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I"CtF'T-E.ICH-QUICK walling. I . FORD."

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On Saturday evening at the Criterion Thea- tre, comic opera gave place to farcical comedy In the shape of a dramatisation by George M. Cohan, of George Randolph Chester's cleverly-written American novel, "Get-Rich Quick Wallingford"." Tho piece was pro-

duced by Mr. J. C. Williamson's new comedy| company which Includes Mr. Fred, Niblol from the leading London and. New York theatres. Harry Corson Clarke, the original]

Jones in "What Happened to Jones," and Miss Josephine Coban, a well-known New York comedienne. These three undoubtedly high class artists bore the brunt of tho work, and naturally received most of the limelight, but It may be noted that they were ably sup- ported by Miss Beatrice Holloway. Edwin Lester, and Fred Cambourne, who'occupy pro minant positions on the Australian stage.

To say that the piece "caught on"-to use ono Americanism, which wo have assimilated

-hardly conveys the cordiality with whlcbj

the first performance in Australia was re- ceived. The dialogue is smart, or, as our American friends would term it. "cute," and the stream of fun rippled onward from point, to point, occasionally bubbling over, until.' metaphorically speaking, tno spectacle is pre- sented of "laughter holding both its sides." Ono is reminded to some extent of other) iuiportatlons from the United States, such as "Alias Jimmy Valentine," "The Girl of the1 Golden 'West," and "Browster's Millions;" buti

as the plot ts laid in a country town the' audience is .not puzzled by Bowery idioms or! the moro refined colloquialisms of the Broad- way. The comedy in its action is o£ the "hustling" order, but things do not begin to, "bum" In the placid town of Battlesburg until J. Rufus Wallingford and Horace Daw,

two New York crooks, swoop down upon 1t, and liven things up. The climax of apprecia-

tion came at the end of the play when it, took some time to hand on to the stage the many handsome floral compliments which were, presented to all Uic ladies In the cast. Mr.I Nlblo also mude a happy speech, In which,| while expressing his gratification at the warmth of Sydney's welcome, he paid a high tribute' to the management of J C. Williamson, Ltd., in preparing for the production.

The first scene opens in the office of the Palace Hotel In Battlesburg, a small town In which the residents are prone to "lean"! when any work of a strenuous nature Is sug-¡ gested. Daw (alias Blackie). the advance agent of the more brilliant "grafter." is.l however, stirring things up and chanting the praises of the coming Wallingford as a true

patriot, who scorns mero money considera-j

tlons, and is devoted to tne welfare of his, country. Andy Dempsey, the landlord of the hotel, Is not a fool, and Daw's arrival, without luggage Is viewed with suspicion, but tho latter so skilfully manipulates things that V,ill tho prominent citizens of Battles- burg lose their heads over the business pos- sibilities of Wallingford's advent. Conse- quently when he arrives the town is at fever heat. He is mot at the hotel by a recep- tion committee, to whom he delivers a stirring address, touching eloquently upon the great future in store tor the town when ho hasl done with It. The local brass" band in full uniform is called out, and blantantly em- phasises the welcome.

. When the excitement has subsided and the crooks getNa word together, a statement of ways and means discloses the fact that they possess only a few dollars between them, fionicthiner. therefore, has to be done im- mediately, and Wallingford hits upon the de- vice of starting a company to manufacture carpet-covered tacks. One or two specimens are hastily produced by hand, the financial' magnate's of the town aro summoned, and the great scheme propounded. Wallingford's elouquence and,apparent sincerity prevail, over caution and common sonso, and a com-

pany is formed with a capital of 125.000 dol-|

lars. Tho first contribution is made byi Dempsey's head clerk. Edward Lamb, who

possesses 11,000 dollars. Wallingford takes|

10.000, and significantly tolls the youngster that he had better keep the odd thousand as he! may want it. The transaction takes place under solemn pledge of secrecy, and the en torprising ' partners In villainy having thus obtained tho wherewithal to live sumptuously Siroceed to do so, and further strengthen! tho confidence of their victims by profuse hospitality. , I

