Variety / Vaudeville
14 December 2019
“On Monday evening next the enjoyable and grotesque bits of humor in the pantomime and the glories and beauties of its ballet and scenic displays will be further enhanced by the addition of a new burlesque opening, entitled ‘Rupert the Reckless.’ The new burlesque will be brought out with new scenery, dresses, appointments, &c., and, as it is said to be extremely funny, it will doubtless impart to the pantomime a new lease of life.”
“The new burlesque opening, to precede the pantomime at Wallack’s Theater, will be called ‘Rupert the Reckless.’ It will be presented for the first time next Monday evening.”
Coralline is “an odd version of the familiar ‘Lurline’ story, and by the addition of a few lively dances to the action of the pantomime. These changes are in no respect unimportant, and are intended only to enliven the closing nights of a series of performances which have at no time been successful, and which are presently to make way for a higher and more commendable order of attraction.”
“The experiment of pantomime burlesque at Wallack’s Theatre has not answered the expectations of the management, and will be replaced next week by the legitimate drama, played by the members of the Boston company now engaged at the Fifth Avenue Theatre; but in the mean time [sic] there is a chance for all who may feel any lingering interest in the conventional pantomime of the English stage to witness it under favorable auspices. The new piece, ‘Coralline,’ produced at Wallack’s last night to a slim audience, contains some very pretty ballets and a number of clever tricks. A ‘Pearl Dance,’ in which all the members of the ballet carry large mother-of-pearl shells, producing with them novel optical effects, is both beautiful and original. A grotesque and very amusing dance of Pierrots—each one comically dressed, half in white and half in red—had to be repeated. [Description of some stage tricks.]…All that is entertaining in the piece is contained in the ballets and the Harlequinade; but tongue cannot tell, pen cannot write, it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive the unutterable stupidity, the dismal vacuity of the burlesque proper. In this dreary sea of insipid twaddle Miss Effie Germon, Miss Rose Massey, Miss Fanny Prestige [sic, no “and”] struggle feebly and ineffectually, while the male players are wholly submerged by it.
“The scenery of the piece is good; a moonlight view on the Rhine and a ‘Palace of Plated Pillars’ being especially noticeable. The final transformation scene is thoroughly beautiful, and before the era of this sort of display would have been thought a miracle of theatrical art.
“‘Coralline’ will be repeated every evening this week. Wallack’s Theatre last night was quite cool and endurable; and intending visitors need not be scared away by dread of heat.”
“Wallack’s Theatre.—The pantomime of ‘Mother Hubbard,’ now running at this establishment, was prefaced on Monday evening for the first time with the new burlesque entitled ‘Sir Rupert the Fearless.’ The burlesque is the work of that clever English burlesque writer, Byron, and like the majority of his works of this class, it abounds in puns and a rhyming play upon words, which latter are often so supremely ridiculous as to cause even the gravest to smile; but it must be admitted that the jokes are of a nature better calculated o please a Cockney audience than an American one... The new burlesque is set to well known opéra bouffe music, and is costumed and mounted in a very gorgeous, not to say lavish, manner. It contains a good amoung of fun, and will doubtless create a new interest in the pantomime [Mother Hubbard], which was beginning to flag considerably. The pantomime too has undergone extensive alterations and improvements, and now contains a number of new and enjoyable tricks. The ballet likewise has been strengthened with several new features, not the least interesting of which is the drum corps march by the corps de ballet and the Pierrot dance by the young ladies of the ballet, dressed in jackets and trousers—one side red and the other side white. This is really one of the most amusing things of the kind ever before introduced upon the stage in this city.”
No mention of music. “…Obviously this class of entertainment has lost its hold upon public taste. We cannot be sorry for it—much as we deplore the temporary ill-fortune which this change in popular caprice has naturally brought upon a manager who has produced burlesque, ballet and pantomime in a perfectly delicate and tasteful manner... Considerable applause greeted the performance, last night, in which, we are pained to announce, the first musketo [sic, mosquito] of the season participated. He was in remarkably strong voice and very vigorous appetite.”
“‘Mother Hubbard’ is eking out a miserable existence at Wallack’s Theatre, where the business continues very bad [sic]. This week a new burlesque opening called ‘Coralline; or, Sir Rupert the Reckless,’ will be presented, but this will not save the old lady from her timely death.”