16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 17



" Lights Up ! " Charles B. Cochran's 1940 Revue. At the Savoy.

MR. Collimates new revue, unlike its three successful rivals at the Hippodrome, the Palladium, and the Queen's, aims primarily, not at being lively, but at being elegant. Its settings and costumes are by Miss Zinkeisen, and are what is known as lavish, though not as emphatically so as in the Cochran shows of five to ten years ago ; but even the best of them do not sufficiently enchant the eye to make up for what fails to delight the ear. Mr. Noel Gay's music is indifferent ; of the lyrics only two are really good ; the comic scenes have been strictly rationed ; and Miss Lillie, Mr. Vic Oliver and Mr. Bud Flanagan can all give points to Miss Evelyn Laye as the central figure of a revue. It is not that any one element in the show is emphatically bad. Each of the scenes is in its own way competent, and they follow one another smoothly. The trouble is that there is nothing (or almost nothing) that arouses the mildest feelings of excitement, and that the whole performance seems a little desultory and lethargic.

Of the twenty-one scenes only five are at all out of the ordinary. The best of them, which is also about the least ambitious, parodies the broadcasting techniques of Great Britain, Germany and the United States, and has a superb impersonation of Germany's best-known broadcaster by Mr. James Hayter. The second is a good burlesque of a Christmas pantomime, which will seem a bit academic in another month's time. The third and fourth—these are the only two numbers which possess both good lyrics and good tunes—are scenes in which Miss Doris Hare impersonates an evacuated urchin, and Mr. Clifford Mollison and Mr. Martyn Green, representing the Army and the Navy, bewail the superior glamour which now apparently attaches to the R.A.F. The fifth—by Mr. Mollison and Miss Laye—represents the trials of an unlucky conjurer and his more adept assistant. Of the more spectacular scenes the best is of a Victorian dance-hall, in which Miss Zinkeisen has been given her head to some effect ; the most pretentious the scene entitled A Fragonard Picture, which is no more than an elaborate setting for a strip-tease act performed rather apologetically by Miss Phyllis Stanley. All things considered, this must be described as the least good of the four revues now running in London. I was sorry to observe that the general lethargy which hung over the proceed- ings was extended even to a Pekinese, introduced—with poor results—into one scene ; these noble animals are very sensitive