After a very jolly evening at the Colonial last night, the audience came to a conclusion that the princess was not the only "slim" thing connected with the show. No fault could have been found with the house, for it was both plenteous and enthusiastic. What could have been the trouble?
Ah, the book? Yes, the book was pretty evasive, like all well-behaved comic opera librettos. A princess, dwelling in a land where thinness is held to be a vice, proves an eyesore to her noble parent because she has not been able to acquire sufficient avoirdupois to be accounted a beauty. A young American happens to disagree with the ideas of the community regarding the beautiful, and informs the young lady that she is his ideal. She is discovered by her sister in the arms of the stranger, and the news is conveyed to her "papa". The stranger flees, and the princess is shipped, as punishment, off to America. Once arrived in the "land of ready money", she follows the way often trodden by comic opera heroines in being forced by her irate parent dangerously near a marriage with an Italian count. The latter conveniently turns out to be a bigamist. The young American appears to be a millionaire, the prince is won over, and the plot is finished.
And the music?--The house was inclined to think the music, especially Mr. Stuart's, slimmer than the plot. There are a few moments in the score that are worthy of the composer of "Floradora," etc., but they are conspicuously few. The real musical "hit" of the evening was an interpolated "Coon" song.
But after all is said and done, what made the people flock to the theatre last night, what made them flock to a certain Metropolitan theatre last season, was not the show. It was not even Mr. Cawthorne, amusing as he is in a part of somewhat conventional vulgarity. The attraction was Miss Janis.
She is truly a comedienne of charming naivete. Although her lack of voice is a real handicap, she dominates the evening completely by her personality and natural grace. The climax of the entertainment was reached when she gave a number of her inimitable impersonations. From the "divine Sarah" to Eddie Foy and on again to Ethel Barrymore, she flitted with ease and surprising success.
Graciousness seems to be a prominent feature of Miss Janis's make-up, judging from her conduct towards the members of her company. Every encore had to be shared by them. At the end of the second act, she thanked the audience for its appreciation, and added that she enjoyed this play more than any of the others in which she had participated. It is not difficult to surmise why.
Carrying away with them some of the twinkle of Miss Janis's eyes, the audience left the theatre in a contented frame of mind, and somehow felt that they had received good value for their money.