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Posted: May 27 2006, 07:57 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 9-March 04
Excert from Interview with Elizabeth Ewing by Kate Dorney 07/08/04
KD: So what would you [read]? Can you remember any titles? Did you read The Stage, for example, or?
EE: I think, I’m not sure, I can remember reading, I think it was the Daily Telegraph and there was a theatre writer called WA Darlington and I used to read him, so I got a lot of information from that. And if there were people in it that I knew, at that stage we didn’t have television so it was people from the radio that you liked to go and see. SO that was how I came to see Off the Record which was a good comedy. I also went to see Bell, Book and Candle, I think that was by John van Druten and that was a witchcraft thing that I knew about.
KD: And it had been on in London and transferred?
EE: I think it had, and it was eventually made into a film. Eventually it was. And then another one I saw at the Lyceum was Lady Frederick by Somerset Maugham and that had Coral Browne in it, and I always loved to see the big names so I was aware of Coral Browne
KD. So she was already famous?
EE: Oh yes, because she’s been dead quite a while and she was quite a good age when she died. That was about an ageing actress with a man younger than her and she didn’t think it could be right and she let him see her after the play she was in taking all her make up off and getting down to what she really looked like. So it was and then a very popular show that toured all the time, The Desert Song with John Hanson, he was always known as the Red Shadow. And then I went to, all of those were at the Lyceum, but then we had the Empire, a Moss Empire in Sheffield which doesn’t exist now.
KD: Where was that?
EE: Well I think it’s Charles St in Sheffield it was, but I was out of Sheffield for a long time and when you come back, things have changed.
KD: So it went while you were gone?
EE: Yes, but that was late 60s and its replaced with shops now, but there, the Empire had a different kind of thing. They had variety shows with assorted acts, like performing dogs and a woman who used to tear up telephone directories and things like that. And then they had somebody well known, and it would be, like a comedian from the radio. Al Read?? Was very popular, he used to read a newspaper and make comments about little snippets of news in a funny way. But what we went, I went with my parents to see Al Read because we loved him on the radio. They’d be the main attraction, but often people would leave the show before the last act to get their bus or tram home. And so when we went to see Al Read he came and did his bit and the last act, which is normally the top of the bill, it was a man playing with a whip doing shapes, I thought it was quite funny. And I also saw, this was someone from radio, the late Beryl Reid, who started out as a comedian on radio playing a character, a naughty schoolgirl called Marlene and another character whose name began with S and when she said it, she used to say, ‘did you notice how the spit came out?’. But she went on to be a terrific actress and I saw her, but much much later on in London in a play. And she also did films, The Killing of Sister George and she had a wonderful career.