Billy B. Van is the salvation of "The Passing Show of 1924", now playing at the Shubert Theatre. He is the only one of all the funny boys in the show who is at once an actor and comedian. He is the real thing, and the audience knows it. They wait patiently through many a skit, song, or splurge, all for the sake of laughing at Mr. Van.
He is not the kind that stops the show; he merely fits into his place in the sun as unobtrusively as possible. He never seeks applause, and seldom is allowed a chance to receive it, so relentless is the pace of the program in the succession of 28 scenes.
"The Passings Show of 1924" has nothing out of the ordinary to present. There are the usual sumptuous sets such as the Beaded Bag, King Arthur's Round Table, the Crown Finale, and the Porcelain Groups. There are the inevitable vaudeville acts of Jack Rose, and also Lulu McConnell, There is singing by Ruth Gillette and LeRoy Duffield, in which the latter is forced to take his voice cruelly beyond its range. There is dancing by almost everybody, but more particularly by the diminutive Harrington sisters, the Trado twins (male), the Lockfords (m. and f.), Bessie Hay, and Eleanor Willems. Miss Willems also lent her good looks to several of the skits, in one of which she was as seductive as the censor would allow.
The "Winter Garden Beauty Brigade" was indeed a brigade, but failed to live up to the remaining three-quarters of its appellation. The figures of the chorus were much less dowager-like than those of the usual Boston editions of New York shows; but the faces lived up to the customary standard. The music was hitless and harmless. Harry Le Vant is to be congratulated highly on the success with which he sat on the orchestra: it was actually possible to hear the singers' voices distinctly in all the songs--not that that made the result any more pleasing, but it at least showed that Mr. Le Vant was doing his duty.
"The Passing Show of 1924" is an average revue, salvaged from the tail end of the list by the amiable talents of Billy B. Van.