Gwen Farrar & Norah Blaney Book Launch in Brighton on 25th October
Tell Me I’m Forgiven
This autumn sees the publication of a biography of two women music hall performers who were household names in 1924. Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney met each other performing in Lena Ashwell’s pioneering concert parties for troops in World War 1. They were classically trained musicians but turned their hand to comedy when fellow performer Wish Wynne broke her leg. Norah performed songs at the piano which Gwen sent up with peculiar noises and comedy tricks which included picking up her cello and playing it like a banjo.
When they came back from France they were mentored by ventriloquist Arthur Prince and were soon topping the bill at music halls all over the UK. They performed in the first of the regular Royal Variety Shows at the London Hippodrome in November 1921 and were called ‘ the premier British double turn at the piano.’ (Sunday Post in 6th November 1921).
In 1924 they recorded the hit song It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More and scored a huge success in The Punch Bowl revue at the Duke of York’s Theatre.
The ups and downs of their career and love lives is explored in detail for the first time in Alison Child’s biography: Tell Me I’m Forgiven:The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney.
Alison Child will be giving a talk about Blaney & Farrar on Thursday 9th April 2020 as part of the British Music Hall Society’s ‘In The Limelight’ evenings.