Sunday 6 March 2016

Hattie Jacques, Queen of the Music Hall


This is just fantastic. Hattie Jacques was a legendary performer at the renowned Victorian Music Hall, The Players' Theatre in London. Hattie's association with the Players' dated from the 1940s right through until the early 1960s when she was at the height of her fame.

Hattie was beloved by the audiences at the Players' for her wonderful comedy timing, raucous energy and sublime singing voice. She was very often the star of the show and apparently played one of the very best Fairy Godmothers in Christmas pantomime. It was also at the Players' that Eric Sykes first met Hattie. It was an auspicious meeting as the pair would go on to forge a highly successful partnership on stage and screen for over twenty years. 

Sadly barely any footage remains of Hattie Jacques at the Players', however this wonderful recording has surfaced on YouTube. In it, Hattie performs a classic Music Hall number, The Bird On Nellie's Hat. It displays many of Hattie's wonderful gifts - she has a beautiful singing voice, a terrific sense of comedy and clearly has the audience eating out the palm of her hand!

This recording clearly demonstrates just what a talented, clever actress and singer Hattie Jacques was. It is far removed from her stereotypical role as the battleaxe Matron in the Carry On films. It's just a shame we didn't get to see more of this side to Hattie.

And to finish, here's a very brief clip of Hattie in action at The Players':

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