Marie Lloyd

Definition

Theater

  • (Matilda Alice Victoria Wood; 1870 - 1922), the most famousof the British music hall artists. She made her debut atthe Royal Eagle Music Hall at the age of 15 and in 1891 starred withDan Leno and Little Tich in her first Drury Lanepantomime. By this time she was already well known for her naughtysongs and mischievous wink. Her best-loved numbers included 'She'dNever Had Her Ticket Punched Before', 'A Little of What You FancyDoes You Good', and her famous charwoman number about 'The Old CockLinnet'. These included lines like "If you show the boys justa little bit, it's the little bit the boys admire". A typicalskit would have Marie enter holding her famous shabby handbag andbattered birdcage and settle onto a park bench with wide slats andchirp, 'Oh dear, I'm nipped in the bud'.

    Her admirer T. S. Eliot called Marie "the expressivefigure of the lower classes", while James Agate wrote that "Shehad a heart as big as Waterloo Station", adding that her art"always envisaged the seamy side of life with gusto rather thandeprecation."

    Marie's private life was a well-known disaster, and her threemarriages and two divorces were considered scandalous at the time;she was never invited to take part in a Royal Command variety Performance.When she was excluded from the first one of these in 1912, she advertisedher own shows with posters announcing "Every Performance byorder of the British Public". She died three days after collapsingon stage at the Edmonton Empire.

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