The Railway Porters on Parade scene from Keep Smiling
Produced by André Charlot and M. V. Leveaux
Royal Alhambra Theatre, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This photograph shows the scene Railway Porters on Parade from the Alhambra's 1913 spectacular revue Keep Smiling, produced by André Charlot and M.V.Leveaux. The scene involved an American Girl, played by Lee White, her eight Maids, and eight Porters. The trunks on which the maids are standing were typical of those used at a time when there were no aeroplanes and all transatlantic travel was by ship. It was very prestigious to have lots of luggage labels over your trunks, to show how well-travelled you were. This Girl is clearly very rich (with eight maids) and well-travelled. Revue titles didn't necessarily give you much idea of what the show was about. They were just labels for bright, swift-moving, spectacular entertainments. As long as they were short, catchy and, therefore, easily remembered, most producers were happy. When he eventually went into management on his own, Charlot developed a more intimate form of revue, depending more on wit and topicality than spectacle and big numbers.