Ballets Russes " The Two Bouquets" Zero " Sim Sala I3im "
This season of the Russian Ballet at Covent Garden will remember always the name of Leonide Massine and the toes of Riabouchinska.
Not that either the choreography of the one or the execution of the other has reached the limits of its possibilities, but rather that both have shown what possibilities are still there—and more important than their own possibilities—what infinite heights and depths of life the medium of ballet can interpret.
The greatest triumph for Massine this year is the great Symphonie Fantastique (music by Berlioz), that strangely religious ballet, which although the programme synopsis of the story gives it the narrowing theme of a musician's dreams when under the influence of an opiate, might well be widened into an interpretation of the soul's passage through life itself, passed death and into a rest which is eternal.
In five stages Massinc has covered the span of the soul's passage. Youth, loud with conflicting desires, swift in action, inconstant in purpose, clanging with discordant mental warfare but led always by an ideal, ever present, but never utterly clear, is the first theme.
Then a movement away from the restless searchings of youth and manhood seeks a certain comfort in easy pleasures, in gaiety that is superficial. The ideal is there but more obscured, and less of an urge.
In the third movement—the idyllic pastoral, life has resolved itself, has become not a turbid affair of impulses; not a placid thing of satisfaction, but a matter of quiet answers instead of bewildering questions.
The next movement, symbolising death with all its violence, physical suffering and mental despair, is followed by the passing of the soul into purgatorial suffering and the conflict between the power for good (intercession of the priests) and all the demoniac strength of hell let loose. Good triumphs in the end and the soul is borne away to happiness and rest upon the Nhoulders of those who interceded for it.
Massine in his own medium has recreated in the Symphonie Fantastique another Dream of Gerontius. I. C.
The Early Victorians
A charming early Victorian fantasy The Two Bouquets by Eleanor and Herbert Faricon, has just been produced at the Ambassadors. So perfectly had the costumes been selected to suit the period of the play that looking at the stage was like looking at beautifully coloured drawings of Du Maurier from the very earliest volumes of Punch.
The stiffly pedantic but delightfully piquant dialogue was also in keeping with the charming setting, and satirical little songs, set to the music of early Victorian days, completed the picture. If the humour was a little crude occasionally such minor blemishes were easily forgotten in the generally charming atmosphere of the production.
Two small bouquets are the whole excuse for the play, each bouquet contains hidden among its petals a declaration of affection and a proposal of marriage, which two young gentlemen (with the correct side whiskers of the period and resplendent in the perfect evening ensemble), wish to convey to the young ladies of their choice. Unfortunately, courage failed them at the last moment, and instead of presenting their flowers in person they hand over their respective floral tokens of affection to a young spark of a brother who mixes the bouquets up so that each young lady gets the wrong one. The rest of the play is absorbed in untangling the knot, and restoring each lover to his own again.
Adelaide Stanley and Bruce Carfax sing delightfully as one pair of lovers, while Edith Lee and Warren Jenkins do likewise as the other pair. The success, however, of the evening is undoubtedly due to George Benson, as the rake of a brother, who, by the way, has been secretly married to a young and vivacious actress, perfectly played by Gertrude Musgrove.
WALTER it BECKETT.
Debunked Monte Carlo
Just in case you still have illusions about the carefree lightheartedness of life on the Riviera, a play called Zero has been written to put you wise, and the Embassy Theatre has just been staging it.
If you have a hunch that the champagne air of the Cote d'azur will infuse new life into you, listen to the blonde cuties who in their refreshing innocence gave up all the joys of a racketing night life in New York for a chance of turning the roulette wheel in Monte Carlo. Their conversation gives the impression that even a gazelle would limp on the Riviera.
But it was not only the blonde cuties that found Monte Carlo impossible. They were merely bored, and after all they were right outside the real drama of the piece. Not even Bill Treeves (Martin Walker) and Eve Grant (Jane Baxter) could bear life or themselves there—and they were presumably in love else why should Eve have run (Continued in next column.) (Continued from previous column)
unforgettable about Forget-Me-NotBenjamin° Gigli's voice, and his glorious tenor is making its film debut in this picture at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Apart even from having a glorious tenor voice, Gigli has a charming personality of that almost inaudible kind that everyone loves. Through an appealing pidginEnglish and an adorable baby son he wins himself a place in his audience's affections that will never be wrested from him by any amount of tedious film reel before and after that does not record his presence.