Variety (November 1908)

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16 VARIX.TY RENTZ-SANTLKY. There U some gorgeous costuming in Abe Leavitt's "Rente-Santley" show. It was at the Olympic, Brooklyn, last week. The first part is crowded with costume changes of seemingly expensive gowns. There are no tights on the choristers in the opener; just gowns of ligjit colors, with some spangles. The "sheath gown" scheme is exceptionally pretty. The soft tones in the dressing are carried into "The Weeping Widows" number. The girls do not dress like widows excepting one with a black net gown, making an odd contrast. The burlesque,- "The Qirl with the Golden Vest" has "Western" dressing, no blase at clothes being shown, but the first part is sufficient recommendation for the dressmakers mentioned on the program as Ladolff, Paris; J. A. Harrison, London, and Hayden, New York. Whatever each did, they did well. The choristers, about sixteen, include some pretty girls, one young blonde com- ing under the head of "handsome" (and in the back row). Two or three others dress up the ranks, while there are four "ponies" (Sinclair's "Dainty Dancing Dolls"). One of this quartet, Lizzie Paoey, with the nicest little dimple ever, is the soubrette, so-called, although her soubrettish contribution is dancing of the acrobatic brand, and the number, "All the Boys Look Good to Me," the musical hit of the performance. The first piece is named "The Married Widow, or Three Weeks of a Soul Kiss." As the titles imply, both pieces are trav- esties, written and produced by Matt Woodward. There is nothing especially brilliant in either. It is too much to ex- pect that three plays may be well trav- estied in forty-five minutes, although there is a suggestion of each of the origi- nals at the commencement. Hie comedy at no time raises itself above an ordinary level, nor does there Mem to have been much thought given to this important end, although the show is much parodied. A restaurant scene is made something of in the first part even * if the "whole-shirt-on-the-back-bet-you- ten-dollars"-thing is in use, but even this is not as hackneyed as the "pick-up-my- old-hat-stuff" in the burlesque, though a little differently worked up by Ben Rose, the Hebrew comedian, who also in- quiries at one moment if the other would take a sandwich to a banquet. The show is clean excepting a dirty piece of business when a comedian (save the mark!) expectorates during the burlesque. At the Olympic a woman seated in a box and evidently not accustomed to "methods" of some burlesque comedians, almost became nauseated at the disgust* ing sight. Persons who expectorate on the stage, no matter how, or under what circumstances, are as low-browed as those who laugh at it. My. Woodward has written some special songs for the opener, "The 1 Weeping Wid- ows" being by far the best, although the chorus has no leader in the singing of this number, but "the bunch" is not high on the vocal percentage list. Some popular selections are employed. Beattie Evans (who is a part of Trick and Trixie) has "Are You Sincere?" in the first part, and "Mohawk Maid" (a new and very nice "Western" song) in the burlesque. Miss Evans has a few pure notes in her higher register which are decidedly agreeable to listen to. She han- dles her songs in excellent manner. "Rain- bow" is sung by Florence Virginia, and the song forces an encore, although a dressing effect with the chorus could be made more of if the girls were to exit after the song proper, backing upon the stage there- after instead of as now turning immedi- ately around. A light effect could pos- sibly be employed here as well. The leading woman is Olga Orloff, who opened the season with "The Bon Tons." Miss Orloff wears skirts at first and sings "Carissma." In the burlesque she wears tights as "a gilded youth." Miss Orloff unloosens a "dramatic selection, 'The Door of Hope'." This occurred at 10:30 with the singer in choir vestments. It was too late in the evening. Both songs are de- signed to give Miss Orloff's voice ah out- let where the best results may be ob- tained. There is not a great deal for her to do in the pieces. As, a matter of fact the only woman in the company with a true idea of the de- mands of travesty is Isabel Miller. As the "wronged girl" in the "Vest" incident, she gave a moment or two of genuine comedy. Charles H. Kenny did some good work in the first part, and someone played a part in the burlesque with the usual re- volver, without wasting as much powder as he could have. In this wild Western drama, there is a "rube" sheriff, wholly out of the picture, while there is a "Dutch- man" who is not so "Dutch" as he should be to gain laughs. Losing his dialect now and then is a characteristic of Mr. Ross, who is more of an acrobatic comedian than usually seen playing a Hebrew role. He can develop in the part and character. Just now he is working hard and conscientiously, great- ly helping the performance, the cast ap- parently holding several foreigners un- familiar with American burlesque. For an olio act, Ross has something new in the form of an election speech (not Cliff Gordon's nor anything like it, excepting in the idea) in which he blends "Yiddish" and English laughably. A cold interfered with his singing in Brooklyn. There is an olio of seven acts, requiring an hour and a quarter to run off. It is better than many vaudeville shows. A few are claimed to be making their first appearance in America. These were under New Acts, Vabiett, Nov. 14. Of the others, besides Mr. Ross, Prince and Vir- ginia in a character singing act did very well, considering Mr. Prince's "Dutch- man" is not nearly as praiseworthy as his parodies, of which he should, have had more. Miss Virginia makes a stocky little "kid" and might wear a shorter skirt. Charles D. Weber is comedy-juggling along just the same, having for his finish now the "bounding hats" of Paul La Croix's with the spinning of six plates on a table his next best. If all the jugglers living, and those passed away, could reclaim their matter, Mr. Weber would have only his plates left probably. He was a big hit in the olio. Mr. Leavitt has a show which is carried by the costuming, olio and girls. Sim*. Nat M. Wills and Winona Winter joint- ly headline the Colonial bill next week. Miss Winter "jumps" from