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Sound of Music Halls

June 06, 1987

God save the Queen and any other music hall buff if "the pale expatriate palace of varieties" at the Variety Arts Center is the last surviving lump of British vaudeville ("Now Take the British Music Hall--Please" by Paul Dean, May 13).

Fortunately, this isn't true.

The Players Theatre, currently situated underneath the arches on London's Villiers Street in the premises once occupied by Gattie's (itself a well-known music hall in the 1860s) was formed by Peter Ridgeway and Leonard Sachs in October, 1936.

Billed as London's only Victorian music hall, it dishes out entertainment introduced by the chairman from his position in a box off the stage and to the left.

A (recent) call to the Players Theatre confirmed that they are still flourishing, still dishing out Victorian fare and have no plans to quit.

It is true that most of the old music halls are no more or have been taken over by cinemas, but that is also true of many legitimate theaters.

It is not the love of music hall that has died, but the music halls themselves. The melodies linger on. As long as there's a pub with a piano, a couple of pints balanced precariously on the top, a bloke to thump out a tune and a roomful of Brits to join in the chorus, music hall will never die.

The last outpost of British music hall in Los Angeles? What a load of codswallop!

DOREEN MURPHY

Los Angeles

Murphy is a former employee of the Mayfair Music Hall, Santa Monica.

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