Emmerich Kelmares light operetta which gave the world the famous song " Play Gipsy " has come to London after reaching its Continental teens.
At the Palace it is enlivened with very English comedy of Mr. Shaun Glenville, the hard-boiled cabaret humour of Mr. Douglas Byng and a very occasional topical joke. So even the most moderns who are inclined to think that this tuneful Hungarian romance was written for a less sophisticated generation " who," to use the words of one critic, "are welcome to it," should find sometbing to suit their tastes.
For my part 1 found the half-familiar music and the conventional plot of amatory misunderstandings a delightful change from the music-less and love-Jess shows that are supposed to be modern. Above all, 1 revelled in the kaleidoscopic chorus and the Zigeuner band.
Countess Maritza comes to life in England in the person of Mara Lossetf, a young Russian actress-singer, whose sung English is very difficult to follow, but she has a pretty voice and engaging manner. John Garrick as the wealthy prince disguised as the rough steward with whom she falls in love is just a little too smug and certain of being the Countess's conqueror, but his fine singing amply makes up for any acting shortcomings.
Dougles Byng as the ridiculous and rejected suitor fits into the romance surprisingly well, and gets his chance with his abaret female impersonation, singing " I'm the pest of Budapest." (The cabaret brings the beautiful Countess on to the stage in somewhat exiguous attire, whereat her steward lover indignantly denounces her with the words: " We Hungarians don't like our women to make exhibitions of themselves "—perhaps the more modern critics didn't like this.) Last, Miss Patricia Leonard deserves a word of praise as the soubrette (I believe that is the right word) and for pairing off so nicely with Dougles Byng; while Arthur Chesney as the deferential and faithful butler was well-nigh perfect.
It is a gay, melodious and colourful show that can be safely recommended to all who visit London during the summer. It also lasts a good three hours, and I like to get my money's worth.
! The Palace.