Variety (April 1912)

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VARIETY 17 Thomas Jefferson and Go. (7) "The Cricket on the Hearth.'* 96 Mine.; Full Stage (Special Set). Majestic, Chicago. The Jefferson dramatization of Dickens' story of "The Cricket On the Hearth" carries no climax, and in its present condition might go on playing right through the entire lives of the various characters portrayed. Monday evening there was nothing that sound- ed or looked like a climax right up to the finish of the sketch. Several times it appeared as though the heart of the story would he reached, but when the time for the inevitable snap ar- rived, it was quickly passed over. After the supper scene where Caleb Plummer discovers the return of his long lost son it seemed as though something in the pathos line was com- ing, but both Caleb and the boy took the reunion as a matter of expected fact. What little chance the company had to spring a climax was knocked in the head with a few comedy lines. Jef- ferson has surrounded himself with a weak cast, for a Dickens' story. As Plummer, the toy-maker, Mr. Jeffer- son looked and acted the part through- out, but his support was never there. Even Walter Colligan who imper- sonated the heartless Tackleton failed to exhibit any life. He didn't seem human. A few laughs were distributed throughout the piece by Mr. Jefferson but the majority of the situations were allowed to lag without interest. "The Cricket On the Hearth" should, by all the laws of stage-craft, make a splendid vehicle for the right cast, provided, of course, it was properly rewritten, but as presented this week it lacks the punch. An adequate' finale is needed and what's more im- portant, a climax. Without these "The Cricket On the Hearth" will de- pend on the name of Jefferson for its future routing. Wynn. Vardaman. Female Impersonator. 14 Mliis.; One (Special Drops). Probably the bulkiest of all the male impersonators of women, Varda- man (from the west) is entitled to praise for his clever make-up. It must be some task for a person of his heft to squeeze himself into a cor- set. His appearance and stride are good reproductions of a woman and he has three exclusive songs, two spec- ial drops, two evening gowns and one bathing suit, all fine piece of construc- tion in their respective ways. In his line Vardaman is above the average. Jolo. Gates and Leighton. "Sister Act.** 10 Mins.; One. The act opens with Miss Leighton at the piano and Miss Gates bobbing up in the audience with a camera-like box which emits a small flashlight ray on the persons in the audience. The opening makes quite a hit on the "pop" time. The girls sing individu- ally and together, getting the biggest results on the closing numbers. Miss Gates has a pleasing stage appearance while her partner handles herself well at the piano. The turn should get proper recognition on the "pop" cir- cuits. A better routine of songs would help. Mark. G. Molasso*s Co. ^16). "The Rose of Mexico" (Pantomime). 19 Mins.; Full Stage. One. (Special Scenery). Majestic, Chicago. While "The Rose of Mexico" is un- doubtedly one of G. Molasso's best ef- forts from the production standpoint and easily surpasses his several other pantomimes in this regard, there is one essential woefully lacking, par- ticularly noticeable to one familiar with the pantomimlst's style. He lacks a partner. In every other re- spect this Mexican production with a French theme is perfect. For his main support Molasso has chosen Mile. Maria Corio. Corio makes a splen- did appearance, looks the part at all times and works hard, but with Mo- lasso opposite, the little French dan- seuse seems outclassed. The contrast affects the results. In "The Rose of Mexico" Molasso has simply lifted a story that savors of the French and surrounded it with a natural picture of Mexico. This could only be done through an elaborate display of scenery. "The Rose of Mexico" is in three scenes, the first the Plaza Hidalgo in Mexico City. Molasso as the wealthy Don or farmer, Gandradoz by name, loves the Rose of Mexico. Miguel Sanchez, married and with a bad character, wants Rose for him- self. He decided to get Gandradoz out of the way and hires Juan Zapators, a revolutionist, to waylay the farmer and insert a knife into his anatomy. His endeavors carry the trio through three scenes, the second labelled Calle del Pulgueros, Mexico City. This is in "one." Finally Sanchez tires of his assassin's failure and decides to do the job himself. He meets Gan- dradoz in a music hall. A knife duel ensues. At the finish Sanchez draws a gun and fires at Gandradoz, wound- ing him. Dona Sanchez, the villain's wife, who has been the victim of cruel- ty and bad treatment at the hands of her spouse, realizing that he is about to kill Gandradoz, draws a revolver and shoots her husband. The police come in, but the party hide the corpse and they leave. Dona who has in- cidentally fallen in love with Gandra- doz is thrown over because the latter has won the Rose. During the action Molasso and Corio execute a nifty dance in which 1b presented a new style rag called "The Bull-Fight Whirl." Molasso whirls a red blanket and Corio, very bull-like, rushes toward the color, after which they hug each other through the stereo- typed French "rag." It's a novelty and went big. Molasso has provided com- edy for the offering through the in- troduction of the revolutionist and a silly kid character. The scenery helps considerably. Molasso's solo dancing was handicapped through his musical director, who stopped the music before he had completed. "The Rose of Mex- ico" is a fine vaudeville production. With someone a little stronger than Corio it would look much better. Clos- ing the Majestic show, everyone re- mained for the finish. Wynn. Whitney and Brand. "Sister Act.'