28th July, 1919
His Majesty King George V
Her Majesty Queen Mary
Executive Producer: Harry Marlow
Musical Director: Alfred Dove
Presented by: Oswald Stoll
A PAGEANT OF PEACE - a Royal Variety Performance
This second 'royal show' was the first to be offcially named the "Royal Variety Performance", rather than the previously titled show in 1912 of 'Royal Command Performance'. The reason for the name change followed desire from Buckingham Palace that the show should 'clearly reflect all areas of showbusiness popular amongst the masses of the time.' Hence, a variety of entertainment, including music - of all genres, comedy, music-hall, speciality acts - rather than for it be incorrectly perceived as one reflecting the Royal Family's own specific choice of artistes.
It was staged as a celebration of peace and, as the official announcement expressed it, had been 'commanded by the King to show his appreciation of the generous manner in which artistes of the variety stage had helped the numerous funds connected with the war.'
The finale was a particularly moving piece entitled A Pageant of Peace. There was a large chorus portraying the Allies and the Colonies. In one scene, six hundred clothed in white, fanned out from a large centre-stage flight of steps. Four trumpeters from the 1st Life Guards blew a fanfare, before Sir Edward Elgar conducted music arranged by the appropriately named Mr Dove! Then from the top of the white steps at the rear of the stage, appeared Ethel Hook dressed as Britannia, to herald the singing of 'Land of Hope and Glory', before leading the National Anthem.
Despite the overall success of the show, there were some complaints from commentators about the 'coldness' of the audience, which inhibited some of the performers. "A possible explanation is that this was the outcome of a mistaken 'etiquette' in the presence of Royalty," said one critic.
GEORGE ROBEY & VIOLET LORAINE
SIR EDWARD ELGAR
28 July 1919