ALL is bright and beautiful at the Opera House and the big show hums with animation and novelty. Chief among this week's surprises is the " Sag on Wheels," an amazement created and performed by Valentine and Bell and detached for New Zealand purposes from the Aladdin pantomime. These arduous students of the steel and rubber steed have taught bicycles to do things that would amaze the boneshakers of one's youth and it would hardly surprise one to hear a Valentine-Bell bike break out into ragtime or climb the back-cloth. The impression one gets is that the performers have avoided all known methods of treating a bicycle and have evolved displays that are no more like the average bike stunt than a modern bike is like a bullockdray. Les Bau Malagas, as exponents of the sinuous and fascinating tango dance add a great deal of charm to the much discussed movements—a dance, by the way, that has been performed for at least two thousand years and has been discovered to be "naughty " so very late in the day. It was deservedly popular when Moses was a boy. The re-appearance of Sharratt and Lang, the English musical sketch experts, who merrymake in an exceptionally bright and cheerful way, is worth note. Millie Doris, the clever comedienne whose imitations of other noted artists are so good,, is still ransacking her large repertoire for good goods. Fern and Lizette, who "don't care what sort of an instrument they knock a tune from, are still doing it with skill and aplomb, while the Georgia Trio, who sing, dance and talk with an American flavour, go with a bang. Kingsley and Graham, English musical sketch artists, are evoking the applause that they deserve. One ot the largest draws is the astounding act of the Rosa Valerio Sextette, a surprising manifestation of skill on the wire.
Current crimes suggest many cinematograph plots and no doubt the cheerful Indian doctor who was so fond of slowly poisoning ladies inspired a writer to achieve lhe Poison Tree," at present growing on the screen at the Globe Theatre. There is a rather fearful fascination about this carefully worked out tragedy. For reasons known to the sweet poisoner she elects to get rid of her sister and when the sister is stricken with a mysterious illness, she, of course, " nurses " her nicely and soothes her declining days with juice from the " poison tree. Plainly there is no purpose to be served in poisoning a lady, even on a screen, if the story stops there, but the fact that the poisoner gets what is coming to her is an excuse, even if it is a very little one. 1 have a theory that the "crime" him will shortly become so frequent that it will be sat on with a loud voice by British authorities. A very educational film is passing along the Globe screen showing the artificial uses ot oxygen. As the element is a commodity that keeps us moving around, to gaze on its artificial uses is fascinating. Air doesn't astonish anybody until scientists start monkeying'with it. "Hypnotism in Hickville " is the story of . Professor Swengolly, whose application ot the wicked art had unforseen results, with a tendency to high-grade hilarity The Warwick Chronicle gives many short lengths of 7 arge events a long way off and keeps Ca.ee.ii Street in touch with L«icestei Square, so to speak.
At the Queen's Picture Theatre there masterly modern drama called "The Next Generation," the story of a great ship architect and his nephew, who is greater than he. Jealousy is the result. Nephew points out a serious defect in uncle's plans for a ship, uncle too egotistical to change his plans, ship goes to sea, explosion occurs and poor uncle (who is a bit of a cad) sinks with his failure. There is a very creditable love story running through it, a real launch life - saving at sea, and so on. It is acted with extreme realism. The lesson to be learned is that the old hands must keep up with the young—or go under. A nice little comedy is " Sally's Guardian," who is quite a youth. He believes Sally to be a child—but she is out of the flapper class and doesn't want Teddy bears. . With whiskers, gum and grease paint he becomes a creditable uncle and eventually robbed of his make-up, he rushes Sally off to the parson. "The Way of the Underworld " is a fine blending of the vices and virtues of the "down and out " class, the people one does not associate with and who are not referred to except in anger from any pulpit. In fact, one gets a wealth of good sermons in picture shows nowadays. "A Day in a Sailor's Life " shows that Italy has a whole heap of creditable ironmongery and plenty of boys of the bulldog breed. It is almost incredible but the Italian navy has ships even bigger than the Amokura. That favourite production, the Queen's Weekly Chronicle, depicts much local happening, also some beauteous features of Blow-Hole Bay, on the West Coast.
