In spite of the inclement weather "The Spider and the Fly" was presented to a fairly good house at the Lansing last night. The play is one of those combinations of circus and very light opera which seem written especially to give employment to ring contortionists and trapeze preformers during the season when the canvas is too breezy to exhibit their skill. Light operas are supposed to be light, but this one came nearer an absolute vacuum than any play we have seen lately, except the "Hendrick Hudson" of Sweetie Corinne . In fact, the whole thing was merely "atmosphere trimmed in blue ribbons." The scenery was excellent and some of the songs were well enough, though it is rather late in the day to tell us that "The cows are in the clover and have been there since morn." The duetti by the Laporte sisters were good, and Miss Rose Laporte had a wonderfully sweet alto voice, the only respectable voice in the company, by the way. Mr. Robert Bell as Pickler failed to interest the audience much, and left the painful impression that he was only laughing his old laugh over again. There was very little heart or mirth in any part of the play or the action. Some plays, like the people who habitually visit them, in their great desire to be sufficiently wicked lose even the pretext of mirth and have only the raw material left. Spectacular plays as a rule are written for people who are too far gone to laugh normally or naturally. As to the actors, they were of the usual kind who consent to act in spectacular performances, their sole art consisted in making their figures fit their tights, which were very pretty and made one rather glad that the Massachusetts skirt bill has not passed. There was the usual "spectacular" device of having the leading man's part taken by a sallow, faded looking woman in ill-fitting gentleman's attire. What the light opera folks see attractive in having one ungainly woman make love to another, in a poor imitation of masculine tones, it is hard to say. They certainly cannot hope to arouse any sympathy in the audience by such unnatural and unpleasing situations. Audiences prefer masculine lovers, no sensations except those of weariness are aroused by seeing women in tights spooning with each other. The merits of the actors in "The Spider and the Fly" can be stated in very few words; only one of them could sing, none of them could act and most of them could look very pretty.
The children, as well as their parents, have a treat in store for them, for that best of all fairy spectacular plays, the Hanlon Bros.' "Fantasma," is to be presented at the Lansing theatre Monday and Tuesday, February 12 and 13, in all its greatness and gorgeousness. Since last season the Hanlons have devoted a great deal of time and money to improving the production and the result is that "Fantasma" is now better than ever before.
Not too much of one thing, but a pleasing, well arranged variety will be giuen in the Western Normal entertainment at the Y. M. C. A. Friday evening, February 9. The proceeds go to the Y. M. C. A. building fund.