The Lansing held a fair audience last night and they seemed more than well pleased, though really they saw no play at all. But they did not want too see one. They wanted to be bewildered and dazzled and dazed and astonished, and all this they got, and more too. There were witches with uncanny arms, mules that danced and grinned, beautiful girls with whirling skirts, pictures aglow with electric spangles, a fairy queen with a diadem of stars, a king of hades , black-bearded and stern-voiced, and a white-faced unfortunate who met the wrong side of everything, and all these moved in a world of infinite doors and unfathomable possibilities, the pantomime world, where you may be quite sure of one thing, that nothing will be what it seems to be. Truly it would be an awful world to live in, even with pink fairies in fluttering skirts for companions. One could have no confidence in the solidest chair or in the most unyielding wall. Candles might explode and boats might vanish at any moment, and demons in spotted tights might come tumbling out of anything.
Fantasma is the play for the children. For them it is fairyland made real. Here are rabbits that steal the hunter's gun, fish that dance gravely, a giraffe that knows what a joke is, and boots that go climbing to the ceiling. And have they not read that all these things may be? Here is the fortunate lover with curly hair and the beautiful girl who loves him, and the statues that change into men, and the caves that flash into palaces. What more can they ask? Perhaps they cannot see some things as older eyes — and more sensual — may see them, but that is fortunate, and will not last. We go home to discourse knowingly of stage mechanism and electric effects, while they carry home visions of spangles and diadems that dance into their dreams. What is the use of criticising? Let us follow them for one night and appreciate.
The spectacular play of the type of "Fantasma" is the ultimate resting place of the actor who rants. Here, in fact, bombastiy is a real merit. What else than turgidity do we want of Zamaliel , the king of hades. The slightest suspicion of nature would quite ruin everything. And, here, too those playwrights that love surprising incident may find refuge. Nothing is too strange for such a stage, not even the stuffed buffalo from whose empty eye-socket the misguided train robber so lately pointed his pistol. Probability, even plausibility, would only disappoint us; we demand, indeed, that the wonder outrun imagination.
The Rutledge company was announced to open a week's engagement at the Funke last night. A fair sized audience came and waited until nearly 10 o'clock and then was dismissed without a performance. The company, due to come in over the Missouri Pacific at 5 o'clock, did not arrive until after 9, and when the baggage reached the opera house it was nearly 10. This was too late and the show for last night was declared off.
These kings of pantomime will appear at the Lansing theatre Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17, in their comedy success, "Eight Bells." The production this season will be marked by a number of new tricks. An entirely new last act, which will present some of the most costly and elaborate scenery on the stage.