Thursday, 12 July 2012


Maud, Lady Beerbohm Tree

Douglas Byng

I have just finished reading the excellent Bawdy But British!: The Life of Douglas Byng by the late Patrick Newley.

Of the many hilarious stories Dougie Byng recalled in his long theatrical life, my favourite is this fabulously camp moment. Roy Hudd was in the audience at one of Dougie's last shows (he was on stage until he was 93!):
It was a marvellous evening. I remember in reply to one query, "Did you ever see Lady Beerbohm Tree?" Dougie replied "Yes, I saw her once at a charity matinee.

She walked on in a purple crinoline with purple ostrich feathers, a purple fan and elbow-length gloves, and wearing a diamond necklace, tiara and bracelet.

She picked up a kitchen chair, put it down-stage, sat on it and said to the audience, 'Now I want you to imagine I'm a plumber's mate!'"

Read Simon Callow's review of Bawdy But British!: The Life of Douglas Byng


  1. Douglas Byng? Crikey, I thought it was Thombeau!

    1. A common mistake, I assure you.

    2. It was that lorgnette.

      You can see how easily a case of mistaken identity could arise.

  2. Sounds like a great book. Someday I shall read it!


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