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Nebraska State Journal

September 28, 1894
page 3


The audience which saw the "Devil's Auction" at the Lansing last night was one of the happiest crowds ever gathered in Lincoln. It was of course top-heavy, the gallery element predominating. The gallery was full, so full it could not contain itself, and at the end of the first act echoed with cries of "Put him out!" It was a glorious audience, downstairs and up. The kind of an audience that wears tuberoses and large canes and migrates between acts. It was a classical audience, the kind that can't stand a specialty performance without something elevating and classical, something Shakespearean from across the street. It was a wildly enthusiastic audience; it enjoyed itself and it got its money's worth.

The great Lincoln public can remain perfectly cool and indifferent to Chopin's polonaise or Sieverking's pastorale, but over a ballet or a clog dance it loses its head, and when a clown uses his handkerchief to the accompaniment of a bass horn it has raptures and rhapsodies of childish delight. It is pleasant to see a Lincoln audience happy; it is so naive and gleeful, it sports and gambols so.

The "Devil's Auction" deals with all people and all climes and with all history, both sacred and profane. It introduces scenes from Milton's "Paradise Lost," and scenes in a patrol wagon. The only way to define the limits of the plot is to say that it deals with the works of nature and that the scene is laid in the universe. The actors and their acts were numerous and all the many specialties were executed and got out of the way with admirable quickness and dispatch. Like all successful spectacular performances it was touch and go, a kaleidoscope in which the greatest number of combinations and colors are produced in the shortest possible length of time. The actors, of course had the usual unpleasant streaks of red across the eyes and spoke in the rapid, tremulous, staccatto tones common in spectacular productions. The best feature of the play was the new song and dance "On the Rialto." Indeed, it was better than most songs and dances. It introduced all the types of actors and actresses who are now "at liberty" on the Rialto in New York. There was the old tragedinne in her faded velvets and faded complexion and faded hair, and the plump soubrette and the leading man in his battered silk hat, the specialty man with his red necktie and all the rest of them. The Salvation army was called into service again; it is not new at all, but in this case its size more than justified the age. Some of the dancing was very good. The two premieres of the dance, Signorita Concettina Chitten and Signorita Emilia Bartoletti , were graceful and skilful. They had good necks and shoulders and chests, and after awhile, at a very late period, almost too late, their dresses began. A dress may seem a trivial thing to speak of, but when there is so very little of them they are not trivial at all, but most important. One had to use an opera glass to find these dresses at all. They recalled that poem of Tennyson's beginning, "Sweet and low, sweet and low." Signorita Adele Amor , in spite of her very sentimental and amorous name, was quite a well-behaved dancer, though from the remarkable and not strictly beautiful development of the popliteal muscles she has evidently been riding a bicycle. She was more moderate in the matter of thoracic display and attended strictly to business, and it was evident that either her mamma or her manager had taught her good manners.