|Carte > Savoy Theatre > Opening Night from The Standard
From The Standard (London, England), Tuesday, October 11, 1881; pg. 3; Issue 17856.
The new Savoy Theatre, which was opened to the public last night, forms a very handsome addition to the playhouses of the metropolis. The three great requisites for a theatre — comfort, safety, and elegance — have all been provided, and there are novelties which claim special attention, the principal being the method of lighting the place. No attempt has hitherto been made, it is stated by Mr. D'Oyly Carte, the proprietor of the Savoy Theatre, to light a public building entirely by electricity, and arrangements are in progress for applying this system to the new house. Last night the auditorium was thus illuminated, and with a success almost perfect. The lamps burned steadily, and it was only found necessary on two or three occasions so perceptibly to strengthen the illuminating power as to direct attention to the turning on of the light. In the course of a few days it is anticipated, and apparently with good cause, that no other light will be employed at all in any part of the theatre.
Except that the staircases are a trifle steep, the Savoy is ingeniously designed, and the decorations are in excellent taste. Mr. Carte seems to claim credit for having discarded the paintings of "cherubim, muses, angels, and mythical deities," and though such subjects have frequently been treated with very good effect, a change to a less conventional style is satisfactory. As the theatre has already been fairly described, it is enough to say that the prevailing tones of the decoration are white, pale yellow, and gold and the Venetian red walls of the boxes and corridors, together with the well-chosen blue plush coverings of the stalls, have a rich and pleasing effect.
The absence of gas ensures coolness and unusual purity of atmosphere, and the structure is well designed for sound. As at nearly every one of the better class of theatres, all fees are abolished; no charge is made for programmes, or for attendance of any sort.
It is proposed to utilise the theatre for the writings and compositions of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan, and Patience, transferred from the Opera Comique, was the opening piece. From the reception awarded to the work, it is quite clear that its attractions have in no way diminished.
The cast remains as on the original production, except that Mr. Walter Browne, a singer with a very good baritone voice, has replaced Mr. Temple; and the hearty encore obtained for his delivery of the Colonel's song showed that the substitution was acceptable to the audience. Mr. Grossmith, though, perhaps now somewhat unduly exuberant and not quite unconscious of the absurdities he utters, is still an extremely comic Bunthorne; Mr. Rutland Barrington gives a capital companion picture as Grosvenor; and Messrs. Lely, the tenor, and Thornton, a comedian of original humour, are the other dragoons. Miss Barnett is still the inimitable Lady Jane, and the æsthetic maidens are very gracefully led by Misses Bond, Gwynne, and Fortescue, with Miss Leonora Braham as a charming representative of Patience, the milkmaid heroine. Mr. Sullivan himself conducted last night, and started the theatre upon what promises to be a highly prosperous career.
Page modified 26 October, 2011 Copyright © 2011 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved.