Punch, October 3, 1906
The introduction of real cows (not by Clarkson) and a genuine working milk-maid on the stage at Drury Lane has, as might have been expected, led other managements to bestir themselves.
At the Aldwych Theatre next Friday Mr. Seymour Hicks, who spares no pains to keep abreast of the times, will introduce real pink snakes into the drunken scene of The Beauty of Bath.
A real polar-bear is about to join the cast of The Winter’s Tale at His Majesty’s Theatre.
The property crocodile in Amasis has, we understand, been replaced by a genuine saurian, kindly lent by the Zoological Gardens. Owing to the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Rutland Barrington, the part of Pharaoh is now (at the time of writing) played by an understudy. The veteran comedian was last seen talking to the crocodile in its dressing-room; and it is significant that the reptile refused an invitation to sup at the Carlton that night.
To give further realism to The Man from Blankley’s, a genuine native of Bayswater will be added to the guests.
Bedford, the detective in Raffles, will, after Tuesday next, be assisted in his hunt for the Amateur Cracksman by a quartette of brindled bloodhounds. We hear, from one who has witnessed a rehearsal, that the scene at the Albany, when Bedford calls, is impressive to a degree; and that Mr. Gerald du Maurier has opened negotiations with the Rev. E. Thorne, of Peckham, for the loan of his suit of mail. As our readers are aware, the part of “Bunny” is now played by a real rabbit.
Mr. George Edwardes promises a real plot in his next musical comedy.
Unsigned article as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 131 of Punch.
“Where in the world will the craze for stage ‘realism’ lead next?” asks the Evening Standard and St. James’s Gazette. “The news that a real live cow is to be publicly milked in one scene of ‘The Bondman’ when it is produced at Drury Lane, fairly takes the breath away. It is said that Miss Marjorie Day, who is to play the milkmaid, has been selected for the part largely on account of early experience on a Colonial farmstead. But we trust that due rehearsal will take place. Curious things are apt to happen when amateurs attempt to milk a cow and it would not add to the smoothness of a first-night performance if the milking were a fiasco or the milkmaid were kicked into the orchestra. Miss Day ‘does hope the animal will be thoroughly domesticated.’ ” (Cheltenham Looker-On, Gloucestershire, September 1, 1906). The Bondman was a play by popular writer Hall Caine, the butt of dozens of Wodehouse’s jokes over the years.