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First Night Success

A hundred years ago, when Australia was unwritten story and unsung melody, Collits' Inn, on the western slopes of the Blue Mountains, stood as an outpost on

the edge of discovery The musical romance Collits Inn which brought back to the Princess Theatre on Saturday evening all the recaptured enchantment of those spacious days Is an outpost of achievement too To Mrs Varney Monks genius for the Australian sym phony one is indebted for this charming piece Collits Inn points back down the blue grey distances to colourful days of red coats and rangers At the same time it satisfies as no Rose Marie

or Lilac Time can satisfy the long ¿hirst for the symphonv of the shaded road or the bushland barbarism of the corroboree in strains that owe nothing to the past

Mrs Monk took her inspiration from a genuine inn where coach horses were changed when the road was being pushed from Penrith to the western plains by convicts who worked under military supervision Pierce Collits (Marshall Crosby) Is a convict who for his share in the building of the road is given a grant of land upon portion of which he built his Inn His daughter Mary (Gladys Moncrieff) falls in love with the young officer John Lake (Robert Chisholm)

of the infantry regiment which is in charge of the road gang Her father with his inborn hate of the red- coats refuses to countenance the match Robert Keane (Claude Flemming) the outlaw whose operations lent a sinister reputation to the inn is killed at the hands of Lake first having struck down Mary in a scene at the inn Lake is ordered home and succeeds to a baronetcy but returns only to find tint Mai y has lost her memory The sight of the old uniform restores her balance and the romance ends as all musical comedies should

Collits Inn could not hav e been more happily cast Miss Moncrieff lent to her native Australian setting all the lustre with which she has shone against more exotic backgrounds Mr Chisholm re- turning after si\ j ears to the Australian stage slipped ideally Into his military role and Mr Flemming showed that he had been far from idle while abroad The comedy largely in the hands of George Wallace (Dandy Dick) the Inn rouseabout who was partnered by Phyllis Baker was sparkling and re


Everybody was delighted by the music of Mrs Varney Monk and by its interpre

tation not only at the hands of Miss Moncrieff and Mr Chisholm for whom were found lyrics of just the sort that they sing with gieatest success but also by Claude Flemming and BJTI Walk lej who plajs the part of the housekeeper at the inn One of the best songs In the piece is the rollicking A Laugh and a Kiss in which Mr Chisholm and his company of red coats were received with tremendous ap plause In all piobability however Stay While the Stars Are Shining sung by Mr Chisholm and Miss Moncrieff w ill find greatest public favour Other num bers by Miss Moncrieff This Year and Making Memories evoked wai m ap

plause Mr Flemming has a dashing | Outlaw s Song and Miss Walklej a

pretty old world number Sweet Wil I


It would be idle to pietend that Collits Inn is without ble nish Even produced with the high degree of skill which Mr Flemming has brought to his work with the advantage of a magnificent cast and with the mechanical aid which the mo deni i evolving stage offers the plav can be faulted Theie is evidence that the libietto which is the woik of Mr T S

Gun Ins been doctored by various I hands with the icsult that one loses track of the action Marj s fall in act three loses in dramatic value by taking place up stage The melodramatic death of the bushranger is out of haimony with the i omantic design and the lapse of three years between scene and scene in the last act is inartistically handled The words of the song Austialla which un fortunatelv closes the show are common place to the point of banality These ure compaiative trifles foi the most part easily eliminated in the light of e\peri

euee Thej do not alter the fact that

Collits lim was enjoyed by a most enthusiastic audience m measure suffi cient to îustifj Mr Thring in thus comageously giving to Austiallan musical corned) its place in the sun