Of course the "Black Crook" drew. It always does, and the Lansing was pretty well filled from "bald-headed row" to gallery. Of course a spectacular play, when playing to one night stands, loses one of its chief attractions, the confusing number of dancers. No matter how far the imagination may stretch, eight will not take the place of eighty, and an army of a dozen amazons will not be imposing.
The chief attraction of the "Black Crook" lies perhaps in its alleged naughtiness. It is not really much worse than many other plays, but then as one expects it to be naughty one is apt to let one's imagination eke out any depth of wickedness. Then really some of the jokes were too obviously double headers. One could not fail to see them, especially when they were italicized by the applause of the gallery. To the pure all things may be pure, but if one wishes to see the "Black Crook" as a moral spectacle he must be a saint indeed. Any serious criticism on a play so familiar is uncalled for. A mixture of scenic effects, ballet, comic songs and specialties changes of course gradually in every part; but, like the boy's knife, it is supposed to be always the same. At any rate it goes under the old title.
With regard to the particular performers — one hesitates to call them actors — Mr. Mack as Greppo was about the best. His tricks like his "gags" were unexpected and brought laughter irresistible and explosive.
Blanche Henshaw made a very pretty and vivacious soubrette as Carline , though she did not quite outdo Lottie Collins , whom she evidently emulates. She is naughtier, amazingly so, but far less fascinating. Her Marguerite is quite unnecessarily vulgar and winks too much. Miss Henshaw, by the way, should take a hint from a certain popular song and should not always wink with the right eye.
As to the dancing, some of the girls were pretty and several were very far from pretty. One or two did especially good work in the skirt dance. Mlle. Adele Camis , the premiere danseuse, was sprightly rather than graceful. She did well, not so well, perhaps, however, as the little Liska , who gave the audience only one thing to regret, that a child of her age should dance at all.