[HAWKE’S] BAY TRIBUNE. THU[RSDAY]
FINE PRODUCTION BY HASTINGS AMATEURS.
“Quite as good as professionals” was a very general remark amongst those who witnessed the performance of “San Toy” at the Princess Theatre, Hastings, last night. The comparison is inevitably introduced when amateurs come before the public, and unfortunately it frequently works to the disadvantage of honest but misguided enthusiasts. In this case, however, the production of the Hastings Operatic Society can fairly welcome criticism on its merits. To state that it equalled in all respects a first-class professional performance would obviously be an exaggeration, for there was noticeable a lack of that clean precision of voice and movement that inevitably follow when performers repeat the same part day after day and night after night without intermission. But with this confession one can pass on to whole hearted praise for a meritorious performance.
“San Toy” like the average musical comedy, utilises the thinnest kind of a plot whereon to encircle tuneful music and light comedy. The scene is laid in China, and with most of the characters depicted as gay and festive Orientals, ample opportunity is given for the display of dazzling colours and gorgeous apparel. In this respect the production reached high-water mark. The effects were picturesque and beautiful, whilst the “make-ups” were so clever that the dearest friends of notable performers had to watch the play for some time before being able to identify the characters. Likewise, the talent of actors and actresses carried the deception successfully to the last degree. The concerted music was excellent throughout, and the chorus in the introduced song “Motherland” literally “brought down the house,” and earned a well-deserved double encore. The stage arrangements were little short of perfection, and for a first night the almost entire absence of stiffness or jerkiness were really remarkable.