Mr. Clive Has Apparently Hired Coat Check Girl and Dining Room Captain To Replace Regular Actors
It's not as though Mr. Clive were offending his old patrons with his depressing antics, his spook dramas and extended productions of ham pieces. His old patrons have all quietly removed to the even hamier perlieus of the Henry Jewett sideshow on Huntington Avenue, but one feels that Mr. Clive, when peeping through a hole in the asbestos curtain, must miss the nice old ladies with ear trumpets, the nice old gentlemen with sidewhiskers, and the nice schoolkids who used to consider "Charley's Aunt" such a thriller. The Copley is now given over to strange and uncouth peasants from far places, and gents who wear caps for headgear, and the tense moment just after Hodolph Krauswitz, the Swiss millionaire, has been found dead in the laundry basket is disturbed by ribald yells from the galleries and the sound of cracking peanut shells. It is a far cry from the old days when "Pygmalion" was such a success that it ran for two weeks, and the politest of Back Bay hand clapping greeted the first American performance of Pinero's "Big Drum".
In brief, "The Ghost Train" is a sad, sad, business, a mystery show in which every customary spooky manifestation is trotted on, from the waving of mysterious crimson lamps outside the windows to the usual unexplained noises made by a stagehand hitting a cracker box with a bungstarter in the hope of representing, we suppose, a spectral game of craps.
It's all very dreary. In goes on for hours and hours and then it gets worse. Strange manifestations pile up. Lights flicker, screams resound, bodies pop up everywhere, Hymns are sung off stage, the bodies that have popped up disappear, and then what do you suppose? It all turns out to be a mean fraud staged by the wicked silk smugglers to scare people away from the scene of their activities. Mercy, we were nonplussed!
Mr. Clive, even in his managerial decline, can't quite help being funny, but it's perfectly obvious that last night his regular performers failed to show up and he hurried over to the Plaza across the street and got the coat check girl and a dining room captain to help out in the parts of the rascally smugglers. He might be able to do a Pygmalion with the coat check girl if he could teach her cockney, and there is a scene in Mr. Pinero's "Magistrate" where the waiter would fit in nicely but it's all very quaint in "The Ghost Train."
This particular talented critic spent the rest of the evening having a good time watching the trained seals in the comparatively sophisticated and profound review current at Waldron's.