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Although we have repeatedly criticised the appearance of Julia Sanderson in "No, No, Nanettte", we still have the utmost sympathy for the star herself. It is one of our beliefs that musical comedy is the realm of young people alone, to which they may impart the eternal dancing brilliance of youth unspoiled. In a like manner we are more apt to appreciate an older and more matured actor on the serious stage. But where love, and music, and the whirling ballet are concerned, we must have a certain effervescence and sparkle beyond the dignified capers of middle-age.
And so we were disappointed in Mitzi because we know her as one of the best of musical comedy stars a few years back and because we believe that she has outgrown pretty songs and trick dancing. It seems a shame that she should run the risk of spoiling the memories of "Pom-Pom" and "Lady Billy". It seems a shame that any actress should play to the bright footlights of musical comedy in the decline of her popularity. The audience is quick to forget and quick to show that it has forgotten.
Burdened with a cold, with a tolerably dull score, and with a story modelled too closely on "Naughty Cinderella", Mitzi played gallantly along, unrewarded by the applause of former years. But although Mitzi's famous love song had given appropriate place to "Plant Roses in Memory's Garden", just another lyric, "Naughty Riquette" was at times as great entertainment as we ever want to see. And the reason for that may be summed up in the two words, Stanley Lupino.
Mr. Lupino was at times so frightfully silly that we were very much afraid that we would be thrown out of the theatre for letting out that extra loud laugh of ours. Ever since childhood, we have heard British humor widely ridiculed in America, and ever since childhood we have gone into weak giggles over it. Either we violently disagree with our compatriots, or Americans have been kidding themselves all along as to the true nature of an Englishman's humor.
Mr. Lupino is very much like Mr. Buchanan of "Charlot's Revue", and if that isn't enough praise we might add that he is Cockney and filled with a Cockney's natural talent. We have headed this column with a line from one of his little songs which describes the abilities of the man and the ostrich and points out that our great politicians would have a hard time in doing as well. Mr. Lupino is not of the wisecracking, smut-slinging school. All his laughs depend on sound principles of burlesque and a certain ridiculous irresponsibility that makes him seem at all times spontaneous. Possibly you may not sympathize as we do with Mitzi, but if you don't like Mr. Lupino we shall wait for you some night out by the Rotunda.
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