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The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive   1924 G&S Season

Princess Ida has recently been warmly welcomed, but it always seems to me to leave something to be desired, when compared with the other operas. Interest here is less thoroughly sustained; the humour is less remarkable; and the matter and action are less entertaining. There are, of course, charming items, notably 'Oh, Dainty Triolet'; but I must confess that the incident I most enjoyed occurred when Miss Lewis, as the Lady Blanche, was kissed by one of the invading men. She neither screamed nor moved, but gazing straight to her front, emitted a loud cry of protest, all on one very sustained and musical note, producing an effect which was at once surprising and most amusing. One missed Mr. Lytton, for as King Gama he had very little to do; and again he had to be a 'disagreeable man.' even more definitely than in Pinafore. The dresses were, on the whole, very good, particularly those of Miss Lawson in the name part; but I did not like the armour of the sons of Gama (which seemed to my inexpert eye likely to fall, off, in sections, at any moment.), and, although Mr. Goulding's costume as Hilarion suited him, Florian and Cyril were not helped by theirs. It is not only important in dressing a play, that the costumes should all belong to one period; it is even more important that they should suit the wearers. And should it ever be that of these two considerations one must perforce be sacrificed, then it should be the former, so long as the difference in period is not glaring. Very few people are period experts, and, in any case, there is no better way of pleasing one than by letting him or her find a small fault in a costume; but the mass of people, who do not notice whether a costume has been ante- or post-dated a few decades, do notice when a. costume is unsuitable. In the case under review the work of the designers is simplified by the fact that they are not rigidly tied to any particular period, and so it should be easy to give Florian and Cyril costurnes which would suit them better.

Hilarion & Hildebrand
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