I was delighted to revisit Corton House, a wonderful residential home for older people in Norwich, last week.
I went as Marie Lloyd (my third outing in this guise) and did the usual getting dressed thing. Audiences are welcome to handle my underwear!! I've got some original Edwardian (and older) petticoats and combinations to pass around.
The latter two thirds of this talk are actually devoted to singing; I go through Marie's chaotic biography, putting in her well known songs as I go. The audiences seem to love the songs and join in with all the bits they know. Singing like 'our Marie' is a bit tough on my voice: having spent years trying not to shout or squawk, that's exactly what one has to do to put across a Music Hall style performance!
After the talk at Corton, one very elderly lady was eager to tell me about her own memories of Marie Lloyd. As a little girl growing up in Sheffield, this lady told me her mother was 'stone deaf', so as a little light relief from a quiet household, she had been taken by her father every week to The Tivoli theatre. And on one occasion she saw none other than Marie Lloyd herself, doing a song with lots of dolls lined up along the front of the stage. The lady thought it was in about 1922, when she was about 5 years old, and Marie, of course, would have been very near the end of her days.
What a fabulous story! I never imagined I would have the pleasure of speaking directly to anyone who had actually seen Marie perform. A precious moment for me.
And of course, now I will have to research exactly WHAT that song was. Any suggestions?- you know where I am!