What the judges in divorce call "incompatibility of temperament" is the basis of a picture play now doing its turn at the Lyric Theatre and called "The Test." The story tells of a man and wife who get bees in their bonnets and begin-to-think they don't'love one another. In a school where they will be "up against.it" and have to fight in double harness cupid flies back and camps on the back fence—in short, South ' Africa, and the necessity ot battling induces the rosy god to dump his swag on the household. The story is daintily told and the actors are adept. A Lubin drama, " Her Boy," harps upon the wellworn but ever tuneful string of mother love and there is the moral that affection must win in the long run. "Beautiful Monaco," which is the place where gambling hells are set in paradisical frames rolls by, but the suicides' cemetery is not shown. Monaco is very beautiful. A knockabout comedy, "Looking for Trouble," gives good dabs of laughter, as also does " Mrs ■ Upton's Didomestic comedy-drama wherein the detail is carefully looked after and the dining room door shines bravely. "First Prize "is a sporting comedy, with long lengths of laugh. The latest Gaumont Graphic brings Europe and the cradle of events to the doorsteps of the stay-at-homes. Indeed these news pictures remain among the most valuable features of any picture show. They impress the audience with the comparative infancy of this country and are responsible for the saving of much money to be later devoted to travel and education.
Max Reinhardt's mystery play, " The Miracle," is being pictured at the King's Theatre. It is done with a degree of excellence that leaves little to the imagination. The story deals with the life of a beautiful nun who is the keeper of a. holy shrine and whose temptation is in the form of a gallant knight, who wishes her to break her vows and enter the outside world. With the aid of magnificent tableaux, the use of splendidly trained auxiliaries, and a wealth of beautiful costumes, effects and details, the play is made vastly interesting and its design to play on the religious emotions of those seeing it is attained. The atmosphere in many scenes is distinctly religious, although there is even here some " relief." The public recognised the merit of this production"by filling the theatre on the
opening and succeeding nights. Burkes orchestra played the special music by Humperdinck most effectively and a hidden choir rendered appropriate religious selections that increased the emotional effects. " The Miracle" is the most remarkable for the minuteness of detail with which it abounds, the beauty of the setting, and the concentrated effort to appeal to the susceptibilities of an audience. " The Miracle; will be shown until the end of this week.
That evergreen classic, " Uncle Tom's Cabin," done into pictures, is the chief attraction of an excellent programme this change at the Princess. One finds no fault with it, except that Uncle Tom is most obviously a white man insufficiently burnt-corked and that Topsy, "who specks I growed," is also a white lady with the burnt cork a bit patchy about the arms. The very stirring incidents of the book are re-enacted with great faithfulness, the escape of Eliza, the octoroon, with her child, across the ice being particularly well managed. Little Eva dies' nicely too, and two very stalwart negroes (not corked white men) flog Uncle Tom to death. A dramatic finish is left out. The last scene is Uncle Tom's death in the presence of " Mas'r George." In the book " George turned and with one indignant blow knocked Legree fiat on his face." A very natural and beautiful thing to do under the •circumstances. The atmosphere of the Southern States of America is well preserved and the players in every instance are competent. The use of bloodhounds to track escaping slaves adds a stirring detail to a .finely finished drama. A film of a very edifying and humorous kind is " Mary's New Hat," wherein a family quarrel in introduced, with painted black eyes to match. It is smartly worked out by a charming little comedienne and two men funmakers. A number of other films, including a mountain shooting affair by cowboys are shown, making a diversified and satisfying programme.
In His Majesty's Theatre on Monday next the George Willoughby Dramatic Company will stage The Beggar Girl's Wedding," the first of a series of melodramatic successes during an eleven nights' run. The piece is a new and original play in four acts, by Walter Melville, in which vivid portrayals of sensational happenings and decidedly interesting phases of London life are depicted. The company is a strong and evenly balanced one, enabling the combination to take full advantage of the scope afforded for powerful acting and correct representation. As a "dramatic work it is said " The Becgar Girl's Wedding" has much to commend it, the plot being cleverly constructed and relieving the story of much of its pathos. There is a delightful vein of humour runnino- throughout, supplied by capable comedians. The scenery and effects utilised in the initial Sydney production have been brought to New Zealand, and as the many scenes depicted during the four acts demand spectacular effect it may be accepted that "The Beggar Girl's Wedding " will be as announced by the management—magnificently staged. The leading characters are to be interpreted by Mr George Cross and Miss Vera Renee. "No Mother to Guide Her" will be the succeeding piece. Box Plans are at Wildman and Arey's. Day sales at deal s.
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THE LORGNETTE, Observer, Volume XXXIV, Issue 26, 7 March 1914
THE LORGNETTE Observer, Volume XXXIV, Issue 26, 7 March 1914
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