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A rough Riff Robin Hood is the protagonist in "The Desert Song", a tuneful expose of Mohammedan love-technique now on view at the Majestic Theatre. Yelept "The Red Shadow" (rhymes with "go, snow, or know") this brigand leads his turbaned tenors to several well-earned choral triumphs over Post 13 of the Moroccan Legion.
For a musical play, the action of "The Desert Song" is intricate. Pierre Birabeau, played by Robert Halliday, is known in North African social circles as the half-wit son of Governor-General Birabeau. But this is only an assumed role; among the Riffs, Pierre is really none other than "The Red Shadow", a renegade white man who leads the natives on nocturnal forays. His dual activities are not suspected and they give him a lot of good harmless fun until love arrives in the attractive form of Miss Ethel Louise Wright as Margot Bonvalet, a visiting Parisienne.
Pierre becomes involved when he engineers an abduction--object matrimony--this of Mam'selle Bonvalet. Her fiance and the General, both Legionnaires, turn out in pursuit. It is not until after a hectic harem scene and a few Sahara serenades that "The Shadow" ("Shad", for short) emerges the winner on points: the Parisenne on one arm and a reconciled father on the other.
Eddie Buzzell, as a newspaper correspondent who is captured by "a thousand, no, more than that--ten hundred Riffs," furnishes the amusement. His prayer to Allah, beginning "you know me, Al," is a gem. This comic interpolation, combined with Sigmund Romber's music, suffices to make "The Desert Song" entertainment of the first rank.
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