Lydia Barry

"The Same Old Hat," "A Vaudeville Dream."
Lydia Barry at the Fifth Avenue Tuesday night did three song numbers in 24 minutes. She could have done three more, according to the verdict of the audience which would not be stilled after Miss Barry had concluded until following several acknowledgements by her in the form of thankful courtesies, she waved her hands deprecatingly, even at the time evidencing the finished performer she is by refraining from the usual delight of the favored "a speech." Miss Barry has a most entertaining act in the new songs. An act may sing and entertain, but to be most entertaining is another thing, for Miss Barry does not alone sing - she provides amusement as well. It is more than likely the exact style of a turn such as Miss Barry now has could only be found in England. It's songs with dialog and character, without pretense - that is, pretense at anything in the character excepting the conveyance of it over the footlights in a perfectly plain manner without other aid than a suitable straight gown may give, such as Miss Barry's "Widow" number. It is called "A Widow Again." The story song commences to tell of husbands, gone by death or divorce. It's all the same, according to the lyric; when a wife is left alone, she's a widow. After the verses of the song, Miss Barry describes the husbands. Her first was a moving picture actor. He came home at night, but never spoke to her, just gesticulated and pantomimed. It was unbearable. Once he raised his hand to strike her and his lodge buried him, Miss Barry explains - to allow the audience to understand how she became a widow that time. Others were a brewer and a "lady-killer," but throughout the remainder of the number the humor essence of that picture actor's life remains with the listener. Her first song is "The Same Old Hat," with a couple of flaring headgears on the concert grand piano that accompanies Miss Barry. There are ways to wear a hat, says the song, by those who can afford to pay for it and those who cannot. As the working girl who liked the hat but not the price and upon seeing the cost on the tag $85.50 asked if that was a pinochle score, Miss Barry gave regular fun to those in front. And then she capped her first two snappy numbers by a third, "A Vaudeville Dream," wherein she did the first half of a vaudeville bill, the picture to open, a juggler, "coon shouter," song and dance girl, and a dramatic sketch. The latter was of the "triangle" variety - wife, husband and lover - extremely well travestied by Miss Barry, and it caught the house with a whack that must have been heard two blocks away. Lydia Barry has a style of act now that could live forever, for it will always be most entertaining, while containing "material," and in the present turn she has a million dollars' worth of that. At least, Miss Barry makes it look worth that much because Lydia Barry can do it. It takes a performer to put over this kind of a turn.
Variety, 41:2 (12/10/1915)