Observer, Rōrahi XXXVI, Putanga 20, 20 Kohitātea 1917, Page 6
THE Opera House bill this week is. worthy the discriminating examination of the fastidious patron of amusement jfcreias:. The attendances are highly satisfactory. Iris and Wynne have seized the inspirational moment when the Czar's legions are again oiling the steamroller to produce a dance intended to indicate the nationality and spirit of the vast country over which the "Little Father" reigns. It is novel, clover, and inspiring. Harry Little has a large selection of popular song's which he renders with vigour and expression. He lifts the audience with him, and they part with him sadly. James Dunn is an artist whose genius in reproducing natural noises not usually credited to human beings is phenomenal. He gives a highly interesting yarn about the trip in the Maitai, and has a quaint and excellent sense of humour and a novel way of expressing it. Cowman is a gentleman with tendencies to magic, his strength lying in the novelty of his tricks and his method. Madame Alverna and. M. Jean Laerte have been received with acclamation. Madame has. a soprano voice of great power, range and flexibility, using it with ease and dramatic, fervour. M. Laerte plays the piano, the violin, or the oboe. Both are musicians of more than ordinary power and distinction. The Three Ruddles have a new and distinctly novel act. The De Baker's classic posing remains one of the nicest little exhibitions seen of late. "The Dcvons" have their sweet musical turn. Alsace, the violinist, is in good form, and Scott Gibson, the Scotch comedian, makes good fun.
Mr Albert Newoomb's Anglo- Chinese play, "In the Service of Love," played at the King's Theatre by Mr Brandon-Cremer's Company,* interested numbers of people who knew that Mr Newcomb is an Auckland playwright. The plot, novel in construction, is the outcome of the author's long experience of the Chinese character, and concerns the machinations of a band of rebels who murder the parents of a little boy, who is thereafter cared for by his Chinese nurse. The chief scoundrel is Cotter, who "has instigated the murders, and who, twenty years after (when the Chinese nurse has adopted the young man) finds the boy is heir to an earldom, and endeavours to "ring in" his own illegitimate son. After many adventures, in which the devotion of the Chinese nurse overcomes great difficulties, the right of the boy is confirmed by a birth mark, and the villains are outed. Mr Maurice Tuohy makes a good Dick Wade (the adopted son). Mr Frank Rees is the prevailing villain, and is applauded with complimentary hisses. Miss Alice Rede charms everybody as the faithful nurse. Mr Kenneth Carlisle is splendid as Kwang Sue, a Chinese. Mr Frank Neil is "Nosey," a fine comedy character. Incidentally, Miss Oliver dances a delightful Russian dance, and Master McGruire sings nicely.
The Brandon-Clreuier Company will commence their fifteenth week at the King's next Saturday with a new American play by Hal. Reid, the author of "The Confession. ' This writer is responsible lor many plays, and is remarkable for his genuinely human pathos. "A Working Girl's Wrongs" gives the audience
some idea of factory. life in Now York, where the conditions of the work and its earning are perhaps more satisfactory than in any other part of the .world. The girl, however, is sometimes persecuted because she. is beautiful, and that is the case with the heroine of this play, who in the first place attracts the attention of her employer,, and is, after her refusal to.fall in with his wishes, made the victim of much cruel persecution. The plot is most interesting, and the comedy side of the play is especially strong. Mr Brandon-Cremer regards it as one of the best plays in a most extensive, repertoire.
A domestic drama ot great pathos and heart interest is "Wasted Years." It is potginant in its appeal, for it shows; a lonely man before whom is re-enacted the sweet years of hfc childhood wondering "what might have been." It is elicited that the years have been wasted because of his early separation from his wife by the machinations of another woman. The story very sweetly shows that the sadness of the intervening years are atoned for by the finding of his daughter— the compensation for wasted yeans.
The eleventh episode of that thrilling story of adventure, "The Mysteries of Myra" is, as usual, replete with vivid sensation. There is a particularly good selection of news pictures, and the Sketch Book No. 10 has much good stuff in it.
Billie Burke, an actress of great notoriety, is to be seen in "Peggy" at the Strand Theatre. It is fine to a degree. It pourtrays with extraordinary vividness the broad human itv of a dashing mischievous girl who upsets the grim conventions of the Presbyterian conscience, and who shows that harshness is not Christianity, and by sheer cheerful devil-may-care converts a bunch of smile-less religionists to humanity, and marries a parson who has hidden his soul under an iron mask. Billie Burke in this picture is generally dressed in. pyjamas, overalls, or trousers, and is often seen tearing through the scenery, in a 60 miles an hour car. She acts with peculiar power, originality and naturalness, and there is true humour mixed with pathos in every yard of the film. Besides this unique comedy drama there are good news piictures and comedies- The Billie Burke picture is drawing wonderfully.
