Barbour's dramatization of Rider Haggard's "She" was presented to a weary and yawning audience at the Lansing theatre last night. The play opened with a prologue in which the first Kallikrates , the "Original Jacobs" vascillated between the wily Egyptian and the Queen of Kor , and in which Anemerates stood pleading for the effervescent affections of her husband, who, when under Ayshea's charms, resembled butter that is subjected to the influence of solar rays. Finally the susceptible priest died from too much affection. The ladies, after a good deal of cursing, disappeared and at last the prologue was over. After an interval of one thousand four hundred and forty years the curtain rose again upon some very illegitimate and uncalled for comedy. When the reincarnation of Kallikrates appeared it was not hard to believe that he had lived for some hundreds of years. He showed traces of wear and looked as though after he quit the pulpit he spent most of his time acting in melodrama. Mr. Edwin Browne was an insufferable cad last night; in the prologue he was a Greek cad, in the drama he was an English cad, and he was a living illustration that cads are the same the world over. He was corpulent and stagy, he could not even read his lines intelligently. The lines Mr. Barbour meant to be funny this beefy Leo delivers in tones both tragic and tearful.
As to She herself, we saw very little of her. Because of the fearful and wonderful construction of the play she did not appear until the last part of the third act, when she did deign to grace the stage for a few moments. She was quite pretty—when she had her veil on. She likewise was utterly incapable of reading her lines. The only person in the cast who at all, either in make-up or acting, portrayed anything of Haggard's novel was Mr. Fred Summerfield as Horace Holly . He was not offensive. The whole performance was "one barren waste lit by no single star." One sat and longed for the Holdens and high art.
The play is as awful as the people who play it. All the good situations were left out and the unimportant ones made use of. The scene in the catacombs of Kor was omitted and the pot dance treated trivially. A dramatized novel is generally a thing to be feared and distrusted. In this play all the weird suggestions of unknown lands and peoples, of mystery and awful age, of reckless daring and of careless love which lend Mr. Haggard's book its charms are lost. The effect of the performance was to disgust one with the world and make one long for the time "When the Rudyards cease to Kipling, And the Haggards Ride no more."