MIMES AND MUSIC.
(By " Orpheus, "i
THE SHOWS. ' OPERA~HOUSE. "Butterflies," 7th to 16th March. THEATRE ROYAL. Brennan-Fullers' Vaudeville Company. HIS 'MAJESTY'S. Fullers' Pictures. 'THE! KING'S THEATEB, Royal and West's Picture*, STAR THEATRE. Star Picture Compauy. ST. THOMAS'S HALL., Fullers' Pictures. EMPRESS THEATRE. Continuous Pictures. ' THE NEW THEATUB. Continuous Pictures. ' SHORTT'S THEATRE. Continuous Pictures. ■ PEOPLE'S PICTURE PALACE. Continuous Pictures." Seemingly "The Butterflies" Company^ which opens its season in the Opera House this- evening, is a show above the average. A South African paper has this to say : — "We feel inclined to be quite enthusiastic over the 'Butterflies ' We have tio hesitation in saying that they are easily the best company, in their own line^ that has yet appeared hece. Though the show could easily hold its own without accessories, yet the effect is considerably enhanced by the dainty dresses and setting. Our best comment is that we went to criticise and remained to enjoy ourselves. An extreme vitality is a characteristic of the performers, particularly in the case of Mr. Jack Waller and Miss Cecilia Gold. Miss Marion Armitage is that rare swan, a genuine lady comedian 5 and both, Miss' Ada Smart and Mr. Fos-ter-Hipe possess good voices, well handled. It is- imposible to discriminate in the items where- all -ai'e of the best. We unhesitatingly recommend the 'Butterflies' as * a show on no account to be missed." The arrattgenients-for the coming Wil-" liafflson attractions are now fairly complete, and as far. as they go show that following '"The Blue Bird," which will open at Auckland at Easter, " will come "Puss in Boots" pantomime in. July, "with Julius Knight Company in "Milestones" and "Bella Donna" about August. In* October, and playing through Ctfristchurch Carnival Week in November, will come the Koyal Comic Opera Company, producing "The Quaker Girl" and "The Sunshine Girl." A dramatic company will follow at Christmas. Next year tho Quinlan Opera Company and Lewis Waller will tour New Zealand. " It is almost dertain that Miss Dulcie French, sister of Cyril French, who played the boy part in " Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford," will tour the Dominion playing one of the most important parts in "The Blue Bird." Miss French is ten years of -age, but her .experience ranges from grand opera to pantomime. In the Australian production of "The Blue Bird/ 1 she played the Unborn Tyl Child, and under-studied Miss Gertie Creamer, who played Tyl. Miss Creamer is also looked upon as one of the probabilities for the New Zealand tour. Miss French is a younger sister of Miss Kathleen French, who will be remembered .with the Andrew Mack Company about six years ago. Mi 1 . George Edwardes has had undei* consideration two different pieces for production at the London Gaiety — one a German comic opera, the other a musiai piece by Mr. Paul A. Rubens. It is upon the first that his choice has now definitely fallen, and it will succeed "The Sunshine Girl" soon after Easter. "Filmzauber" ("The 'Wonders of Films ") was originally performed at the Berliner Theatre, Berlin, in October last, and has since bean successfully played throughout that 'country. It is frankly described as. a farce, and, as its name implies, the klnemafcograph is an important factor in the development of the story. Mr. J. T. Tanner is to take the original in hand and adapt it to the requirements of' the Gaiety stage, while the German score will be reinforced by the addition of half a dozen new numbers. t , According to Mr. James M.. Glover, the pantomime conductor at Drury-lane, Mis 3 Nejlie Stewart paved the way for the ragtime craze in London. , Chatting the day after the latest production, " The Sleepless Beauty," on 26th, December, Mr. Glover said: "'ln a short time, no doubt, ragtime' will be succeeded by some other craze. But as to the first introduction of the fever into this country, Miss Nellie Stewart did a ragtime drum solo in her Drury-lane pantomime (' The Forty Thieves ') engagement, now fourteen years ago. For a long time about the same period two, artists, Griffin and Dubois, had an 'act' to the same irritating syncopation." Miss Stewart learned tor play' the- drum when she was 'cast for Griolet in the opera "Le Tambour Major." And if the older generation was asked, probably they would say that that is the part in which they firet learned to like her— the work from which all the later adulation has sprung. There was an amount of realism in an incident in the Asche-Brayton matinee performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Melbourne Theatre Royal recently, that was not suspected by the audience in front. It took place in the wood scene, where Mr. Asche, as Bottom, lies down 1 on the fairy bower/and is supposed to sleep. Now, Mr. Asche had volunteered to present,- with Mi*. Grimwood, the quarrel scene from "Julius Caesar" at the Captain Scott memorial matinee at the Theatre Royal, and^while lying down he went through it all in his mind, and became so absorbed in it that, with his head comfortably pillowed, and some moments of leisure before him, he slipped off into a real sleep. In relating the incident with much amusement, Mr. Asche said : "How it was, I don't know, but 'l knew nothing more until I awoke just , at the very second my cue came. If I had not done so, imagine the position — the stage waiting for me, or, .possibly, someone would have had to awaken me. Such a thing has never happened in all my experience.'