Mi casa es tu casa


From: Noel Coward – a Biography (1995), by Philip Hoare:

“In their burlesque of Fallen Angels, the Hermiones fought cattishly over the laughs, often trampling on each other’s lines to get the upper hand; at one point Gingold, jealous of the success Baddeley was having with one joke, circumvented it by stuffing her shoe in the champagne ice bucket and ruining her rival’s pay-off. Noel hated the production when he saw it in Plymouth, and ‘flew’ at Peter Daubeny (co-producing with Russell and Hamilton), demanding he cancel the London opening. ‘It would have cost £9000 to get out of the contract’, says Russell. ‘I said, legally, you can’t stop it…’ The play went to the Ambassadors Theatre, where it ran for nine months – longer than the original production. Back in Jamaica, Coward wrote in his diary, ‘Fallen Angels a terrific success. Livid.’”

From Wikipedia:

“Baddeley was born in Broseley, Shropshire, to W.H. Clinton-Baddeley; her mother, Louise Bourdin, was French. Baddeley was a descendant of British American War of Independence General Sir Henry Clinton. Her elder sister, Angela Baddeley, was also an actress. Her half-brother, William Baddeley, was a Church of England clergyman who became Dean of Brisbane and Rural Dean of Westminster.
An early stage appearance came in 1923 when she appeared in Charles McEvoy’s play The Likes of Her in London’s West End.”

“Gingold was born in Carlton Hill, Maida Vale, London, the elder daughter of a prosperous Austrian-born Jewish stockbroker, James Gingold, and his wife, Kate Frances (née Walter). Her paternal grandparents were the Ottoman-born British subject, Moritz “Maurice” Gingold, a London stockbroker, and his Austrian-born wife, Hermine, after whom Hermione was named (Gingold mentions in her autobiography that her mother might have got ‘Hermione’ from Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale, which she was reading shortly before her birth). On her father’s side, she was descended from Solomon Sulzer, a synagogue cantor and Jewish liturgical composer in Vienna. In 1918, Gingold married the publisher Michael Joseph, with whom she had two sons, the younger of whom, Stephen, became a pioneer of theatre in the round in Britain.”

From: My Own Unaided Work (1952) by Hermione Gingold:

“April, 1950
Dear Madam,
Unless something is done at once about your disgusting exhibition in the filthy play you appear in every night, I and several of my friends will do something very unpleasant about it.
What you and your co-partner Hermione Baddeley do nightly in public is a slur on English womanhood. “Fallen Angels” is disgusting as a play, but your performance in it makes it loathsome. How the powers that be could permit such an exhibition is past the understanding of a God-fearing woman who supports the present Government–and thanks God for them.
I give you fair warning to leave the play, or it will be the worse for you. Our wrath will strike at you in your home, or maybe during a performance at the theatre.
A. Friend

Ambassadors TheatreW.C.2.
April 14th
Dear Friend,
How clever and capricious you are, cloaking yourself in anonymity, and I must confess I cannot for the life of me guess which of my many friends you can be. You have sent my head spinning and my imagination whirling. Could you be found among my dear friends, intimate friends, close friends, childhood friends, pen friends, family friends, friends of a friend, friends in distress, friends who are closer than a brother, friends in need, or school friends? Your letter quite clearly shows that you are not illiterate, and therefore we can rule out my school friends. Your masterly command of the language banishes the thought that you could be found among my friends from overseas. Your witty criticism of my performance makes me think that I might find you among my nearest and dearest “bosom friends,” that is if you did not choose to address me as “Dear Madam”–a clever move this, and one that reduces my last thought to mere stupidity and you to a casual acquaintance, and yet I must banish the thought “casual acquaintance.” for how many people are there in London today who realise that my “co-partner,” as you wittily dub her, is none other than Hermione Baddeley, and by the way, she wants me to thank you for the facsimile letter you sent her, and say that she is getting on in years and feeble, and is not able to attend to her correspondence as she would wish, and so she cannot answer your letter personally.
An awful thought has dawned. It is all a joke, and you aren’t really my friend at all. I must try to dismiss this thought. It depresses me. To lose a friend like you in a few words, oh no.
So, dear anonymous friend, if this should chance to meet your eye, please keep your promise and come round one night–yes, and bring your friends, too, for I know intuitively that your friends will be my friends.
Cordially yours,
Hermione Gingold
P.S. If you wish to strike at me with your wrath in my home, I am always in between ten-thirty and twelve in the morning, excluding Tuesday, which is a bad day, as a lot of tiresome tradespeople call for the same reason. You will easily recognize my apartment, for, apart from the number “85” marked in plain figures on the door, over the knocker there is a notice, “strike twice and wait, bell out of order.”.”

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