On 28th March Probus members were entertained by club member, Greg White, who gave a thoroughly enjoyable talk on the working relationship between Stanley Holloway the actor, comedian and singer and Marriott Edgar the writer and poet. Edgar was probably best known for the sixteen monologues he wrote for Holloway who had himself enjoyed some success with the comedic monologue formula, such as Sam Pick Oop Tha Musket.

Edgar enjoyed the absurd and recognised that Holloway had similar tendencies. This led to Edgar producing a script based upon a news item that a man had died following an encounter with a lion in a cage. The Lion and Albert became one of Holloway’s most popular and successful pieces and members present were treated to a cameo rendition by former President, Rod Barker.

Comedic monologists were regulars at music halls where performers did their best and the rest drank. Audiences were rowdy and paid little attention to what was happening on stage which was generally seen to be “vulgar and rumbustious”. Entertainment subsequently moved into variety acts in new theatres where families could spend a pleasant evening. Well known architect Frank Matcham specialised in the design of music halls and theatres and some 21 were designed for the Moss Empire alone and were named to reflect grandeur and splendour such as the Hippodrome, the London Coliseum and the London Palladium.

Stanley Holloway played character parts in around 70 films and played the role of Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady on stage on Broadway and the West End and in the film version which brough him international fame. Marriott Edgar worked as a successful scriptwriter on around 30 films and stage shows. Their monologues live on – Albert Ramsbottom is still alive and kicking!

Vaga Probus is a men’s group that meets twice a month in Ross. Visitors are very welcome, if you have an interest in visiting or indeed have a talk you would like to deliver, please contact the Secretary on 01452 831026.