12th February, 1925
His Majesty King George V
Her Majesty Queen Mary
Executive Producer : Sir Oswald Stoll
Musical Director : George M.Saker
It was a night of laughter at the Alhambra for the Royal Variety Performance, with comics such as Harry Tate, Scotsman Will Fyffe and Will Hay having a great impact. As the Morning Post reported, 'One has never known a performance of the kind go so well; no audience ever enjoyed itself more..altogether the merriest evening of its kind.'
As well as humour, the King and Queen were treated to a variety of acts from 'mentalism' to juggling to light opera. The juggler George Hurd can once scarcely have imagined that one day he would be appearing in front of Royalty - at the age of 11 he was working on a sheep farm in the outback of Australia!
A popular musical act was G.H.Elliott and overall the eveing passed off very well. The Performer remarked "That the Royal visitors did thoroughly enjoy the performance there was not the slightest shadow of doubt".
Audience participation was alive and well in 1925 as the act Mr and Mrs Tree amply proved. While Mr Tree moved among the audience inviting them to whisper their choice of music in his ear, his blindfolded colleague, seatd at the piano on stage, would immediately begin playing the requisite tune - musical requests by 'telepathy!' Mr Tree then proceeded to climb into the Royal Box to ask the King to choose a popular tune. His Majesty whispered that he would like to hear the overture to The Merry Widow. No sooner had he spoken than the popular melody was struck up by Mrs Tree on stage!
One of the proud traditions of the Royal Variety Performance is that so many shows have presented opportunities to young performers starting out on the ladder of showbusiness, many of whom have become household names as a result of one night success. In 1925, the laurel fell on a young comedy duo named Nervo and Knox, amongst the youngest performers on the cast list. This was the first appearance in a Royal Variety Show of the two evergreen comics who were later to swell the ranks of the celebrated Crazy Gang. Their inclusion was perhaps something of an educated guess, as King George V was well known for enjoying the slapstick humour of artistes like Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane.
MR & MRS TREE
J.W.JACKSON'S TWELVE ENGLISH DANCERS
NERVO and KNOX
HARRY TATE and Company
12 February 1925
The Alhambra Theatre, London