The Loftus Troupe.
There is not very much that can be called instructing in the performances of the Loftus Troupe. Further than giving another lesson of our pom- humanity, in showing how far men and women can be degraded, and yet have the effrontery to claim to be considered respectable, they teach nothing. Their singing is nothing to go into ecstacies about, we have seen better dancing outside a penny sliow, and the troupe all through have yet to become actors and actresses. Truth may be elastic, but no man with any regard for truth at all could so stretch it as to include a statement that Ihe “ blondes”— powder and paint blondes—of the Loftus Company were pretty. The pieces they get up are not clever, and have no merit in them more than what might be possessed by any piece written by any literary hack standing upon leg. Tile jokes they retail have long since become musty, and have haunted the stage and circus ring for years. The only prominent features in the whole turnout, are the gross vulgarity of the performances, and the indecently suggestive action—not so much of the men as of the women. It is strange, but no less true, that in these enlightened times of high - toned Christianity, these same prominent features are the attractions that draw to the Loftus troupe's performances the crowds of male patrons who assemble to be entertained, not by the wit of the jokes—they are too flat to raise a laugh—not by the dancing, as dancing it is poor ; not by the acting—a local dramatic club of pick rnd shovel men would be ashamed of it—but simply by the filth badly insinuated, and the indecent gestures openly perpetrated. Yet this troupe have travelled the colony and made money—filled their coffers at a time when everyone was crying out about the financial depression, and when hundreds of the workers were dying for bread ; at a time when sterling merit in lie theatres and concert rooms could carcely earn a livelihood. Auckland allowed the troupe to go away with only a faint newspaper condemnation. Wellington through its Press fiercely condemned them, and refused to notice the performances. But the town walls were placarded with the life-sized pictures of almost naked women, and vicious men rushed to the theatre. The same thing happened in Christchurch, hut it was not till the shameless pack reached Dunedin that the faintest attempt to stop the indecency by the hand of the law was made. And that attempt is a miserable failure, through ono of those wretched leaal technicalities that so often cause justice to miscarry. We will not go into the legal merits of the case. When an Attorney-General brings off the women scot free, telling the Magistrate there virtually exists no law under which such performers can be punished for their arross outrage upon public decency, we are bound to believe that it is so. But the failure of the prosecution only shows that machinery ought to exist, competent as promptly to remove an offender on the statre against the public sense of decency as that which can be put in force against immorality on the street. We hope the Legislature will not rise this session until it has placed the country in possession of a law that will make a tour to drop moral filth impossible, and save the colony from a repetition of Loftus exhibitions.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 17, 4 November 1879
The Loftus Troupe. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 17, 4 November 1879
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