Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Mrs Langtry at the Theatre Royal, Ryde 1905

Lilly Langtry 1885

The Theatre, as everyone anticipated, was crowded on Saturday afternoon 25 February, 1905, to witness the celebrated society beauty and actress, Mrs. Langtry in the light comedy entitled “Mrs. Dering’s Divorce.”  All the better parts of the house were packed, so Mrs. Langtry must have felt flattered by the amount of interest her visit excited.

The play went very brightly from start to finish, and the interest was well sustained throughout, in spite of the flimsiness of the plot.  Mrs. Langtry, as the heroine of the piece, looked so youthful and charming that it was difficult to realise that she has been a star in the social firmament for so long a period.  Her impersonation of the Society lady seemed somewhat lacking in warmth and feeling.  She did not seem quite to have grasped the author’s idea of the character.  Her acting, however, with the lovesick Mr. Foster was very clever.

Mrs. Langtry was supported by an excellent company, the other parts were well and suitably filled. Needless to say, the dresses, scenery and accessories were all excellent, and had the audience not been so largely composed of ladies, no doubt the applause would have been greater, though Mrs. Langtry and her company were rewarded by a warm recall at the close.

Mr. Bannister Howard was to be congratulated on his successful venture, and it is hoped that those advertised for the future would be as well patronised.

Lillie Langtry, nicknamed “The Jersey Lily” was a British socialite, stage actress and producer.  Born in 1853, Emilie Charlotte Le Breton, in Jersey, and known as Lillie from childhood, she was the daughter of the Rev. William Corbet Le Breton and his wife Emilie Davis (nee Martin).  Lillie was the sixth of seven children and the only girl.  Lillie married Edward Langtry in 1874.  She became an actress in 1881 and made her debut in the West End that year.  She died 12 February 1929.

Sources: RSHG Archive, Wikipedia, IW Observer 4 March 1905
Image: Wikipedia, portrait 1885 by William Downey of London
Article: Ann Barrett