The GREAT DEVILLE

AT INVERNESS THEATRE ROYAL
Autumn 1921

A pleasant-faced khaki-clad figure stepped on to the stage at Inverness Theatre Royal on Monday and Tuesday evenings. His spare form did not suggest the achievement of great feats of endurance. And yet this was the great Deville himself - a perfect wizard.
   Everything that Deville claims he can do he sets out to accomplish. His escape from the trunk of death is a baffling mystery. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Deville will make his escape from the Devil's Cell.
   This young man seems to have all the attributes of the wizard. And on top of it all there is an entire absence of swagger. It is this, along with his invitation to members of the audience to examine the complete paraphernalia that raises one's appreciation higher and higher of the amazingly clever performance of Deville.
   The remainder of the programme at the Theatre is one of pleasant variety. Miss Elsie Cassellis has a big future before her as a singer and dancer. Her impersonation of the bibulous "Nut" was a masterpiece. Miss Jose Velma is applauded for her clever dancing, and Tony Walsh (comedy juggler) "tells the tale" with delightful abandon in the midst of his difficult work. A. J. Gamble's impersonation of certain types of amateur reciters was a splendid hit at those who "elocute" their hearers. The Spiridions in their pot pourri act supply plenty of thrills and amusement.

Magic Wand
Vol. 18, page 80, 1929

"The curtain rises to disclose a full stage setting, a production cabinet on familiar lines occupying the centre of the stage. The front curtain of this closes mysteriously and is suddenly whipped back to disclose Deville. He is dressed in regulation khaki uniform. The curtain is drawn again for a moment and the cabinet now produces a uniformed attendant and a lady assistant.
   A canvas cabinet illusion is the next offering. The lady is handcuffed and incarcerated in the cabinet, which is bolted together under the supervision of a committee from the audience. A large canopy is lowered from the flies. The performer steps within and draws the front curtain. In a few seconds the lady steps out free and it is subsequently discovered that Deville occupies her place in the cabinet. The item is smartly worked. Two rope tying feats (both familiar to the adept) are now offered as an interlude, these being followed by the final sensation.
   A heavy black trunk (apparently zinc lined and of a size to only just contain the performer) is examined by the committee. This is now filled with water, almost to the top. Deville enters attired in bathing trunks and is handcuffed with three pairs of irons. He steps into the trunk and is instantly submerged, the water overflowing. The lid is rapidly closed and then padlocked by the committee. The canopy is hastily dropped and the curtains drawn. The lady assistant stands by, watch in hand, and the male attendant is armed with a formidable axe as a protection against the worst. A somewhat protracted interval (or so it seemed) elapsed, and then Deville appears free from the fetters. The trunk is opened and the handcuffs are recovered from the bottom of the box.
   Deville issues two challenges, one for 100 and one for 500. The latter is to be paid if stage traps are used, and the former, we could not quite catch the details. The performer was obviously in the throes of a severe cold, and small wonder!
   A clever show, but a trifle slow in presentation. It could be worked--excepting the final effect--in silence and minus a committee, and would possibly create an even better effect on the audience."

First Page
First Page
Biography
Biography
On Stage
On Stage
Bits and Pieces
Bits & Pieces
Bits and Pieces
Larger Pictures

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© RAF, 2001. All primary copyrights acknowledged.