The part of the Irish major was safe in the hands of Mr Fred W. Sidney, while Mr Stanley Kennis as the German music master, Mr Victor Widdicombe as the solicitor, and Mr J. B. Gordon as the muddle-headed detective, filled their roles capably. “Miss Brown” was preceded by a curtain-raiser of the sentimental type, entitled “An Old Garden.”

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Punch (21 December, 1895 - p.289)

missbrownpunchpic

A (MISS) BROWN STUDY.

     MISS BROWN, who is a kind of niece to Charley’s Aunt (her parents are Pa BUCHANAN and MAR-LOWE), is going strong at Terry’s Theatre. Apart from the amusing performance of the hero-heroine, Mr. FRED KERR, in the Kerr-acter of Miss Brown (this is a case in which as the part couldn’t be cut down to suit the actor, the actor ought to have been cut down to suit the part), and of Mr. ARTHUR PLAYFAIR as the somewhat burlesquely dashing cavalry officer Major O’Gallagher (without a song! more’s the pity!), the piece would be well worth seeing if only for the capital make-up and the well-sustained DAVID-JAMES’ like performance of Mr. HERBERT STANDING as Sergeant Tanner, the detective; one of the best bits of comedy to be seen just now on the London stage. It is broad without being vulgar; and, except where the exigencies of farce are supposed to demand some extravagance, it is natural. Mr. L. POWER’S Irish Servant is a capital sketch: always funny, never obtrusive.
     Very good, too, is Miss EMILY CROSS as the proprietress of Cicero House Academy; and Mr. GILBERT FARQUHAR as Hibbertson, the solicitor, gives us one of the best of his character sketches; indeed, if he adopts what may be termed the “Hill-and-Blakely line,” and sticks to it, he should be in great demand. Why did the authors select the name of Miss Schwartz for the creole pupil at Cicero House Academy? Was it that no better appellation could be found for this dark young lady than the one invented by THACKERAY, namely “Miss Swartz, the rich woolly-haired mulatto from St. Kitt’s,” who fell into “such a passion of tears” when Amelia left Miss Pinkerton’s academy? The authors spell “Swartz” “Schwartz,” which, as will be clear to any unprejudiced mind, makes all the difference in the world, and releases them from any obligation to the author of Vanity Fair. Miss Schwartz is cleverly played by Miss ADELA MEASOR, and her fury with a dagger hair-pin is something terrible to witness. Here’s your health Miss Brown, a merry Christmas and prosperity generally.

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The Era (21 December, 1895)

“MISS BROWN” AT TERRY’S.
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     It is a somewhat curious fact that two of the most successful farces now running at the London theatres should have for their principal characters gentlemen in petticoats. Miss Brown, the younger of the two, attained a run of 200 nights on Friday; and from the attitude of a crowded house on that evening, it would seem that her popularity is not likely to fade for a long time to come. Her “strange adventures” form the clou of one of the most hilarious farces that has been seen in the metropolis for years—just the sort of piece, in fact, that appeals to the cheery Londoner, who, when visiting the theatre, desires nothing so much as a couple of hours of hearty laughter. The authors, Messrs Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, have managed their scenes with great cleverness; and the company now playing Miss Brown at Terry’s Theatre, though differing materially from that representing the farce on its original production in June, at the Vaudeville, work together admirably, and secure a representation that is as lively and exhilarating as it can possibly be.
     MR L. POWER AS CAPTAIN COURTENAY.—During Mr Frederick Kerr’s short vacation Mr L. Power, who originally appeared as Private Doherty, is taking the rôle of Captain Courtenay. Naturally he follows very closely on Mr Kerr’s lines, and, like him, carefully avoids the faintest suspicion of vulgarity. Mrs Grundy, in her severest mood, may sit quite easily in her seat while Mr Power masquerades in the skirts of the schoolgirl—the timid little orphan from Portsmouth. He certainly gives us Mr Kerr’s reading of the character—we could wish for nothing better—but he does it exceedingly well.
     MR HERBERT STANDING AS SERGEANT TANNER.—We have been accustomed to see Mr Herbert Standing playing smart military men, fashionable villains, and clubmen. As the detective from Scotland-yard he gives us a bit of real low comedy. The unwary limb of the law amuses us vastly with his absolute confidence in his sharpness and perspicuity. The sergeant gets his best chance, perhaps, when he returns from his chase of Miss brown, in the third act, and Mr Standing’s description of the run is one of the best things in the piece.
     MR ARTHUR PLAYFAIR AS MAJOR O’GALLAGHER.—The major is a cleverly drawn character. He bubbles over with good humour, and it is evident that he thoroughly enjoys his friend’s dilemma, and nothing is so much to his liking as the getting him clear of it. Mr Playfair, who makes a particularly smart Lancer, is geniality itself. He gets the utmost value out of the well-written comedy scene between the Major and Miss Romney in the second act, his blarney being as laughable as his mock heroics.
     MISS EVA MOORE AS ANGELA BRIGHTWELL.—What a wilful little puss is this ward in Chancery! How coquettish one minute, how fiercely jealous the next! As embodied by bright and pretty Miss Eva Moore, we take Angela to our hearts at once. She is simply irresistible, and yet she never fails to show us that Miss Romney’s wayward pupil has just a bit of a temper. Miss Moore is absolutely natural in her every movement, and her gaiety is infectious.
     MISS EMILY CROSS AS MISS ROMNEY.—The principal of Cicero House Academy for young ladies is a type of character that admirably suits Miss Cross’s method. She treats the part from the standpoint of high comedy, and we feel at one that Miss Romney is what the authors intended her to be—a woman of education and refinement. In the third act, where the schoolmistress expresses her fear that the escapade of her pupils, if known, will cause her ruin, the actress quite succeeds in giving the necessary seriousness to her share of the episode, her apprehension being most naturally expressed.
     MISS MONA K. ORAM AS EUPHEMIA SCHWARTZ gives to the character of the Demerara girl the dreamy significance and fierce emphasis required. There is just a touch of real seriousness in the way that Euphemia, taking a dagger ornament from her hair, threatens Angela, and for the moment Miss Oram, by her intensity as the hot-blooded girl, gives us a flash of tragedy. She is a very promising actress.
     MR GILBERT FARQUHAR AS MR HIBBERTSON.—Mr Gilbert Farquhar’s old men always interest us, and the fussy self-importance and ponderous periods of Lawyer Hibbertson could hardly be in better hands. The testiness and irritability of the character, too, are very funnily presented.
     MR GEORGE E. BELLAMY AS HERR VON MOSER.—The impressionable German professor of music, who has such a burning passion for Angela Brightwell, finds in this young actor a clever interpreter. The unkempt appearance, the elaborate gesticulation, and the romantic air all aid the vraisemblance of the character, and, though we look upon Von Moser with much the same feelings as we do upon the pantaloon of pantomime, still it is satisfactory to get such a conscientious performance of the part as Mr Bellamy gives us.
     MISS ELSIE CHESTER makes a dear, motherly soul of MRS O’GALLAGHER, and in her style reminds us strongly of Mrs John Wood, which we consider a very high compliment to her ability.
     MR O. SHILLINGFORD has a very few lines as PRIVATE DOHERTY, but he makes them tell; Miss DAISY BROUGH is an unaffected representative of MATILDA JONES; Miss DORIS TEMPLETON is a lively CLARA LOVERIDGE; Miss MARION MURRAY an effective EMMA; and the cast is completed by Miss J. HOLFORD, a capable MILLICENT LOVERIDGE.

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The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown - continued

 

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