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The summer season is with us in earnest. The "Poor Little Ritz Girl," now playing at the Wilbur, blossoms forth as one of the hardy perennials which adorn Boston's stage in the sultry season.
Although to all intents and purposes the conventional girl and music show, this comedy offered by Mr, Lew Fields differs in its mode of presentation from the average. The plot deals with a virtuous young chorus girl from the South who, by her innocence and charm, succeeds in smashing a few conventions with impunity.
Barbara Arden, the girl, rents an apartment from an unscrupulous landlord at a greatly reduced price. It turns out that the landlord has rented the apartment during the absence of the rightful lessees. And then, in the middle of the night of course, when the girl is safely settled in her new abode, William Pembroke, "wealthy young bachelor," comes back to his rooms from an extended journey in the West. The usual complications ensue. The girl finds her reputation being torn to shreds by her friends, till Dorothy Arden comes up from the South and for the sake of her sister's good name, the bachelor tells her that he has married Barbara. But everything is finally smoothed out--Pembroke really marries the girl, his pal marries the sister, and all is rosy.
The novelty of the piece consists in having the action shift to the stage of the theatre where a play is being rehearsed. Here there is an opportunity to introduce the customary song and dance numbers without interrupting the continuity of the piece.
The book, which includes considerable horse-play, is not entirely lacking in clever lines, although they are rather few and far between. The scorn of the chorus girl for the impecunious First National Bank which didn't have $35 to pay a check, returning it marked "No Funds," was a fine bit of sarcasm. Except for occasional flashes like this the action was inclined to drag.
Mr. Fields made one experiment which might be developed in future productions. Instead of the usual one-sided telephone conversations, the speaker at the other end of the line stood off-stage behind the instrument and spoke in a muffled voice which was a very creditable imitation of what one hears at a receiver. And when some stage hand dropped a piece of scenery outside the effect was even more realistic. But we might suggest that a little time be given to training the actors not to continue speaking after the receiver has been hung up.
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