Miss Segai and Mr. Purcell Try Hard To Make a Theatrical Ghost Walk, But it Only Sings Pleasantly
Of a show that is dead, nihil nisi bonum. The old people can have their brave talk of old plays; they can keep "The Pink Lady" green in memory. But if they love a show, let them not revive it.
Miss Segal and Mr. Purcell have attempted a thankless task. They have fought a good fight; they have taken lines that long ago heard the final count and made them get up on one elbow. But it is no use. No modern audience can be expected to laugh at repartee like this: "I should fall and break my neck." "That's immaterial to me. "Yes, but not to me." No audience wants to watch Miss Purcell being kittenish when the Chocolate Soldier invades her bedroom, agreeable as Miss Purcell certainly is, or wants to hear her beat her chest and scream "I-hate-you-I-hate-you!" And who is amused by Alexius, the type of the "Miles Gloriosus" who was a theatrical chestnut in Roman times? As for the Bulgarian army, their horseplay suggests the Pirates of Penzance on an off day; they succeed in being about as funny as a squad of filling-station men saying "Check your oil, sir?"
But, strangely enough, the music remains fresh and interesting. Now and then a good tone makes you forget the creaky old plot. The pleasant old waltz, "My Hero," comes untarnished. And so, though there is no wit left in "The Chocolate Soldier," there is song, song that this reviewer would rather have rendered instrumentally as Biergartenmusik wafting blithely across the Pilsener foam.