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TUNEFUL COMEDY WITH
TOUCH OF SHAW
Deüout Shavians may object io "The Chocolate Soldier" as an inept parody of their master, bul its survival is rather a compliment lo Shaw than a joke against him. li is no parody in the accepted sense of the rvord, for ii is rather Sharv-and-milk than Shaiu-and-üincgar.
Where "Arms and the Man" was satire, ' Tile Chocolate Soldier" is farce, but there is enough of Shaw about the libretto to place it far abov e most musical comedy
Tills is one reason for its long life The other is Oscar Straus's music, which is probably the most tuneful score he has ever written If It were only for that insidious, sentimental waltz song, "My Hero" it would be proof against oblivion, but the score bubbles with melodies which are as fruity as old Burgundy, beside the thin acidity of most contemporary com-
There arc no unforgettable characters in the workmanlike libretto concocted bj Bernauer and Jacobson, but most of the principals of J C Williamson's Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company find niches which they fit passably well Miss Strella Wilson is most happily served as Nadina, the high-born Bulgarian maiden who develops such a craving for male society while her lover is away fighting the Serbians, that she shelters a fugitive enemy officer and finally marries him instead This is a fine singing part, and Miss Wilson has seldom done better
The pleasantly innocuous character of the story has transformed Bluntschli into Bumerll a droll, agreeable fellow from Switzerland, who has found his way bj a strange mischance into the Serbian army Mr Gregory Stroud made him a
very martial figure and more than a rival in love for the strutting Major SpiridofT, neatly played by Mr. Leo Daniton.
There are some lively comic sketches by Miss Evelyn Hall and Mr. Clifford Cowley and by Miss Eileen Kelly. Mr. Richard Watson, in his few appearances, makes a glorious burlesque of the fear- some Captain MassakrofT, but Mr. Tommy Jay has a walk-on part which gives him no opportunities. The smooth work of the chorus is evidence that the show has been adequately rehearsed.
Performances will continue, with matinees, until the return of the Russian Ballet on June 19.