Hoyt's "Trip to Chinatown" was presented last night at the Lansing theatre. The house was crowded from orchestra to gallery, and long before the curtain rose an air of general merriment stole over the audience and every one began smiling at the mere anticipation of Hoyt.
It seems almost paradoxical to say that a play can be successful, and very successful which has neither plot nor purpose nor seriousness of any kind, and yet "A Trip to Chinatown" is certainly innocent of any and all of these and is a great, a howling success. Of course the success of the play is very largely due to the actors. It is a great thing to have seen the original Madison Square company , as those of us who saw it after having seen a second rate company in the same play can testify.
Harry Conor as Welland Strong gets very near the top notch of comedy. In his invalid state he was almost too much for us, heaven help us if he were in sound health! Of course Miss Boyd as the Widow was the great hit of the evening. As a rule fat women can't act, but the widow is just fat enough, if she loses or gains an ounce it will ruin her artistic reputation. She has the advantage of being exceedingly handsome, fair, fat, and — probably — forty, and then that smile and those irresistibly wicked eyes of hers. She seems to enjoy herself immensely on the stage, flirting and all, and naturally that adds to the enjoyment of the audience. The support was good, the danseuse seemed to capture the masculine portion of the audience and Harry Gilfoil's novel soda and shingle specialties were loudly applauded.
As to the play we have said almost everything when we say that it was Hoyt's. No other man on earth would dare to write such a play. It rests upon nothing but Mr. Hoyt's nerve and wit. It is one long series of delightful nothings and for the time being we like it every whit as well as if it were profound. No one cares a hang for dramatic art when he is pleased. Mr. Hoyt didn't care for it, either, apparently. If he had he would never have dared introduce a sort of musical interlude, forty minutes in length, in the middle of the second act. The whole play depends on the invalid's thermometer and the way the Widow winks her eye. Mr. Hoyt doesn't even have any trip to Chinatown occur. He is always promising things that he never does, and yet he promises so smoothly that we never mind at all that he is fooling us all the time. One can't say anything hard of him, for he stifles his critics with laughter and crushes their criticism with popular eavor. We all like Mr. Hoyt, because he dares to make dramas after his own heart and after the unclassical tastes of his countrymen and snap his fingers in the face of the high gods of art, because he is so complacent and nervy and so thoroughly American.
Willard Simms , who plays Kill von Kull , the original real estate agent, in The Kimball Opera Bouffe company's gorgeous burlesque "Hendrick Hudson," makes his first appearance by being thrown bodily from a second story window. This is supposed to occur at New Amsterdam—now New York—in 1609. Since that time many a real estate agent has had a hard, hard, tumble because he failed to "get in on the ground floor." Corinne comes to the Lansing theatre Monday and Tuesday, January 22 and 23.
Corse Payton and his merry company commence a week's engagement at Funke's opera house Monday, January 22, in the five-act society comedy drama "The Parisian Princess," Miss Etta Reed appearing in the title role, a part that enables her to display her ability as an actress, containing as it does the different moods of woman's nature, including love, devotion, hatred and revenge. Elegant stage settings and wardrobe are used in the production and the prices are only 10, 20 and 30 cents. Ladies are admitted free Monday night if accompanied by a paid 30 cent ticket purchased before 7 p.m.