Once again it may be said that the world is divided into two classes, this time those who like the Marx brothers and those who don't. The assertion probably needs qualification to include those who have never seen the Marx brothers, if indeed any such still exist. It may be assumed that the latter class is in fact not a myth in order to justify a review of one of their productions; for the first mentioned class will go to see it no matter what the reviewer says, and the second mentioned couldn't by any amount of persuasion be induced to view such a spectacle after their initial experience.
The present reviewer is distinctly a Marxophil; there is no question that he will attend and enjoy every piece in which Harpo Marx has a part; Harpo's countenance insures it. And so with this introduction and explanation let us proceed to a consideration of the performance at hand, which is "Animal Crackers", now playing at the Shubert Theatre.
Aside from the Marx brothers, and there are only three of them who count, Harpo, Groucho, and Chico, the show is a better than average musical production. Such a statement is distinctly damning it with faint praise; but it need not worry any one because these gentlemen so overshadow the remaining performers and performances that "the show aside from the Marx brothers" need not even be taken into consideration. They are the evening's entertainment, and better could not be asked. They pull exactly the same sort of gag which they did in "The Cocoanuts" and "I'll Say She Is", and, wonderful to relate, it is just about as effective as it was in either of these preceding masterpieces. For example Harpo blows the same smoke bubbles; makes the same faces; goes through the same antics; and plays the same harp (or one that looks just like it) as he always did. Groucho gets away with jokes like this as only he can: "I don't like little Junior's crossing the railroad track; in fact I don't like little Junior at all." Chico gets into an argument with Groucho which, poorly paraphrased, runs somewhat as follows: (they're looking for a stolen picture) G.--I think it must be in the next room, according to this plan. C.--I guess you're right we'll look there first. G.--But what if there isn't any next room? C.--That's easy; we'll build one.
And so it goes. Or so it fails to go, according to the way you look at it.
The music can be called at best no more than fair. There are no outstanding numbers and no startling presentations of what there are. The cast is alright; it may even be the same as that which played in New York as far as we can remember, (though of course the costumes are a little dirtier by this time). But all of this just goes to prove that the important thing about it all is the unimportance of minor details like these. The Marx brothers are distinctly the show, and by all means see them now for they may not be in these parts for a long time to come. The censor may even get them for making the audience laugh too much!