Saturday, June 18, 2016

Maxwell Carew as "September Morn"


My husband found me this extraordinary photograph for my collection the other day. To be honest, I have very little idea what's going on and Maxwell Carew is only referenced a couple of times on the internet on websites interested in Variety performers in the 1930s and 40s, sometimes as an "International Tenor". But I love this mainly for the madness of it, for the hope that he is wearing a prosthetic nose and that he isn't graced with that thing the whole time, and also for it's raggedness: I love a good vintage photograph that looks like it has 'had a life'.

UPDATE: As ever, my wonderful readership comes up trumps. Cosmo has posted some excellent notes and links in the comments, but as I know from experience that many people skip the comments I have decided to elevate them to the main post. Cosmo, we salute you!

Anonymous Cosmo said...
He may have been a tenor, but his balls were well tucked!
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/58054323
Born Leeds 1882. Died 1938.

Maxwell, who as a female impersonator, comedy dame, or character singer, has few equals on the vaudeville stage, appeared at the London Coliseum about the middle of 1910 on the same programme as the famous Sarah Bernhardt.

Carew apes the woman of fashion, rather than a wash lady who extols the merits of a departed husband. His dressing, which he studies like, a debutante, is designed on Parisian lines, and constant practice has made him a veritable fashion plate for the
lady members of the audience.

A feature of Maxwell Carew's act at the Theatre Royal is his marvellously quick changes. He prides himself on holding the world's record for a series of complete changes, with an average of about three seconds. His female impersonations are remarkably clever. Although the frock itself is changed behind the screen, the wig, shoes, and smaller parts are changed in front of
the audience Maxwell Carew,sings in French and Italian as well as in English, his repertoire including such classics as "Don Mobile," from "Rigoletti," 'The Misere Scene" from "Il Trovatore," "Parted" (by Tosti), as well as the more modern syncopated songs. During last week his "turns" were enthusiastically applauded.

And here's the painting he was aping:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Morn

3 comments:

Cosmo said...

He may have been a tenor, but his balls were well tucked!
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/58054323
Born Leeds 1882. Died 1938.

Cosmo said...

More from the vintage Australian newspapers:

Maxwell, who as a female impersonator, comedy dame, or character singer, has few equals on the vaudeville stage, appeared at the London Coliseum about the middle of 1910 on the same programme as the famous Sarah Bernhardt.

Carew apes the woman of fashion, rather than a wash lady who extols the merits of a departed husband. His dressing, which he studies like, a debutante, is designed on Parisian lines, and constant practice has made him a veritable fashion plate for the
lady members of the audience.

A feature of Maxwell Carew's act at the Theatre Royal is his marvellously quick changes. He prides himself on holding the world's record for a series of complete changes, with an average of about three seconds. His female impersonations are remarkably clever. Although the frock itself is changed behind the screen, the wig, shoes, and smaller parts are changed in front of
the audience Maxwell Carew,sings in French and Italian as well as in English, his repertoire including such classics as "Don Mobile," from "Rigoletti," 'The Misere Scene" from "Il Trovatore," "Parted" (by Tosti), as well as the more modern syncopated songs. During last week his "turns" were enthusiastically applauded.

Cosmo said...

And here's the painting he was aping:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Morn

 
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