Still another was added to the long list of annual "reviews of revues" last Monday night, when "Vogues and Vanities" appeared at the Majestic Theatre. Far from following in the generally tedious wake of those super-vaudevillian productions, however, this new musical hodgepodge proves to be a diverting first cousin of the "Follies," and aided by a substantial number of star comedians, succeeds in keeping the audience in an alternating state of genuine laughter and applause.
The excuse for a plot is conceived in a novel manner. In a sort of prologue, Professor Fakir introduces his class of six budding playwrights, who announce in turn the subject of their first dramatic efforts. The scenes that follow offer the amateur composers an opportunity to enact their creations, and thus we have six miniature playlets within the play, interspersed at varying intervals with the inevitable dance and song divertissements which are essential to all true musical reviews. The first incident,--"The Hat Bazaar,"--immediately puts the spectators in good humor, a humor which is constantly enhanced as the show progresses. "The Eternal Triangle,--From Two Angles," gives us an uproariously funny picture of "How the American Imagines it Happens in England," and "How the Englishman Imagines it Happens in America"; John Hastings Turner and James Montgomery Flagg are responsible for the respective Angles. A merry satire on the Twentieth Century child, who in the sophistication of his or her ten or twelve years of age plays the races, shoots craps and drinks cocktails, is offered in "The Children's Hour in a Modern Nursery." "Marriage a la Mode," "The Roof Tops of New York," and "Keystone Beach" are the other pocket comedies, which afford the principals plenty of chances to gain the hearty approval of the audience. The last-named has a most realistic movie "chase" of hero, heroine, villain, comedians and bathing girls, the effect of an actual movie being very creditably achieved.
Perhaps the individual star of a cast of stars may be found in the animated person of Anna Wheaton, who works energetically and always freshly throughout the entire piece. She sings and dances equally well, whether in the syn- copation of "The Baby Blues" or the softer rhythm of "Who's Who With You"; and in the spectacular "Bamboula" dance,--"a hula from Honolulu,--by way of Spain,"--she demonstrates her versatility once again. Johnny Dooley is sure of causing a laugh each time he appears on the stage; one marvels that he can survive the nightly administration of blows and kicks, the impact of bricks and violins on his head, and the incredible falls he takes, without going to the hospital. Helen Broderick is an excellent comedienne in all the different roles she is called on to play; William Kent is likewise a most amusing and agreeable laugh-producer. Lester Crawford, Cliften Webb, Edith Hallor and Robert Emmett Keane contribute their share to the entertainment; Evelyn I aw and Maurice Diamond are clever dancers.
As for tunes, the big hit of the evening is "On the Brim of Her Old Fashioned Bonnet"; the audience whistles this catchy and irresistible melody as soon as it hears it. "Hootch" is a humorous song, in which the music, however, is subordinated to the words. The other compositions, while light and pleasing, are not, in the main, likely to be remembered. As soon as the mechanical details of the show have been smoothed out, and such capable actors as Mr. Keane have been given parts more in proportion to their talents,--and provided the name of the play is not changed again (this would be the fourth time),--"Vogues and Vanities" will doubtless settle down to a long run in Boston