Milwaukee to the Colonial, and after playing the Will- iams Circuit will return to the Orpheum houses in the West. THE EMPIRE SHOW. This year's offering of the "pool" show is a glittering example of what individ- ually skillful specialty people, selected with an eye to the framing up of a good olio can do in the way of ruining the pieces. T%e only real laughing values of the whole entertainment were included in the latter half of the first part, when Roger Imhof had things all his own way, and in the olio. Imhof works practically alone. In the first part he is the only member of the cast who makes any pretence to comedy. As Casey the Piper, he had several good minutes,, and a fast scene near the close, that showed him at his best, an Irishman second to none in careful, accurate charac- terization. Imhof wrote the "book" and managed to make the dialog extremely bright, but except in the scenes mentioned the laughter was very slow. This was per- haps because the comedy was in the form of sidewalk conversation between Imhof and John A. West, the "straight," and there was too much of it. Beside Imhof is the only dialect comedian in the first part, Joe Howard, of Howard and Linder, being sadly miscast as a "cissy." The other men do not shine in the pieces, four having acrobatic specialties in the olio. They were Montambo and Bar- telli, knockabouts, and Armstrong and Levering', an uncommonly clever pair of comedy bicyclists, but completely value- less as comedians. Gussie Linder looked well, and wore a splendid wardrobe, but she scarcely carried the part of a lively soubrette. The same was true of Mildred Gilmour, who has become very plump and lost some of her ginger in the process. Her largest con- tribution was her appearance in tights once during both of the pieces and a single singing act in the olio. Susanne Corrine sang several numbers in a very harsh voice. She was the soubrette, but put very little action into her work. The dressing is bright, but has a cheap appearance, with the notable exception of an Oriental costume in the burlesque and a rather pretty suit of tights for the finale of the first part. This finale is the same that has been in use previously. The choristers, sixteen in number, are rather below the classification of fair in appearance, and work listlessly during the numbers. Several times they left the stage after an ensemble with scarcely a ripple of applause. The burlesque is a military travesty in- volving a great deal of straight talk, and only an occasional comedy "bit." It made very flat burlesque amusement, although Joe Howard was in a better position, thanks to a return to his German role, and John A. West switched to a grotesque tramp. The laughing hit of the vaudeville sec- tion was John A. West's musical act, to which he has added a real novelty in the shape of a "musical wolf," an Indian dog, half wolf, that howled long mournful notes ' as West played on the cornet. West's specialty went with a whoop. Howard and Linder did nicely with their comedy musical number, and Mildred Gil- mour opened with her light singing turn. Miss Gilmour inappropriately styles her- self "The Ginger Girl," a title* which her work does not bear out, and which, if memory serves, rightfully belongs to Anna Doherty. Ruth. COLONIAL. The show at the Colonial would have been helped greatly had one of the big applause getters in the second half been shifted to the first portion, which was in need of a strengthener on Monday eve- ning. It's a good bill all the way, nearly (with Walter a Kelly and Lily Lena di- viding the top line), but not evenly balanced. Walter C. Kelly (New Acts) is the hit of the program on laughs and entertain- ment. Rooney and Bent were the ap- plause hits, but you can no more compare the applause Rooney and Bent might re- ceive with that of Kelly than you can compare the legitimate, sparkling wit of Mr. Kelly's with the unlicensed horseplay of "Fun in a Boarding House," which closed the show to much laughter through the roughest of slap-stick methods. Lily Lena presented the pretty figure of the first part, singing too many songs, but having an especially catchy new one, a Scotch selection, with a swinging chorus, appropriately costumed by Miss Lena, as are all her others. To Miss Lena must be given the credit of being the first English singer to sen- sibly realize that two verses and choruses of a song are sufficient. She has reduced all her selections to this number. An- other new one, "The Evolution of Clothes," while not particularly inviting in melody, has a lyric that is worth hold- ing to. The "sketch" was supplied by William Hawtrey and Co. in "Compromised," Muriel Starr (new to the cast) playing the wife. This character was formerly "the act." Now Mr. Hawtrey stands out. This may not be the reason for the change, but though Miss Starr gives a nice performance, she does not equal the work of her predecessor by far. Nor (which, perhaps, Mr. Hawtrey might take notice of) do Americans acquire the "souse" he accumulates upon two drinks of whiskey. The setting at the Colonial this week for a "library" is alarmingly inadequate. The husband spoke of wealth upon the appearances of the room, but the "wealth" was only in the manuscript. The sketch is absorbing towards its finale, even with the cheap method of throwing upon the drop a stereopticon announce- ment of a dark stage to follow for a lapse of years. If the audience doesn't read the programs, why print them? Apdale's Animals give a varied enter- tainment. Apdale has an excellent ap- pearance, looking much like Horace Gol- din. He uses his animals intelligently, and is an exhibitor of the first place. Ap- dale's act now contains more than thrco ordinary numbers of that nature. Pat Rooney brought down the house with a "Yiddish Gazotska" for an encore. Marion Bent is wearing two Princess gowns, and looks extremely well. "Prin- cess" gowns, you know, are now all the style. Lamberti was a big applause winner in the second half, with musical impersona- tions of composers, the only one of mem- mory over here being Paderewski, but the audience evidently knew them all person- ally, even liking "Joachim," who played "Hearts and Flowers" on a violin as though the piece were a continuous chain. Hal Merrett appeared. Francini Olloms and Page are under New Acts. Sime.