Mime Parade at Aldwych. July 1937

Getting slightly out of sync with my blog posts, these two newspaper articles are from July 1937 and describe the “Mime Parade” show on 13 July 1937 at the Aldwych Theatre which I have written about previously.

According to Drama London, the show presented both spoken and silent mimes – so I don’t know how this would have worked! We learn that L’Enfant Prodigue was well known at this point, but less so Harlequin’s Child, which befitted its Commedia origins as it was swift, gay and brilliant. It seems that the costumes were exquisite and done by Valerie Prentis (sic not Prentice).

Miss Mawer’s take on the story of Noah, in The Flood, came in for criticism as it seemed to be neither one thing nor the other: not jolly enough, or if it was going the other way, then not simple enough. However, Miss Mawer was acclaimed for having given a “brilliant performance” as Noah himself.

The Greek Dance: The Idyll of Theocritus, earned that backhanded compliment of being called ‘interesting’ – while the Greek dancing was excellent, the whole thing seemed “a little threadbare with age”. Being ‘old fashioned’ is a criticism I have come across before with regard to the Ginner-Mawer School. In general, though, the reports I have read show that many girls did extremely well at the school, and in this case former pupils Elinor Shan and Peggy Butler both wrote and performed in their own mime pieces. Ginner gets a good write up for role as the Priestess of Adonis, and also for the production of it.

Elinor Shan composed Radio Breakfast (which I have talked about in previous posts), while Peggy Butler’s piece was The People that Walked in Darkness. The performance of Peggy’s piece was done by people who were mainly untrained and was a “live and vigorous piece of work, showing considerable promise”.

Mary Kelly, who wrote the item in the newspaper said that the Institute of Mime was working on sound lines, and while realising all the greatness of this traditional art, is yet able to inspire its growth and adaptation to modern life.” (I have a note from 1934 that Mary Kelly was part of the British Drama League.)

Notable mentions also went to Joyce Ruscoe; Helga Burgess; Lois Gray; and Archie Harradine (who I get the impression was a professional actor. I have no reason to think that he trained at Ginner-Mawer, though this is perfectly possible.)

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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