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Dr. Webster on "The Crystal Gazer"

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

In a Pudding play the thread of the plot may be never so tenuous--it may be reduced to a mere "vibration"; the "stunts" may be perfectly irrelevant, even unblushingly lugged in, and may outweigh all the rest; but so long as the music is gay--with some of the solos pretty; so long as the action is amusing, and the whole thing is given with gusto--that is all we have any right to demand of a Pudding play.

"The Crystal Gazer" comes up to this standard; it has possibly more plot than the average; one can actually keep it in sight except at two points--one in the first act, when Ozab recommends the wrong suitor, and the other his too sudden unmasking at the end. The characters are sufficiently well conceived, although the figure of the social aspirant has been overdone of late; and the actors fit the parts--or rather the parts the actors better than is often the case. Mr. Savery may then be congratulated. The music is more than gay; it is melodious and skilfully suited to the occasions, particularly the two opening choruses; the first forces you into the right jolly mood and the second into the appropriately romantic. "The Ways of the World," the "Folk Song," and "Good Night My Bianca," are pretty and well sung; though the operatic burlesque of Messrs. Osgood and Steel--alias Calvizinni and Scotuso--was perhaps the most finished and the best received song--if such it may be called Mr. Barker is decidedly to be congratulated. It seemed at times as if the orchestra did not sufficiently accommodate the singers. The acting is good, though not startlingly so. Mr. Savery in the two contrasted parts of floor-walker and crystal gazer filled his difficult role well. Mr. Bemis as the ambitious matron in beautiful and startling raiment had a character that suited him admirably. Mr. Benchley, however, in the minor part of the gum-chewing hair-dresser, and in his burlesque of Madame X, was the most finished performer. The costuming is, as always, elaborate and probably costly; the dresses of the leading ladies and of the debutantes are extremely handsome. It is to be hoped that the mass dances will go with more precision and smoothness on future presentations. In the matter of independent "acts," "stunts," or side-shows, this play shows exceptional restraint; the three introduced are really first-class, Mr. Dana's "larriet dance" being a beautiful novelty. The reviewer, however, of Gothic tastes, hopes that local hits, horse-play, and clowns are not to be permanently banished from the Pudding boards.

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