THE CRIMSON BOOKSHELF
Shubert's "Spice of 1922" at Opera House Passes the Censor but Not the Critic-Some Good Touches, Much Mediocre
Last week the Boston Opera House disclosed to a vast audience the "Spice of 1922". To this one can apply the question "What's in a Name?" And the answer seems to be "quite a bit". Rather obviously, no title far dissimilar could have been used. The show is nothing but a collection of assorted "spice". If one takes into consideration the varied frames of mind of the audience, which was no doubt divided between the low brow, the high brow and the tired business man, one can come to the conclusion that the performance was appreciated by some as low spice and by others as high spice. The plot is a negligible quantity, as in all musical shows, and warrants no criticism.
Humor, conversation, music, songs, and dancing all go towards the seasoning of a show. The "Spice" has plenty of all these ingredients, but some are either tastelessly weak, or bitterly strong. The conversation was clearly weak. Some of the humour left a rather sour taste in the mouths of the more delicate members of the audience. Of the music, songs, costumes and scenery, little can be said more than that they were merely "fair".
Perhaps the most pleasing of all effects were contained in the large assortment of feminine beauty and the rather full program of dancing. Certain critics bewail the inactivities of that generally superfluous character, the censor. Far be it from us to criticise the critics, but one may ask if a bare log is not more artful and less crude than the suggestiveness of one covered by a fraction of soiled flesh-colored tights!
Mademoiselle Nitza Vernille was in the front rank of the dancers. Her many pearls we shall pass by, for what is a more pearl under the existing circumstances? Her performance had more of the aesthetic touch and less of the crass appeal than is generally found in shows of a like nature.
Of the other characters little can be said. Marie Nordstrom was pleasingly entertaining. Georgie Price still had his abundance of wit. Valeska Surati has evidently reached the peak and is on the decline, and can no longer represent the vampire with marked success.
Taking all in all, we can discourse upon an average evening, spotty, without great brilliance or very alarming immoralness to the eyes or ears of the typical audience; a bit of burlesque with the somewhat refining influence of musical comedy.