You are here: Archive Home > Curtain Raisers > Mrs. Jarramie's Genie > Times Review
The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive  

Written by
Composed by

From The Times Monday, February 20, 1888.

Mrs. Jarramie’s Genie, a short comedietta or farce, was on Friday night added to the programme of the Savoy Theatre, and will be played before the Pinafore as long as that successful operetta keeps the boards. The new piece serves its purpose of lever de rideau fairly well. There is no plot to speak of, but the dialogue, if not particularly witty, is generally to the point, and the topical allusions and other harmless jokes interspersed with it kept the audience in a good humour from beginning to end. The only noticeable feature of the play was the manner in which the author and the two composers had entered into what one may call the genus loci of the Savoy Theatre. That theatre, as everyone knows, owes its prosperity, and even its existence, to the style of art created by Mr. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan. Mr. Frank Desprez possesses few, if any, of the qualities which give their literary cachet to Mr. Gilbert’s fanciful extravagancies, but the manners and mannerisms of that writer are nevertheless discoverable throughout his modest effort.

The genie of Aladdin’s lamp transforming himself into a butler, an electioneering agent, a tourist, and back again into a butler at the bidding of a retired upholsterer’s wife, who has come into possession of the lamp, a lover turning from a red Radical into a Conservative in order to please his intended father-in-law, who in the meantime has made the converse change, two very insipid ladies who are little more than lay figures – all this bears distinct traces of the cynicism and perverse humour with which Mr. Gilbert looks upon the world. In a similar way the two composers of the incidental music, Mr. François Cellier, the conductor at the Savoy Theatre, and Mr. Alfred Cellier, the successful author of Dorothy, have unmistakably followed in the wake of Sir Arthur Sullivan. There are the “patter” duet followed by a breakdown, the attempt at ridiculing operatic conventionalities in a mock heroic vein, the easy flowing tunes with which all the admirers of the Pinafore or Patience are familiar. The type, in fact, is unaltered, although, of course, the degree of success with which that type is realized is very different in the two cases.

Mrs. Jarramie’s Genie is well acted, and Mr. John Wilkinson, as the slave of the lamp, goes through his manifold transformations with great aplomb. Miss M. Christo, Miss Rose Hervey, Mr. Wilbraham, and Mr. Wallace Brownlow complete a fairly efficient cast.

Page modified 20 January, 2010 Copyright © 2010 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved