Olive May (1886-1947)
A Drama by Augustus Thomas
Produced at the Adelphi Theatre, 3rd February, 1902.
STIRRING MELODRAMA AT THE ADELPHI
Once more the old Adalphi and the old bill of fare.
The "Century" has gone - unhonoured, unsung, unlamented. Away with it go the kickshaws of musical farce, and back comes solid, honest melodrama, bringing with it cheery memories of William Terriss and many another who flourished before his day.
The Adelphi is itself again, and though last night it commenced a fresh chapter in its career with an American piece and an American companyn nobody was disposed to complain about that. The sole cause of offence lay in the audience. Friends of the stranger within our gates displayed such an extraordinary and fatuous want of discrimination in bestowing applause that the purely English section not unreasonably showed resentment. The fall of the curtain was therefore marked by a Babel of tongues more opposed to each other than to the play.
Misunderstanding and false accusation are the bases of melodrama. We look for them, and should indeed be disappointed at their absence. As well expect a Christmas pudding without plums as an Adelphi mixture, minus suffering innocence and an injured man kept silent before the world so that the happiness of others may not be compromised.
In "Arizona" we see a young lieutenant discovering that the wife of his colonel is about to elope with the captain of the troop. The social suicide is averted, but the wicked captain, true to the traditions of melodramatic villainy, throws suspicion on to the young Officer, who is compelled by the colonel to resign his commission.
As the hero of the play is engaged to the sister of the lady, and as he cannot defend himself without reflecting on the wife of his chief, an interesting situation is at once created. In the end virtue necessarily triumphs, and the evil genius of "Arizona" is brought to account by the Mexican lover of a girl who has become one of the captain's victims.
CLEAR AND CLEVER
"Arizona," if sufficiently Adelphic in its main lines, derives much charm from the cleverness of its treatment and the freshness of its atmosphere to English playgoers. While the principal purpose of the story is never befogged or obscure, the pictures of life in lonely Arizona, the fierce and lawless bent of its inhabitants, the rude love of justice, and, above all, the devotion and tenderness of the pretty heroine combine to make up a drama rich in quaint and interesting figures, while human and stirring in the effectiveness of its situations.
"Arizona" is, indeed, an old friend in a new setting, and is acted throughout with commendable robustness and earnestness. To some it may appear too wholly American, but to subdue its native flavour would be to deprive it of half its value.
The company are to be congratulated on their pronounced abandonment of any "reserved force" policy. "Arizona" is played for all it is worth. Mr. Vincent Serrano makes a manly, incisive hero, full of character and vigour; Miss Olive May, a dainty and sympathetic sweetheart. Mr. Theodore Roberts supplies a fine performance, rich in felicitous touches, as the father of the two girls, while the impersonation of the avenging Mexican by Mr. Edgar Selwyn stands out prominently as a truly remarkable performance, quite worthy to rank on a level with the best Wah-no-Tee we have ever seen.
All the minor parts are efficiently filled, and the military phases of the play, though not over-pronounced, add a sense of bustle and excitement quite in keeping with the whirlwind nature-of the tale. "Arizona" is to be cordially welcomed.
Daily Mail (London) - 4th February, 1902