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THREE SPOONFULS.” AT THE CRITERION. THE Amlerln an farce of Messrs. Covington and Si llnlsen’s connt tilg wuhich now fills the Criterion bill under the title of ” Three Spoonfuls,” tlrns on the old, old thenme of an ” elixir of -outh ‘” ; and suggests the equally old moral that were it discovered, it might not bring all the happt- ness the ah herlnsts who sought for it anticipated The doctor-hero of the play believes he has solved the mystery, but to exploit his secret lie needs financial backing, and ian only get it from an oll General by promising him his daughllter’s hand liht she prefers a suitor Iwho is young’; and it cl.curs to her father to get over this dilfic lty by trving the elixir on the (eneral. Iie imagines lie hal stu cerded lth a vengeance l-mstaking for the result of his experimlent, a baby whlch aIn undesirable daughter-in- laws has left on the military lian’s hands. Then a second Iaby is brouglht on the scene , aind the wildest confusion prevails – ers nulrth-provokmng in a mnecallcal way, but not easily described It is crude sort of buffoonery, this, but the sheer energy put into the performance bye a coin Ipan”t nsparuig of exertions, and including, anlmong others, Miss Sara luala, as a passionate Spanish heauty, prevents tile audience from analysing the sources of its amnusenment too critically. “THE HALF-SISTER.” AT THE APOLLO It is an amllateulrish effort at farce that we get just now at the Apollo pending Mr Hawtrey’s next appearance. That the Idea on lwhch Agnes (‘rovsdale has based the coin phliations of ier tory of ‘ Thfle Half-Sister ” is childish, wollul not inatter i we were(er not allowed tlle in intervals 1i langunor to note its hildishness, and did not the acting to oftcii adopt the slois pate of coiiedi in s-unes which hI ld Dols pass muster if played in a spirit of break-neck ilart The lachrsymse butler, lwhoise penitence at deciVrllng his mistress Mr. C(orne tries so hard to make ludl urousi; and the wife in search of a hlusband to i llloiii Miss olluna Iliarr-lsn lend, a quaint touclh of character, are suolething like real figures of farce; but thel are sur- rounded hv characters whose niiiveinents are fuilublng, and ihose’ antics are not too droll. It is a long time before tile uipousture with lwhiclh the heroine victuimses tile oiuldl – e chaperon leads to a genuinely comnic situation, and she is faced, first, with the Iauan whose wlfte she has pretl-ended to be, and then with the woman whose ldle’lity she hai stolen BIut that is the only funny molmellt And the reasoln for planting her on poor Lady Soutlhgate that the wvealtlhy ward whoml this hostess wants as daiughter- rn-latw allnnot bear to be parted from her half-sister nlever begins to seem plalsible. So that swe have to walt well into the tlird act before Ihe play seelms to wake up, or the audience is given a chance of fiorgetting the feeble basis of the farce. For what it is, Mr. Lawrence Robbins, Mr. Vernoin DIavldson., Mss Malbel Yonge, anld otihers, do their best wlithl colourless rldes ; even the two mnore happily served players have not over-good opportunities. REJANE IN “AISACE.” AT THE COURT. It is not a play of any serious artistic account, this drama of ” Alsace,” In which Mleu. 1Ijane has elected to appear at the Court Theatre Indeed, it Is melhodramatic and farclial lyv turns, and in hoth styles decidedlyl crude-but it will serve in these days when imagination is quickened, anld the woundls of France have been reopened for, let us hope, their permanent healing. It plctures for us just sulficientlv the agony of the severed provinces and the forty- ear-old longings of the motherland; it brings home to us in some measure the meaning of the cult of revanche and the passion that surges up in a Frenchman’s heart at the mere hearing of the names of Alsace and Lorraine And wshat the authors, MM. Leroux and Camille, fail to achieve in the way of subtlety or finesse, the art of Rfjane herself supplies. Watch her as the old Alsatian nmother going over tihe old home the exile has had to leave, anl touching each familiar article of furniture tenderly ; hear her Mine O(rhey inspiring her dependents to sing, oh i so quietly, the strains of the ” Mlarsellaise “; catch the crooked smile she gives the dame while she is helping a fugitive to escape the clutcuhes of the German police–and y’ou have mpersonated for you France herself as she makes her way on her mission of recovery. The acting is great because of its reahisation of the greatness for w]hich it stands. As for-the story, the story of a patriot mother who has to endure her son’s nmarrymg among the enemy, but is at length reiarded by the sight of hllm taking his stand on the side of France -it is a poor enough thing lhat matters about ” Alsace ” is that it gives the French actress a grand part, and that she rises grandly to the occasion.

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Issue 3965. - Vol CXLVI

Apr, 17 1915

Illustrated London News