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Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island,’ Grand Opera House, Sydney, 1917

March 24, 2013

advertisement for Ben and John Fuller’s ‘Gorgeous Pantomime Extravaganza,’ Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island,’ written and produced by Victor Prince, Grand Opera House, Sydney, Australia, Saturday, 22 December 1917
(The Theatre Magazine, Sydney and Melbourne, Tuesday, 1 January 1918, back cover)

‘December 22 – afternoon and evening – saw the first performances of the Fullers’ pantomime, Robinson Crusoe of Rainbow Island, ”Written by Victor Prince, with music by Herbert de Pinna,” reads the programme announcement.
‘It is a magnificent production – humorous, tuneful, colorful, and animated.
‘Nothing richer, more artistic than the dressing has been seen in an Australian-presented pantomime. Most picturesque, too, are the settings, particularly (1) the port of Hull, (2) the deck of the pirate ship, (3) the demon’s grotto at the bottom of the ocean, (4) Crusoe’s Rainbow Island, with a most realistic representation of the water rolling up and down the sea-shore, and (5) the Gates of Rainbow Island.
‘A pronounced favorite is Nellie Kolle as principal boy, singing and acting with vigour, and presenting a most attractive figure in her many beautiful costumes. As the principal girl Nellie Fallon is daintier than ever. Among others who do notably good work on the girls’ side are Olive Sinclair and Dorothy Hastings.
Maud Fanning as the Cannibal Queen gives a study that must live long in the memory of all who see it. Not the least remarkable feature of her laughter-evoking, vitalising performance is the introduction of a baby-child suggestive in size and appearance of a brown lizard. The latest addition, evidently, to the Fanning family. The child is one of the shrieks of the production.
‘The comedians include Victor Prince and Walter Cornock at Robinson Crusoe and Dame Crusoe. Billy Watson and their son, Charles Zoli as a pirate-king, Charles Vaude and Bill Verne in companion piratish roles, and Percy Clifton and Kennedy Black as wowsers. They represent a strong combination, and frequent and hearty are the laughs for which they are individually and collectively responsible. Excellently played character parts are those of Lou Vernon as the Demon of the deep and Mark Erickson as a ferocious cannibal chief.
‘Many others figure in the cast in addition to the battalions of shapely, well-drilled chorus and ballet girls.
‘The specialities – given in glowing scenic surroundings, and for that reason deriving an added value – include a serioes of rapidly executed comedy-acrobatic feats by the Paulastos (Ernest, Victor, and Fred); Cusco’s wonderful performing monkeys and even more wonderful performing dog, Jerry; and thrilling cycling rides in ”The Globe of Death” by three performers – two men and a girl.
‘As with The Bunyip in Sydney last year, the Fullers have in Robinson Crusoe an attraction that must crown the Grand Opera House for weeks to come.’
(The Theatre Magazine, Sydney and Melbourne, Tuesday, 1 January 1918, p. 28a/b)

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