Adrienne Augarde (1882-1913)
By Patrick Bidwell and Michael Esposito
Produced at The Broadway Theatre, New York
Reveiwed in The New York Times - 22nd December, 1908
A Tuneful Comedy - Is Also Funny and Differs from the Regular Machine-Made Musical Play - Introduces Irish Ballads
Joseph O'Mara has come to the Broadway Theatre from Ireland, and brought with him a three-act romantic comedy with music! Whatever may be the shortcomings of "Peggy Machree," it has the virtue of being different from the regulation machine-made musical comedy. "Peggy" was both musical and funny in places, and much of the humor as well as the tunes may be credited to the old country.
Every one knows the feeling when seeing a new "Broadway show" of turning over the programme to find out who wrote those familiar airs. Last night the borrowed ones were open and accredited to their source, the folk songs and tunes of Ireland, and one would have to go a long way to find a better sentimental ballad than Tom Moore's "Oh. Pray, Tell Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms," or a sprightiler tune than "The Idle Colleen."
When, however, the music is worth hearing, it has to be well sung. Mr. O'Mara. with all his English opera experience, came off with flying colors, possibly making some of the others sound more inadequate by comparison. It may be fairly said that the singing was above the ordinary musical comedy level.
Miss Adrienne Augarde, a Peggy from London, is graceful and charming, but the critical might ask for a little more voice. In his speech after the second act, Mr. O'Mara said that the object had been to give something pure, clean, and wholesome. In this the authors were entirely successful, and if the plot was conventional, at least there was one. If the musical honors went to Mr. O'Mara, many of the good laughs certainly went to John O'Hara, playing the Scotchman, who said that a Scot "was a very good man to marry, if you could get him." On the scotchman's matrimonial slipperiness depends the plot of the comedy.
However, the main point of Peggy is her nationality, which was quite as indisputably Irish as the man who said of her, "If her ladyship had been killed she would have been the last of her family, alive." As for the Irish of the play, one hasn't anything to say, and nothing to say it with, for the gallery attended to that, and, to quote Mr. O'Mara, "It was worth coming from Ireland to hear."
If one likes pretty tuneful music, better sung than usual, gentle fun, rather too long drawn out, and a good Irish jig, he will certainly approve of "Peggy Machree."