* "Kismet," magnificently staged in Paris, did not please the French critics, who remarked that it betrayed "the grave puerility" of the Anglo-Saxon race. Robert de Flers, the dramatist who writes for the Paris "Figaro" declares Kismet is. notable "for scenery and murder, and would be an ordinary near-Eastern-blood-and-thunder piece if it weren't that Allah himself plays the chief role in it. It is hard, on Allah, too, he continues, that so many thefts, murders, and so on should come out of all" the praying. The characters of the drama would be sympathetic if they had a little time free from murdering to talk to us about their feelings." "Cc diable, d'Allah" 13 responsible for that, though. The chief value of "Kismet," de Flers goes on, is its reproduction of the Orient on ,a physical basis. The destiny business of M. Knoblauch is "of a profound banality, or, if you prefer, of a banal profundity." Herr Patty Frank, leader 'and controller of the troupe bearing his name, now appearing at the Opera House in Melbourne, is a teacher of .acrobats of long standing. "I don't want a boy too young," he says. "Let me have a lad of thirteen, and it iL is in him I will make a fine acrobat of him. My hrst test is a simple one. i will tell him to jump off a. table. If he jumps off in a heap be is vx> xocxiL and will be e&aii to kam
.ailoring, or something that doesn't re]uire agility. But if he lands in a springy, upright style, I go on with the lext test. That is to put him on top >f a three-man pyramid. I make him ;tand on the shoulders of the top man. rf he shows feai* I show him the door, jut if he doesn't I proceed to make an icrobat of him. Of course, his eyesight has to be tested, for a man with bad eyes would bring disaster to a troupe, and might mean the death of a fellow per- ( former. Our work is as quick as that of : 1 juggler. Of course, a juggler manipulates plates and smaller articles, but we dandle men only, and we cannot afford to bredk too many of them." The first appearance of the Royal Comic Opera Company as Christy Minstrels at the Scott Fund matinee in Sydney a few weeks ago afterwards raised j some debate in theatrical circles. Why "Christy?" was demanded; and vaTying explanations were given. However, we ' have now before us an article on the subject, written in 1882 by H. P. Grattan. He begins,: "In the fall of 1842, after playing ah engagement at the Park Theatre, then the only legitimate temple of the drama in New York" — -in itself an interesting historical statement in relation to a city which 70 years later can boast more than 40 play houses. It seems that from the Park Theatre the visitor went to Buffalo, and on the third day after his arrival was taken to a lake-side (Lake Erie) house of entertainment where handsome Ned Christy, his brother George, and a man named Vaughn, rendered ' with humour and charm such darkie ditties as "Ole Ban Tucker," and "Hop light, Loo, and 6how your pretty feet." Burnt cork had not then been discovered ; -lamp-black was used. The visitor arranged for the appearance of these clever musicians, with bones, banjo, tambos, and similar instruments (they all played double) at the Buffalo Theatre, and this formed the initial success of a continuous tour which brought them to New York only as long after as 1847. A few yearn later, the founder of the first Christy Minstrels became a wealthy man — but an unhappy one. When the Northerners received a temporary check .at Bull's Run, poor Christy got it into his head that the Confederates would capture New York and confiscate his great possessions. Melancholia supervened, and eventually ho committed suicide by jumping in despair from an upper window of his lordly residence. ' During the hearing at Bow-street (London) the other day of an application for licenses to enable children to take ' part in theatrical . performances, the ' Magistrate (Sir Albert De Rutzen) said that he- knew from experience that children employed on the stage -received large salaries. Unfortunately, in most cases,' he continued, nearly all the money went into,,the pockets of the parents, and nothing was set aside for the-chil-dren. The other day he heard of a case of an Englishwoman, the mother of