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Bell’s Life in London, issue 2,687, Dec. 30, 1871, p. 8

“Christmas Amusements”

THE GAIETY. – The novelty produced here this Christmas consists of a kind of opera bouffe, the libretto of which has been written by Mr Gilbert, and the music composed by Mr. Arthur S. Sullivan. It is called “Thespis; or, the Gods Grown Old.” We are introduced in the first act to the aged Apollo, the feeble Diana, the weary Mars, and the drooping Jupiter. Their conclave, in a ruined temple, near Mount Olympus, is disturbed by the appearance of Thespis, and his travelling troupe of comedians. For a time both change places, the gods going below, and Thespis, &c, taking their place. Affairs do not prosper, and the result is that the experiment fails. All this is told in prose, the accompanying music being humorous. A patter song, comically rendered by Mr. Toole as Thespis, went off well and was encored, whilst a similar kind of ditty in the minor, admirably sung by Miss E. Farren, provoked the same compliment. Mdlle Clary, as Sparkeion, a comedian, sang charmingly; a song, “Cousin Robin,” was piquantly delivered, and told in every point. The dresses are superb. The piece called a grotesque opera will no doubt improve on repetition, parts appearing to flag.

[Later paragraph in Bell’s Life in London, issue 2,693, Feb. 10, 1872, p. 10]

THE GAIETY. – A change has been made in the performances at this theatre, the operetta bouffe, called “Ganymede and Galatea,” now commences the evening’s entertainment. Then follows “Off the Line,” the pleasant one-act drama written by Mr. Clement Scott, the idea being taken from a French source. “Thespis” concludes the entire programme. … “Thespis” goes infinitely better now than at the date of its production. The smartness of the dialogue tells admirably. Mr Toole revels in the comicality of the perplexed manager, and sings the buffo scena as only he can manage such vocal drolleries. Miss Loseby and Miss Tremaine are both to be commended for the pains they take with the music. All the sprightliness of Mercury is thoroughly exhibited by Miss Farren, whose ditty in the second act is nightly encored. A similar honour is accorded to Mdlle Clary for the arch and piquante manner in which she renders the pretty ballad on Cousin Robin and the Maid of Arcady. The entire operatic extravaganza, or rather grotesque opera, as it is styled in the bills, deserves the success it has achieved. The scene representing a Ruined Temple of the Gods on Mount Olympus, together with the groups of aged gods and goddesses, and travelling Thespians in their gay and fanciful dresses, presents one of the most brilliant spectacles of the time.

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