Carnival Time Criterion 1924

Carnival Time, the Cabaret at the Criterion Restaurant, London

After four successful years (1920-1924) of being one of London’s premier rendezvous for dining and dancing, the décor for the Criterion’s famous Italian Roof Garden was swept away and the room was re-decorated and became a cabaret with a show that was called Carnival Time.

The new cabaret show, staged by Eric Howard in the former Criterion Roof Garden, was launched on 31st October 1924 with Vera Freeman and Stella Maris (who had come from the 400 Club in Paris and had appeared in other cabaret successes in Europe) as leading ladies and a chorus of six. 

The chorus girls in the cabaret show Carnival Time at the Criterion Ballroom, 1924
The chorus girls in the cabaret show Carnival Time at the Criterion Ballroom, 1924

There was in addition the ballroom dancing of Cyril and Cynthia Horrocks, along with Joan Longton, Edward Royce, Ernest Leno (eldest son of the famous Dan Leno). The company was frequently changed every few weeks.

The exhibition dancers Cyril and Cynthia Horrocks, 1920s
The exhibition dancers Cyril and Cynthia Horrocks, 1920s

The room had been entirely re-constructed with a  ‘striking colour scheme’ and it was just called the ballroom. The Criterion dance band played from a balcony and a new floor had been laid and there was a small stage from where the cabaret artists make their entrance and exit.

An advert for the cabaret show Carnival Time in the new Ballroom at the Criterion Restaurant, 1920s
An advert for the cabaret show Carnival Time in the new Ballroom at the Criterion Restaurant, 1920s

A month later in mid-November 1924 another edition was staged with the famous singers and musicians Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar and Minna Tornschinsky (a Russian violinist), along with Vera Freeman, Stella Maris and the Horrocks, but the Horrocks were then replaced by Babette and Franklyn Graham. At some point in late 1924, the film producer Harry B. Parkinson filmed the Criterion cabaret for his London’s Famous Cabarets series.

Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, 1920s
Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, 1920s
The exhibition dancers Babette and Graham, 1920s
The exhibition dancers Babette and Graham, 1920s

By the end of November there was a third edition of the show that along with Joan Langton and Stella Maris, featured Elsie Mayfair and Felgate King in their speciality piano turn, who had recently played the leading parts in the Rainbow at the Empire Theatre. At some point in January 1925 the well-known oriental dancer Julie Suedo (later to become a British film star) was added as a speciality act, but the cabaret show simply did not make any headway and by mid-February it closed.

Click here to see the post about the Criterion restaurant, London 

Sources

Advert from London theatre programme
The Era 8/10/24
Sporting Times 11/10/24
The Referee 12 October 1924
The Referee 19 October 1924
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News 6/10/24
The Referee 26 October 1924
Dancing Times November 1924
Variety 12/11/24
Westminster Gazette 14/11/24
The Stage 20/11/24
The Era 26/11/24
The Bioscope 27/11/24
Dancing Times December 1924
The Stage 11/12/24
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News 20/12/24
Variety 31/12/24
Sporting Times 14/2/1925

 

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