Florence Smithson (1884-1936)
By Mark Ambient and A. M. Thompson..
Lyrics by Arthur Wimperis. Music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot.
Produced at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 28th April, 1909.
Mr. Dan Rolyat, Miss Florence Smithson, Messrs. Alfred Lester, Harry Welchman, Nelson Keys, Akerman May, Deane Perceval, Frank Haylett, C. V. Tollemache, Matthews, W. L. Rignold, Arthur Johnstone, George Elton, Chas. Chaumier, Chas. Charteris, S. Oliver, Misses Ada Blanche, Violet Graham, Esther Robinson, Muriel Hastings, Muriel Varna, Violet Walker, M. Sinclair, Lillie Nanton, Dorothy Laine, Kathleen Alleyne, Cicely Courtneidge, and Phyllis Dare.
Really funny musical comedy has a very large soft part in the heart of the play-going community. Put on a piece that will make the house rock with laughter, such as "The Arcadians," and success is assured! There is a fantastic story running through the play that might perhaps have been worked out differently to greater advantage, but it is late in the day to talk about that, and we don't want more than we get in "The Arcadians."
The supply of humour is divided chiefly between Mr. Dan Rolyat and Mr. Alfred Lester, artistes with entirely different styles, so that there is no clashing. The grotesque clowning of the one is as funny as the dry complaining of the other. Miss Phyllis Dare does everythilng that is expected of her; she dances nicely, sings sweetly and looks pretty, and a musical comedy star need do nothing more. Miss Florence Smithson brings a beautiful voice into play, her singing being quite a feature of the performance.
Mr. Robert Courtneidge has given his production a setting worthy of the highest commendation. The scene through which the first act runs is a triumph of the scenic artist's art. Arcadia must indeed be a lovely place to live in! A realistic reproduction of the enclosure at "Ackwood," is another fine piece of work, while the Arcadian Restaurant pictured in the third act is nothing less than a feast of beautiful colouring.
"The Arcadians" is playing to full houses at every performance and there is, as yet, no talk of a successor. The public will not soon grow tired of such fare, and I heartily agree with their taste.
Playgoer and Society Illustrated, Vol 1, No 3, December 1909.