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STAGE JOTTINGS., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909
March 29 to April B.—("Sixes and Sevens' April 10 and onwards Pollard Opera Company.
OPERA HOUSE. Fuller's Pichirei ItOIAU ALBERT HALL Nifhtly—Royal tlcturei.
TIVOLI THEATRE. Nightly.—West's Pictures,
The Royal Comic Opera Company open in Wellington about the middle of next week. Their pieces for the New Zealand tour are "The Merry Widow," "The Girls of Gottenburg," and "The Dairymaids." The opening piece is naturally the Widow. Mies Florence Young, is to be. given an opportunity of appearing in the name part. The original in Australia was, of course, Mies Carrie Moore, and her successor, the dainty Betty Ohls. The first-named lacked nothing in intensity, of acting, but was hardly an ideal Merry Widow. Miss Ohls lacked the intensity, but wne more pleasing.' Miss Young will have a distinct advantage overdue other two in her voice, but beyond this it is a little difficult to imagine her making a success of Lehar's heroine. Miss Fanny Dango is with the Royal Comics now and will in this piece play the small part of Fifi. W. 8. Percy, the popular New Zealander, has made Niech one of his best impersonations and Mr Victor Gouriet is another and more amusing General Dcs Ifs as Baron Popoff. It was almost inevitable that the patriotic note struck in "An Englishman's H6m#' should quickly find an echo on the variety stage (says the "Daily Telegraph"). Aβ a matter, of fact, Mr. John L. Shine, seeing his opportunity in Major Guy dv Maurier's much-discussed play, has written a sketch in three scenes, entitled, "Invasion 1 or Wake Up, England I" which he hopes to produce very shortly at on* of the West End halls. Among the latest recruits from the regular to the variety stage is the wellknown actor Mr. Louis Calvert. Miss Elsie Craven, "the Queen of the Fairies," has made her debut at the London Coliseum, at, to quote the managerial statement, "the largest sum paid at any time to a dancer of eleven years," namely, £ 100 per week. "This achievement," the writer adds, "has rarely been equalled by even the most famous premieres danseuees." We can readily believe it, and the question naturally suggests itself: If Miss Craven can earn so much at eleven, what is her remuneration likely to be nt twenty-five 1 Unfortunately, a directly progressive ratio is not always to be reckoned on in.these matters." Mr Lewis Waller has appeared in a military play entitled "The Chief of Staff" at the Lyric Theatre. Miss Madge Titheradge, daughter of Mr Geo. H. Titheradge, appears prominently in the play. Colonel Ramaciotti, a partner of Mr. J. C. Williamson, theatrical manager, has been appointed Officer Commanding the New South Wales Militia. The King saw fifteen . plays during 1 f>08; the Queen visited thirty theatres, and went eleven times to the opera; while the Prince and Princese of Wales attended the theatre together seventeen times, and the Princess paid fourteen additional vis-its. "What Every Woman Knows" was a general favourite, whilst "The Merry Widow" was similarly appreciated. That excited perron, Ada Ward, the converted actress, has again struck this suffering country, with a nine months' engagement from the Salvation Army. At the end of that time the amazing lady Bays she is going tack to the stage, which she has so often denounced. She doesn't want to return to the garishnese of the footlights for worldly reasons, but she desires to labour among her fellowprofessionals and point out to them the straight and narrow path. Unfortunately, there may be a difficulty about finding an engagement. Even the ordinary, everyday Ada Ward of old times wasn't a etar of such magnitude ag to be in great demand. An older Ada, with a Teputation as a wild and woolly preacher, will probably be in less demand. And an Ada who avowedlyl intends to speak to the leading lady about her soul, and to become a nuisance by dropping a word in season to the trombone man, may be in no demand at all. —"Bulletin." The alleged Chinese wonder-worker at Melbourne Opera House produces a plump young woman out of a revolving glass case that is vieible to the audience a!l the time (says the "Bulletin"). The plump and pleasing ono simply materialises at first vaguely, then definitely, before the eyes of the