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When a combination of theatrical talont — whether it be dramatic, operatic, comedy, or burlesque— tours under the auspices of Mes<rs Williamson & can always be taken for granted that the arkists are well up in tueir specialities, and that the programme submitted, which will always be fonnd excellent, will be carried out with celerity and with all the up-to-date effects. The first visit to New Plymouth of a company under the direct control of Messrs Williamson and MnsgroVa is, of course, a matter of some concern it> the town, inasmuch, as all depends on the' support accorded as to whether tha towa shall enjoy a continuance of visits from tbo firm's many companio* that peiiodically tour New Zealand. The support accorded the Mataa Vaudeville Company, the first of the Firm's companies to adopt the West Ooaet route in preference to the East Oimt; (rti Friday night must have been satisfactory to the management, as the Alexandra Hal! wa» well filled, both up and downstairs. The sndience by their hearty and frequent applause, and by their demands for repeats, showed that they appreciated a good performance. The performance opened with a musical comedy, " Fun in the Kitchen," being '• The Area Bells " slightly adapted, in which tn'e parts ware sustained by Mis» Alioe Leamar (Fsnelope), Mr J. Coleman (Pitcher), Mr P. Lawton (Tester), Mr E. Fitts (.Walker Chalks), and Mist Campien (the Missus). Miss Leatnar, who as a burksque actress occupies a prominent position on the colonial stage, played the part of the servant maid with naivete and vivacity, and sang the musical auaibers all»ted the part in good style. The duet and danco, The A.rt >f Lov«; fry Miss Leamar and Mr CoUc & won an imperative encore, the high kicking of the latter tang a feature. Mr Fitts scored in tha mt\m f " Lore's Serenado," and responded to an encore. He has a powerful and pleasing baritone voice. Other features introduced were a •nng, Toora Laddie, by Miss Leamar, who was decidedly good in a weeping verse ; a policeman's recital song, Last Night, by Mr Coleman ; and bone specialities by Mr F. Lawton, whose imitatiou of a railway engine wat very effective. The three Delevines atid the Wiutertoa sisters gave a couple of mandoline selections, preceded by some eccentric dumb business, and followed by a graceful and pretty dance with mandoline playing. The number was rapturously encored, as it deserved to be, and the performers repeated the dance. The high-kicking of the Delevines was neatly executed. Mr E. Fitts won an encore for his rendition of " I Love Bat Thee," and responded with Another number. Mr F. Lawton gave a clever exhibition of whistling. The Canary Polka was sweetly whistled, and in Ben Holt the performer again showed tbat ih»re is versatility in whistling as in any other line. Ho also whistled the Yirgiuiu Skedaddle. The pocket comedian, Little Gulliver, tang Patsy Brannigan with considerable effect, and for an encore pave a humorons parody on Horns Sweet Home. Misi Alice Leamar was seen to advantage in tbe serio comic song, American Millionaire, which she gave with artisticstyle and finish. For an encore the lady gave a *ong in character en titled,"AU through Sticking to a Soldier," the tile contained in which was certainly a reflection on the chivalry of the military. The lugubrious earnestness with which Miss Lenmar vocalised tho long, combined with the characteristic costume, tended to fairly convulse the audience. For another encore the lady gave a negro plantation melody with dance . Mr J. Coleman was succeuf al in the character song, "Saucy Kate, tbe Flower Girl," and also in the scarecrow dance, for both of which he was encoroJ. The three Delovines gave a clever act called Satanic gambols. Dressed as Mephistopheles they cut some funny caper-, and tumbled each other about in a way that made the audience think they had no regard for their bones. The performance concluded with Mr Leoni Clarke's exhibitioa with his cat?, monkeys, rats, mice, and birds. Mr Clarke has been aptly termed the Cat King, in view of tbe proficient way he has trained" pussy," usually a very intractable animal to guide or control. The performance opened with a hurdle race, in which tbe cat*, gaily bedecked with ribbon, upheld their reputation as good leapers. The monkeys also hurdled. Walking a horizontal pole was tha next exhibition, and after this th>; cats walked the pole, which wai in turn thickly studded with canaries, mice, J and white rats. The pmsieu picked their way over with the utmost confidence, 5 an' l the small fry on tbe pole did not at all r , feel alarmed at the cloie proximity of their nucural enemy. The jumping from pedestal to pedestal and through burning hoops f showed that the cats and monkeys had a 1 varied repertoire. The boxing cats was very fupny, and so was the rats excursion. 1 The rat* come down a shoot, and take r their plaoe in miniature railway carriages, . drawn by a miuiaturo engine, which runs 1 round on a circular line. Finally the ' engine explodes and the rats are upset 9 from the cars, The parachute act by a cat is also another remarka ble performance 1 The cat climbs up a rope to a basket, to 7 which is attached a parachute, the whole being suspended from the ceiling of the ball. At a given signal the parachute and . basket are loosened and puss floats down to 1 be caught by Mr Clarke. The orchestral 1 musio during the performance was ex1 cellent, and was greatly appreciated by j the audience. Mr Eeidle is the able conductor. A Matinee performance was given this 1 (Saturday) afternoon.

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Bibliographic details

Taranaki Herald, Taranaki Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 10950, 19 June 1897

Word Count

FIRST PERFORMANCE. Taranaki Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 10950, 19 June 1897