A Period Theatre Review presented by www.stagebeauty.net
STORY OF THE PLAY
Mr Robert Evett has more than justified the confidence placed in him by the late Mr. George Edwardes, and he has marked his management by a production that is eminently worthy of the best traditions of the English lyrical stage. "The Maid of the Mountains" is genuine opera comique, and, although one does not wish to say a word in depreciation of what is termed musical comedy, it must be admitted that it is a welcome change to return once again to the more solid and consistent form of light opera. In "The Maid of the Mountains" we have a romantic story placed amid romantic surroundings, and the latter has been admirably treated from the scenic point of view by Mr. Joseph Harker.
When the curtain rises we have a mountain scene "Somewhere in the South of Europe," the home of a band of brigands, under the command of Baldasarre, who has a comic lieutenant in the person of Tonio, and an impassioned adorer in the beautiful Teresa. But her love affair has not progressed well of late, as Baldasarre, in one of his expeditions, had encountered Angela, the daughter of General Malona, Governor of Santo. The Governor is somewhat in disgrace with the powers that be, owing to his failure to capture the brigands, and a new Governor has been appointed and is now on his way to Santo. In the meantime, Teresa has been taken prisoner by the soldiers, and Baldasarre and his band of braves capture the new Governor and his entourage, appropriate their credentials and uniforms, in the true spirit of comic opera, and proceed to the city.
A vain effort had been made to induce Teresa to betray her comrades, but when she sees the attention which Baldasarre pays to Angela her jealous instincts are aroused, and she makes known the real identity of the supposed Governor, who, with his men, are seized and transported to a convict settlement known as the Devil's Isle. Here, again, jealousy plays an important role, for the Commandant, Lieutenant Rugina, is a disappointed admirer of Angela's, and he connives at the brigand's escape. Teresa, of course, is full of remorse for the part she has played, and would now sacrifice her heart's desire to ensure Baldasarre's freedom. He, on his part, becomes tenderly conscious of his old, affection for her, and in the end they set sail from the island mutually happy, in the resumption of their old intimacy.
The honours of the performance, both vocal and histrionic, fall to Miss Jose Collins, while Mr. Arthur Wontner bears himself gallantly as the Brigand Chief. Mr. Thorpe Bates is given good opportunity of displaying his admirable vocal accomplishment, and Mr. Mark Lester gives a humorous. interpretation of the role of the Governor. There are some capital comedy scenes between Mr. Lauri de Frece and Miss Mabel Sealby as a man and wife who have been separated for five years, the former having given himself out as drowned, to escape the too lavish affection of his connubial partner.
Mr. Fraser-Simson's music is truly delightful, and his vocal numbers provide a welcome addition to the repertory of the drawing-room singer. He is admirably supported by Mr. J. W. Tate in the additional numbers.
SCENES FROM THE PLAY