people. "Great Scotland!" ejaculated a bald man in the D.C. the other night, "docs he get 'em fresh every evening?" Another member of the House of Lord Aljerdftre has been married to a musical comedy actress. This is Captain Reginald Wyndham Bruce, a cousin of the Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruce, Lord Aberdare's heir, and MLss Camille Clifford's husband. He woe married at Eastbourne to Miss Addie Lewis, one of "The Three Little Maids" at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Mies Ola Humphries will fill the leading part in the Australian production of the new play, "An Englishman's Home," *>hich last month created such a sensation in London. The difference between Shakespeare and our modern playwright is not merely the divergence of genius (say? "Black and White"), it is a difference of the point of view. Barrie writes the moet amusing entertainments. "What Every Woman Knows" is brilliantly funny. It is quite as funny as many of Shakespeare's comedy scenes, but it differs from them in this—that whereas Shakespeare's comedy was genuine, the comedy of life, Barries comedy fa pure fnrce; it is only a little more closely related to real life than a pantomime act. A balcony for ladies only is one of the recent innovations at the Boston Theatre, and it is usually well filled. Innumerable memories of bright, pleasant and mirthful moments will be evoked by the announcement that Mr George Grossmith has definitely decided to withdraw from active work (says an exchange.) For something not very far short of 40 jtears he has contributed appreciably to the gaiety of the public, and London will be all the pooror in respect of amusement by his disappearance from the professional platform and stage. In answer to inquiry, Mr Grossmith said he had written during his life some 500 to 600 songs and close upon 100 sketches. "Remember," he continued, "that I am responsible, not only for every word of the dialogue, but also for the lyrics and the music, and you -will understand that such a total represents a very considerable amount of labour. Luckily, it is the kind of work that I found no difficulty in doing anywhere— in a railway train or on board steamer, as easily as in my own etudy."
If the metropolitan theatres h*ve but an indifferently prosperous tale to tell of the past year, many of the music-halls have traversed a path which, if not all the way," is a distinctly pleasant one to look back upon (says a London writer). The Palace declared a dividend of twenty per cent, although the profits would fully have justified double that figure, the Alhambro. yield is 10, and now comes the balance-sheet of the Empire with a distribution of twenty per cent. It is inetrtfctfve to note that the item of "entertainment and other receipts" furnishes a total of £105,023 10/-, a sum which even the largest and most successful theatre would find it hard to parallel. Taking the number of performances given during the course of the year at 303—the official figure—this means that the average evening's takings reach the very large amount of just upon £3f)o. Mr Herbert Clayton has arrived in Australia to take a leading part in the new musical comedy company the Williamson firm are organising. While we did not see him in Auckland, Herbert Clayton was the real backbone of the "Merrymakers," whom in conjunction with.G. P. Huntley he had selected. Leaving the combination after some legal difficulties as to the breaking of his contract, he proceeded Home to take a part in the new Hirntley piece 'The Honourable Phil, , in which he had collaborated. " The venture was not a great success. Several other artists are arriving for the new company.
Referring to the much-discussed play, "An Englishman's Home," Mr William Archer, in a lecture at the Royal Institution, remarked that it was not a great work of art. He was far from pretending that force of impact afforded an invariable standard of artistic merit, nor was he concerned as to the precise lesson to, be deduced from the play nor as to the value of that lesson. What he did wish to point out was that, for good or ill, this simple two hours' drama had had more effect in stirring the national mind than volumes of disquisition, columns of oratory, or even startling and widely-adver-tised efforts of alarmist fiction. (Hear, hear.)