A charming Metro, picture story, "The Light of Happiness," is the leading feature of the Princess Theatie
programme. It deals particularly with the sweeter kind of human nature, and is a refreshing antidote to the cleverly constructed and absorbing "crime" stories which sometimes pall. Viola Dana is "Tangletop," and there is sweet and touching pathos in her playing, and, a* a blind man is restored to sight during the pictorial telling of the story, and there is no particular sin about it, it is very charming. "System in Everything" is a delightful Drew comedy, done in the best style of these highly talented people." Besides there is a good "travel ague," by which ynoans Aucklanders are getting to know the world past Ellerslie a good deal better, and the Topical Journal has a large number of deeply interesting pictures, mainly dealing with military matters.
Australia is bestirring itself in the matter of cinematograph film censorship. Recently a deputation representing film importers of Australasia waited mx Luc Chief Secretary for New South Wales (Mr G. W. Fuller) to obtain information as to the lines to be followed by the N.S.W. Censor Board, and to urge
that, as the importers provided for the whole of Australia, the question should be made a Federal one. Importers should not be put in the position of having a film passed in one State liable to be blocked in another. Mr Fuller said he himself was acting as the Appeal Board. A film going before the- Censor Board, was reported upon to him and if there was any further necessity, he would himself see the .picture at the earliest opportunity. He would have some broad lines laid down, after consultation with the Censor Board, which would assist importers in instructing their buyers abroad. He did not intend that the Board should interfere with ordinary pictures, topical or educational films, or films, based on standard novels or historical episodes. The avoidance of sexual matters, scenes of debauchery and revolting crimes was aimed at. He also promised to write to the Prime Minister on the question of a Federal censorship. He was of opinion there should be one censorship for all over the Commonwealth. <S & * Oscar Strauss, the well-known Austrian composer is dead. "A Waltz Dream" and "The Chocolate Soldier" are among the most notable of his recent works. He was born in Vienna in 1870.
Oscar Wilde's "Salome" is in the repertoire of the Allan Wilkie Co., The much-advertised play was produced during the company's tour of India, China, Japan, and the Philippines, and aroused considerable controversy and excitement. In Manila, when the presentation of "Salome" wae suggested, there was noticeable official alarm. The authorities—who had a vague idea that the play was something on the lines of Maud Allan's famous demonstration in. gauze and beads— sent an officer to report before granting the show a licence. When the official arrived at the theatre, Allan Wilkie and his Co. were rehearsing a comparatively harmless piece by Louis Parker called "The Cardinal." Mistaking this for "Salome," the high official mandarin reported very favourably, whereupon a licence was granted.
Lieutenant Valentine Williams, the former war correspondent and journalist, wlio recently married the Australian actress, Alice Crawford, before leaving for the Front, had a very brief spell of active service. He had hardly arrived in the front line trenches before he was a victim of German gunfire. He h now in a London Hospital nursing a painful, but not dangerous wound.
London "Opinion" tells a yarn about the beauteous.chorus girl who, after years and years of front ioav, again visited her native village with her fiancee. She finds old Sandy, the porter, still at the railway station. To him, haughtily, "Portah! D'you mean to tell me there's not a taxi in this one-horse place?" And Sandy says, "Yell no need ane, Maggie lass—yer faither's just comhi' doon the brae wi' a wheelbarrow."
Rarely has the Australian public been as profoundly stirred in tlu> theatre as by the production of "Damaged Goods," to be presented at Wellington towards the end of January. The problem Brieux treats is a world-wide one, and his dramatic statement of its effect upon every-day life has revealed its .seriousness and awakened parents to the perils that confront the young who are unversed in questions of sex hygiene. A tremendous controversy has raged round the play both in Sydney and Melbourne, but enlightened opinion, representing legislators, the clergy, and medical men vigorously supported the propaganda. The presentation of the.play in both cities has been followed by remarkable activity x on the : part of societies engaged in combatting the social evil as applied to health. Happy is the country that starts its preventive campaign while there is yet time. In New Zealand the problem is being discussed from this point of view, and the Brieux play should serve to show how necessary the spread of
knowledge is. Already in New South Wales as a result of "Damaged Goods" the Methodist Church, sitting in conference, passed a resolution approving of parties about to be married producing health certificates. How vitally the problem affects the race has been demonstrated in the clearest light by Brieux and this, to the fullest extent, justifies "Damaged Goods."