five children, who gof hold of a child from Paris and put her on the stage. The child received a very large salary, but practically all of it was retained by the woman. It was a great pity, he added, that this question could not be settled on the terms contained in a letter he had received from a gentleman at the head of the theatrical profession, who urged that it was high time to make some arrangement for the benefit of the children whose parents lived on their earnings. The solicitor who made the application said he was sure that theatre managers woujd be very pleased if some condition could be attachedto children's licenses to ensure part of their earnings being set aside for their benefit. The licenses were granted. In another case ! a barrister, who applied for licenses on behalf of two children, said that their ' combined earnings would be about £5 a, week. Their father was managing the production for which their services were required, and their- mother took the leading fart at a salary of £25 a week. The whole of the money earned by the children would be set aside for their benefit. This application, was adjourned, as sufficient notice had not been given to tho police. Mr. Haddon Chambers's recent visit to New York resulted in a definite arrangement being concluded between him and Mr. Charles Frohman for the English and American production of the new play upon which he has been at work for some time past. "Mr. Chambers has left for the Riviera with the object of completing the two unfinished acts of the piece, writes the dramatic critic of the London Telegraph. That it appears, is an adaptation of Anne Douglas Sedgwick's popular novel, "Tante. ' In New York the principal part is to be played by Miss Ethel Barrymore. "Here," writes Mr. Frohman, "you have a unique type, of stage heroine, that of a very marriageable young lady who revels in excitement. Is there anyone who has not : met the kind of woman who lives on excitement, who does not in the least Blind an automobile accident, a house .on fire, or 'even a shipwreck, provided the calamity offers her a good acting part with, preferably, the centre of the stage? Such is the chief character in Air. Chambers's new play." Those familiar with Miss Sedgwick's novel will probably find it a little difficult, however, to reconcile this description with Miss Sedgwick's own portrait of Karen Woodruff, the real heroine of "Tante.'.' That there is an abundance of excellent material in the book for an interesting play will, .on the other hand, be generally admitted. The following cable message appeared in Sydney Sun last week:— "The latest .example of novelty in matters theatrical comes from New York. One of the managers there conceived the idea of sending the chorus girls around barelegged among the audience, and the plan was tried a night or two ago. The ladies paraded through the stall:*, and the innovation has caught on. Everybody .is talking about it." New York, says > the Sun, appears to ' have gone a trifle further than Australia, which, how, ever, has already experienced the thrill of seeing the stockingless chorus girl. She is appearing freely on the Melbourne stage, and society journals there are devoting columns to gloating over the shapely limbs arid lovely curves, unhidden even by pink' silk,' that are seen through the diaphanous robes." The fate of a name is curious at times. In the New Zealand Spectator published 17th November, 1847, in 'the amusement column there appear advertisements in reference to "Fuller's Theatre." This theatre was situated at the J'ear, of the Ship Hotel, , and ,the Ship Hotel was somewhere in the vicinity of Gurney's basketwara shop, Manners-street. It is needless to add that the proprietor of FulleVs Theatre in 1847 was in no way connected with the present successful Fuller Broprietary, who have so many theatres throughout New Zealand. The act to be presented by the electrical marvel, Electra, at the Theatre Royal next week is said to be of the most startling nature imaginable. EJectra has' on- many occasions demonstrated his ability to take huge voltages through his body without suffering any ill-effects. One of his many playful feats, it is said, is to ■ stand on a tramway track and stop an oncoming car by drawing all the current into his body. For doing this without permission he was heavily fined at Minneapolis, U.S.A. A , double cinematograph theatre, claimed to be the first of its kind, has been opened at Cleveland (U.S.A.). It is equipped with two picture machines, and the two shows are run simultaneously. The patrons enter the theatro and take seats, on the right side, from which position one screen is on view. When the complete programme has teen 'shown on this screen it is only necessary to move to a seat on the opposite side to sea an entirely different programme, and all for the price of a single .admission.. .