“Blue Ribbon Belles”

Comedy and singing.
No one expects consistency in a burlesque libretto. It is not, however, unreasonably to expect at least coherence. If this element is to be found in either of of productions that make up the "Blue Ribbons'" offering this season, it wasn't obvious from Tuesday night's audience at the Garrick that anyone discovered the fact. Lee Hickman, featured, was as blithe as could be with the lines and characterizations furnished, appearing in the opening production as a witless echo of Bert Leslie's slang comic, and in the second a laughless Happy Hooligan. He is to be given credit, for if he didn't know his lines and situations were amusing he never let the audience suspect it. His principal foil was Ruby Grey, who as the soubret stuck gaily to the Hickman pace, and not infrequently left it trailing. For downright industry, conscientious delivery of many burdens imposed upon him by the eccentricities of the productions, Sam Winrow is worth the attention of any burlesque manager, playing as he does three or four characterizations that offered little or nothing to develop. Miss Grey frolicked through two flirtatious roles with real verve whenever her song or business gave her an open road. She was particularly happy in kisses given with resounding smacks to plants in the audience. The piece was noticeable for a repression of the violent indecencies peculiar to uncensored burlesque. The text, to be sure, never could have passed the purity board of Providence or Boston, but at its worst it was miles this side of some burlesque degeneracies. There was a tantalizing conundrum for the front row males in a riddle that gleamed out alluringly begging enticingly for an answer. This was: Why were half of the girls bare-limbed, and the remainder betighted? And Sam Micals was in the troupe in the novelty role of a Yid boob - whiskers, loose pants, etcetera. Also, the siphon bottle, rubber duck and ear trumpet for a deaf yokel were among old friends present. A young woman named Helen Sommers sang the prima donna numbers entrusted to her with real charm if not a great voice. Moreover she was refined and handsome enough for a worth while role in any of the legitimate musica comedies now dotting two dollar Broadway. The ponies and show girls of the combination never lost a trick to keep the speed set by the principals at a smart edge. If teamwork and courage can win out for a No. 2 Wheel program during the season, the present combination may be relied upon to supply it.
Variety, 40:9 (10/29/1915)