Gaiety Theatre souvenir brochure

Gaiety Theatre souvenir brochure

This is the colourful hardback cover of a souvenir programme issued for Christmas at the Gaiety Theatre in 1889. Inside, the audience found beautiful cards showing full length colour portraits of members of the cast - the very popular Miss Nellie Farren (whose head is popping through the paper hoop on the cover), Mr Fred Storey, and Miss Letty Lind. They are wearing costumes designed by Percy Anderson. He knew exactly what a burlesque audience liked… plenty of ladies showing off their legs in tights. The burlesque was the Gaiety’s main attraction - a kind of musical, mixing operetta, music hall and revue (then known as ‘Extravaganza’). Ruy Blas made fun of the play by Victor Hugo (who also wrote the book, Les Miserables). The full title of the burlesque was a pun Ruy Blas or the Blasé Roué. The more terrible the pun the more Victorian audiences were amused. One review says that audiences loved the show, laughing with ‘an hysterical Ho! Ho!’ or even a ‘rapturous, long-drawn Ha! Ha!’.