Now here's a pretty state of things! I have culled the three following paragraphs from three of the leading papers in the Commonwealth:—"Susan Nipper," in the Melbourne "Sporting and Dramatic Newe" of March 18th, says: "Herbert Clayton arrived. Looking happier than when we saw him last, as thts departing proprietor of the luckless "Merrymakers." Herbert is the better half of dainty Betty Ohls, and returns 'to find the little lady ready for sympathy and care. Quite an ideal find" in these days of dead romance." "Akenehi" in the ''Bulletin"' of March 18th, says: "There ie no surcease in tho harvesting of the orange-blossom crop. Miss Betty Ohls, the comic opera sparklet, has accepted a devoted admirer, Mr. Cecil McQuade, of Potts Point. Pretty Betty has been in hospital for some weeks, with .appendicitis playing the evil etar role, and the bridegroom-elect waiting on the mat in an atmosphere of anxiety and chloride of lime." Whilst another Sydney paper says: "The Auckland barrister to whom Miss Betty Ohls is to b« married is a by no means insignificant versifier. He ie also a fine-looking mnn, a bon vivant, and a splendid pleader."
Mr Rock Phillips, the designer of stage properties for the J. C. Williamson firm, has an axiom that there is nothing that cannot bo imitated with cardboard' and. brown paper. During the past week he has made several thousand cigars out of the latter material —pure Cuban leaf they will masquerade as in "Havana. ,, They are warranted to deceive even an excise officer, and as every smoker knows to his cost, it would not be the first time that the trick has been perpetrated on that official. It is to be hoped that none of Mr Phillips's "two-fers" will be get on to the local market. A bill for the suppression of stage-door callers has been introduced into the New York State Legislature. The measure provides for the registration of all male patrons of a theatre who desire to send notes to any actress appearing in the play. Under its provisions all theatrical managers must keep registration lists of visitors, and all persons sending notes to actresses must sign their names and state whether they ara married" or single. If it is found that the sender is married the note will be preserved and sent to his wife. If a false name or address is given the signer will be punishable by imprisonment or fine. Vaudeville, in its permanent cense, having "gone under" to the übiquitous picture shows in New Zealand, Mr. Harry Rickards is looking to this country as a field of operations for some of the best artists now under his control. The first Rickards show will be headed by the incomparable Cinquevalli, who dispenses amazement with, if anything, more finish than ever. He still juggles thrillingly with the 251b cannon ball, which he throws high into the air, nnrl catches between his shoulder blades, with the same skill as ever. Everybody says "He'll do it ovge too often!" But Cinquevalli goes on year after year dispensing thrills, and the "once too often" is as far off as we all wish it to be. Ho will bo supported by the Latonas, a musical comedy team, Guest and Newlyn, comedy artists, and McKinnon's Scottish Meisters. The compan}' will commence a tour of Now Zealand at Dunedin on April 5, and will work north with Mr. Fred Aydon as manager. The second big Rickards show will be headed by that important personage Chung Lung Soo, a celebrated Chinese illusionist, who carries with him a company of ten assistants, and who is at present packing the Opera House in Melbourne. Chung claims to receive a salary of £250 a week, which entitles him to be considered a star of the first magnitude. He will open in Dunedin on May 31, other centres to be visited in geographical order. Mr. Mans, manager for Mr. Rickards at Sydney, informed the writer that, if both companies are successful in avoiding losing money in New Zealand, Mr. Rickards will probably appoint a permanent manager in New Zealand, who, as soon as one company finishes at Auckland, will go South to pick up its successor—and there will always be a successor.
I regret to say that the theatre has been designated by many from the pulpit ancl platform as an abode for vice. We are maligned by scores of excited bigots, who have never been within the walls ot a theatre. They have the audacity to pass sentence upon us, and on the plays produced, utterly regardless of ocular demonstration. The most blissful hours of my existence have been passed on the stage, and in the company of my brother and sister artists. I am proud to state that during my professional career I have never received anything appertaining to an insult. On the contrary, I have received many kindnesses, and made many friends in my profession—ladies and gentlemen of refinement a.nd culture, who are capable of moving in the highest social circle, and possessing far nobler natures and more.commendable attributes ■than those who malign and tarnish them. —Miss Eugenic Duggan (from footlights interview). THE DEADHEAD.
STAGE JOTTINGS., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909
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