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AMUSEMENTS, Issue 15682, 22 December 1914
The picture drama ‘ Home, Sweet Home,’ was revealed to the Dunedin public at tne Octagon Theatre last night, and it is safe to say that it fronted an impression on mind and heart that will remain considerably longer than is ususl in the case of photo plays. ‘Home. Sweet Home’ is the picturisation of that old, old song that every man, woman, and child knows so well, and which somehow touches a responsive chord even in the unsentimental. The play is divided into six parts, the first two of which depict incidents in tho life of John Howard Payne, author and actor, and composer of tho immortal hallad. The story begins when Payne is leaving his homo to go uponl the stage, and from the time a window is lifted and the mother is seen parting from her son until the latter’s death in Tunis, it ,1s absorbingly interesting. It is a story, indeed, which might be told of many a man of special mental and, it might be added, physical endowments. Payne gets his chance, succeeds on tho stagehand is surrounded by temptations that prove too strong for him. In a story that abounds in tender pathos, one of tho best scenes is that in which Payne’s mother and ‘ sweetheart come to town to visit him, and surprise him in a carouse with some drunken comrades: the sorrow of the mother and the strong faith of the sweetheart, and, afterwards, the penitence of the culprit—penitence which, Ellas, is short-lived—ls admirably acted. Later, penniless and friendless, Payne composes the sontr which, has become his monument, then dies a lonely death. The next three parts serve to show the influence exercised by the song on. the lives of different people in different situations, and each one is a powerful story in itself. A strong touch of comedy—-good comedy—is introduced in the first episode, where the acting of Miss Mae Marsh as “ Apple Pie Mary” was delightful. There is a love interest, of course, with Mary and a young Easterner as the principals. The latter is on tho point of proving unfaithful and marrying another girl, but memories are aroused, and Ho is brought to a sense of honor by the strains of ‘ Home. Sweet Horae,’ the humble means being an old man and an accordion. In each, of the next two acts a woman, is swayed by the repetition of the air, which they had heard on certain momentous occasions ra their lives, and are saved from the ein of, in one case, murder, and in the other vnfa)thfulness. Tho final act is in the form of an allegory, showing Payne’s rescue from Avernus bv the sacred influence of his song. ‘Horne, Sweet Home’ is a play in which, the situations are rarely, if ever, overstrained, and one which leaves an impression of daintiness and taste, a k . the same time a depth of feeling. During the course of the drama Mrs Reggiardo sings the famous song very nicely, and on appropriate occasions the air is played, first on an accordion, then on a guitar, and finally on a 'iolin. The supporting films are ‘ His Wife's Burglar,’ a diverting comedy, and a very interesting Gaamont Budget, comprising scenes in connection with the war. The programme will he repeated all this week. PRINCESS THEATRE. The Princess Theatre will be opened again on Monday evening. The management announces that among the many star acts is that of Herman and Shirley, a turn that for attractiveness has seldom been equalled in vaudeville entertainment. Billed as the “ Mysterious Masqueraders, these wonderful people give a performance that is described as marvellous. Iho Wellington ‘ Times' says: “ Seldom, if gygf has such a wonderful act been presented. Such bodily contortions and double dislocations, combined with a great fund of come'dy and grotesque dancing, has rarely been witnessed." This act may be classed among the best three imported by the Fulleu-Brennan proprietary during tho last 12 months.”* THE KENNEDYS. Tliis family, who open their season of seven nights on Boxing Night at Burns Hall, are undoubtedly a most compact and capable combination of musical artists. The Kennedys number four—Madame Bertha Kennedy (pianist), and her three sons—Laurie (cellist), Lance (flautist and basso), and Keith (violinist). The boys are all “ double-handed," and each plays more than one instrument. The supporting vocalists are Miss Dorothy Grace (soprano) and Miss Rose Fitzgerald (contralto). The delightful entertainment which the Kennedys provide is one that is sure to meet -with acceptance during the festive holiday season.
GEORGE WILLOUGHBY DRAMATIC
All ancient cities in the Old World are full of romance, and George R. Sims has accordingly laid the story of ‘The Ever Open Door,’ to he produced at His Majesty’s Theatre on Boxing night by the George Willoughby Company, in the “ Hidden Westminster,” unknown to the great world of London, though within, the shadow of St. Stephen’s. This drama (the 60th the veteran journalist has written) is in part a study of slum and mission life. Mulberry Court, where the boy earl, the hero of the play, was brought up by a burglar and a “ singing woman (a woman who pretends to be a widow and sings for alms in the street), is shown on the stage with its faded decorations exactly as it stood .when the piece was written two years ago. All of the scenery is typical of the “ London ” of Ion? ago, and is from the brush of_ Mr John S. Mann, who was brought specially from America some time ago by George Willoughby, Ltd., to mount their different dramas, which he has continued to do in a manner that has given delight to many thousands in Australia-. The box plan opened at the Dresden this morning, and seats may now be booked for any of the seven nights of the season, for whicn no booking fee is charged.
AMUSEMENTS, Issue 15682, 22 December 1914
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