But Lamb breaks the pledge of secrecy by Informing Fannie Jasper, Dempsey's steno-, grapher, of his Investment. Suspoctlng some-! thing wrong, sho warns Wallingford that If he fails to go straight she will expose him. Fnn nie. however, accepts the position of Walling- ford's private secretary, more for the pur

pose of watching him than for anything else, and the crook having control of the funds of the Carpet Tack Company, launches out into land and estate speculations. These suc- ceed beyond his wildest dreams, and when he and Daw meet and compare notes they are, astounded to find that they aro actually mak- ing money "on the square." In the mean- time Wallingford has fallen In love with his private secretary, and Daw's with Dorothy I Welles, and In the final scene of the play,

representing the lapse of two years, the erst- while crooks have, by honest means, become ¡millionaires and have married the objects of ¡their affections. They have also dono greatl

things with the aid of other citizens of Battlesburg to make the town prosperous

land go-ahead, and, though each confesses to , the other after a brilliant party at Walling-

ford's house that the hazard and excitement of a crook's life sometimes secretly appeals to him, his resolution to go straight is un- shaken. This Is the end to a very bright and excellently devised stage story. I

Though the action of the piece proceeded rapidly there was no confusion. The mem-' bers of the company seemed to fall into their parts automatically, and, encouraged by the enthusiasm of the audience, ihey made every-

thing go with a delightful swing. Mr. Fred Niblo in the title role was exceptionally good. (Tall, and with a good presence, he gave to I the character of the New York crooks the

air of sincerity necessary to capture the ¡confidence and purses of the unsophisticated.1 He was admirable in Wallingford's fervid ad I dress to tho Battlesburg people ,and in his

¡assumed Indignation, coupled with sorrow,

when he finds" his associates In the "Carpet

¡Tack Company" questioning his bona fides in I the absence of tangible results. Refined-In .style, and with a good voice, ho also ac-

quitted himself ably in Wallingford's love I passages with the girl who nas really forced I him Into paths of honesty. Mr. Harry Cor

son Clarke's Horace Daw was also charac- terised by thoroughness and he lost nothing bv comparison with the bright particular star of the company. Miss Josephine Cohan played the part of Fannie Jasper, the steno- grapher, with a sympathy that quickly ell j cited a response from the audience. Quiet land natural in her methods, she was all the i more forceful, and. that she can display emo-j

tional power when the situation calls for It,

¡was proved in the scene where Fannie faces

Wallingford and unmasks nlm. " Miss Cohan I was ably supported by the Misses Marian ^unn (Mrs. Andy Dempsey), Margaret Dale ¡Owen (Bessie Meens, the gum-chewing, head

waitress), Rosalind Smeaton (Gertrudo Demp-

sey), and Beatrice Holloway (Dorothy Welles). Of the male characters not already mentioned, i Mr. Edwin Lester gave an efficient sketch of

? G. W. Battles, "the richest man about town," ! Mr. Fred Cambourne made quite a feature

of Abo Günthers, ttíe 'bus driver, and Cyril French, as the wido-awako office boy, Willie, gave tho necessary sprightness to the part. ¡Messrs E Perlo Bush (Edward Lamb), James ¡H. Manning (Andy Dempsey), L. Adams i (Clint Harklns, reporter of the "Blade"), I Henry Matsumoto (Yosl Wallingford's valet),

I George Whitehead (ex-Judge Lampton), II. H. Wallace (Mayor of Battlesburg), Sydney Smith (Henry Qulgg, coal and ice magnate); and Robert Greig (Tom Donahue, a Pinkerton detective), also played well. Tho quality of the staging was quite consistent with tho efficiency of the production generally, tho most careful attention being paid to every detail: and the scenic efforts by Messrs.' Leslie Board and W. Little, left little to be desired. There will be a matinee of "Get Rich-Quick Wallingford" on Wednesday next.

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