* 14 Mins.; Two (4), One (10). Two women, one quite stout. The heavier one seats herself at the piano, other enters, sings a short verse and does a sort of clog dance. Exit for a change of costume while pianist sings, accompanying herself. Thinner one re-enters for Scotch song and dance in native costume. Another exit for change. Fat one has changed to eccen- tric garb, does a few minutes of mon- olog, thinner one again appears in evening gown—a lot of cross-fire, fin- ishing with a double song and dance. One of the sure-fire old time "sister acts," good for big small and small big time. Jolo. Karlton an/1 Klifford. Oil Painting. 11 Mins.; Three (Exterior.) American Roof. An act of the drawing type which shows class. Two young men work out exterior scenes in oil, the pictures being done by the artists working be- hind transparent easels which display the work as fast as the men behind shape out the views intended. Each picture is nicely drawn and the idea is new for the most part. In fact the boys could go on a "big small time" bill and get away with it without any trouble. For the finish the two paint one scene together, that of a farm house and lane during a snowstorm. The effect is very realistic. Mark. Grace Benedict. Hongs. * 10 Mins.; One. American Roof. Grace Benedict is of the plump type of single women one finds in vaude- ville today who are making good with their wardrobes and voices. Miss Benedict has a pleasing stage appear- ance and shows off her various cos- tumes to excellent effect. She has a good selection of songs and as a whole her act made quite a hit with the Roof bunch Tuesday night. Miss Benedict will improve as she skims along the "pop" circuits. There is no telling where she will land. The girl has many things in her favor and isn't afraid to work. Mark. New Acts in "Pop" Houses Carroll and Foster. Singing and Patter. 20 Mins.; One. Two men, singing and cross-fire material, putting over a lot of jokes, mostly old. They go back as far as "Have you frogs' legs?" One plays the piano for a brief spell. They seem pretty clever chaps and capable of better things. In its present shape the act is but a small time offering. Jolo. Fennelly and Bernian. Dancing. 8 Mins.; One. Two boys, with a short song an 1 some good stepping. Regulation small team. Jolo. Hyman Adler and Co. (9). "The Miser" (Dramatic). 24 Mins.; Interior. The star is said to be a brother of the famous Yiddish actor Jacob Adler, and himself a performer of some repute in the metropolitan ghetto. His "break-In" of a sketch at one of the small time houses lends color to the report, for the vehicle he selected is about as crude a piece of old-fashioned melodramatic writing as has been shown on the American stage in many years. Mr. Adler plays a miser of the "Fagln" type, living In squalid rooms with his daughter, who is courted by a young law student. She is a nice, dutiful child, constantly casting in the teeth of the old man such terms of endearment as "You are a miser" and "To think that that man la my father." She wants her parent to "stake" her lover to a hundred with which to finish his tuition, and the old man orders her out of the house. Then the father acts all over the place, soliloquising that gold Is his only friend. To clinch the argu- ment he sings a song about it. The girl returns, father locks the door and refuses to let her out. She runs Into the other room to escape, faUs down the fire escape and Is brought In by her young man, dying. The old man weeps and wails and offers his gold, to no avail. Then he goes to sleep and It turns out to be a dream. On awakening and finding he still has his child he slips her the bags of gold, gives the boy his hundred, asks him If he needs more and advises them to give charity to all, instead of' living as he had been doing. Curtain. For an encore Mr. Adler sang the song over again. Adler Is a rugged, virile actor of the "old school" and has a good singing voice. The girl plays fairly well her unsympathetic role, while the young man is painfully In- adequate. With a good sketch Mr. Adler's scene-chewing character act- ing should he a good feature on the big small time. "The Miser" of course seems to be founded on Dick- ens' "Christmas Carol" for theme. Either that or any one of fifty others since. JoU)m »« »t Decoration Day. 1 Dramatic Sketch (4). 18 Mins.; Interior. A rather involved plot, difficult to follow. An old justice of the peace is a dishonorably discharged veteran of the civil war. He had been court- martialed for cowardice and could not prove his Innocence because "the pa- per" had been stolen. He is the guar- dian of a young girl who calls him "Daddy." The "heavy" is the guar- dian of a youth who loves the girl. The girl buys "Daddy" an old military coat for Decoration Day, in which is found the paper proving the Innocence of the judge and the duplicity of the boy's guardian. Exposing the villain and establishing the old man's inno- cence (the thing that would have made him happy) would prove the girl is the child of ?he villain, whose mo'h'.r he abandoned years before. The judge tears up the paper. Stilted and obsolete melodrama, poorly played. A smull time act. Jolo.