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"THE NIGHT SIDE OF

LONDON."

a nev season was successfully opened at the Adelphi Theatre last nlgbt'by another George Willoughby dramatic combination, m which Mr. George Cross is the principal flg ure. This iavourite actor accordingly appear- ed with a different cast in "The Night Side of London," tie sensational play by C. Wat- son Mill, in which he appeared In March, 191-. This piece will be remembered for the situa- tions which still make It popular, more es- pecially tor the one In whleh ;'k> heroine, Eather Dorrinscourt. fall- -tie '"3 In the snow amidst the daz-llng l'sLu ..; i'all Mall, and Is carried by the villain into a gorgo ously-lurnlshed Night Club, the interior of which is rapidly shown In another élaborais scene. The rococo style of decoration, the luxurious appointments, and flunkeys in scar- let, and the gaily-dressed women who throng the supper-rooms at the back, form a highly realistic picture of vice that flaunts la but- terfly colours. It Is here that Esther re- covers her senses to find herself in the power of Herod Steinberg a Jewish crimi- nal, who his made money by or- ganising a typewriting school," the luckless girls, in which learn too late that they must either submit to the Insults of his customers, or starve in the wet, cold streets outside. The drama purports, in point of fact, to es- pose the evils of the ''White Slave Traflic" and there is a good deal of moralising on the sex problem- However, Herod's "school" [would not last a week In any English city that possessed an ordinarily efficient police system, and the whole story is too crowded with Im- probabilities to justify serious consideration. Apart from its occasional absurdities, however, it is consistently worked out, and that the ingenuity of the author was considerable was demonstrated by the delightful applause with which the audience greeted every fresh devel-

opment.

Mr. George Cross plays once more with quiet force the part of th* Rev. Manuel Erring- ton, the evalgelist Ia love with Esther, and It is his strong arms and ready fists which Ideal the knock-out to the hirelings, who op- pose his entrance to the night c1»-. The fescue was all the more grateful to the audi- ence because Chauffeur Curly Dobbs, the low comedian, disguised as a swell with Piccadilly weepers, after several triumphs in aid of the heroine, had suddenly been included In tho ma-jacre of the innocents by the wily Herod. The part was played with much bustling hu mour and buoyancy by Mr. Frank Crossley. When the piece was first staged at the Adelphi, Mr. H. W. Diver showed Herod as a physically frail old man, whose Mephls tophellaa suggestion of almost mesmeric power awed his victims. Mr. T. W. Lloyd now plays the part quite differently as a port- ly, well-dressed maa oí the world, his oriental gestures alone betraying his origin. The impersonation was a sound one, and the scene of defiance with the hero was strongly acted by both parties to it. Miss Vera Romee proved an engaging and sympathetic'

Esther. The struggle with Herod came - tardily off last night, but in other respects the attention of the audience was securely held by the graceful actress. Mr. Arthur Shirley proved -a polished and well-groomed "villain with scruples" as Ralph Desmond. Miss Muriel Dale was appropriately hard, haughty, and domineering as the cruel Naomi Merrick; Miss Pearl Smith's rich voice as- sisted her in pourtraylng the misery of Mag ld_la; and Miss Fanny Erriä vividly hit oft the rustic peculiarities of the simple Slithers. Mr. Frank Reis had his pathetic moments as Ostler Jim,-and Vera Huggett cleverly simulated lameness as the crippled child, Dolly Herrick. Two extraordinary charac- ters have been lifted from mediaeval tinKJ, and planted in the centre of this modern melodrama. Cairns I Mr. J. J. Ennis) is a musician from whom Herod first stole his wtfe (Magdala), and then put out his eyes; and his dumb companion Starman (Mr. Chas. W. Taylor) had his tongue cut out by Herod after the latter had eloped with his sister.

The blind musician played Mendelssohn's , "Spring Sang" as a frequent reminder to,. Herod that ho was likely to be strangled, and

the whole house rejoiced whenever Herod . shivered and shook at the sound. However,

in the tlnal scene,' {he villain escaped stran-.. gulatlon, owing to the untimely Intervention of a -uah. of Lightning, which prematurely "flnlahed bim ou" at the foot ot the market cross. These obsurditi«»« notwithstanding. "Tua- Night Side of London ' waa received with, enthusiasm, and the animation of the acting under Mr. WiUoughby's direction, sttould ensure its renewed popularity.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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