« AnteriorContinuar »
DRURY LANE THEATRE.
Both the winter theatres have this and Mrs. Bunn, whom we described month been honoured by the presence in our last number. of his Majesty, and overflowing houses, A new Christmas pantomime was for of course, greeted the Royal presence the first time performed, as usual, or with loud demonstrations of joy; the the 26th instant, and, as it is customusual ceremonies were preserved on ary to precede it with a tragedy, Jane those occasions, and the nightly re- shore was selected by the manager ceipts were highly beneficial to the on this occasion. This play is too well respective treasuries. The Hypocrite known to need any observation; the having been played at Drury-lane by principal performers were Wallack as order of his Majesty, it has become so Lord Hastings ; Terry as Dumont ; fashionable, that whenever it has since Mrs. West as Jane Shore; and Mrs. been represented, the boxes were sure Bunu as Alicia. Wallack's Hastings of being brilliant with an unusual dis was a very creditable performance; play of rank and fashion.
Terry in Dumont certainly did not add Mr. Kean, after a severe indisposition, to his reputation, and we sincerely has again resumed his honours at this lament that his acknowledged powers theatre. On account of his late ill- should be exerted in tragedy, to which ness and his extraordinary merits as they are by no means adapted ; in certhe first tragic actor on our stage, he tain characters, in comedy, he is ercek was received with the most distin lent, we, therefore, advise him not to guished applause from an immensely diminish his reputation by appearing crowded house. He appeared as usual in tragedy again. Mrs. West played in Richard the Third, and played with Jane Shore in a pleasing and respectall his accustomed excellence. He has able manner, but her delineation of the since performed several of his best character possesses not the pattro necharacters, which are too well known cessary to touch our feelings Mrs. to require particular notice.
Bann in Alicia, exbibited & constant The amateurs of music have been struggle to attain an excellence which highly gratified by the commercement pature has denied her; if she were to of Mr. Braham's engagement. The attempt less, we think she would gain unimpaired powers of this extraor- niore; at any rate, she would offend dinary vocalist have been called ontless : whenever she strives to express with more than usual success by the intensity of grief, insanity, or indignasuccessful rivalship with Sinclair at the tion, she degenerates into torgidity or other house. The Cabinet and Guy rant; this lady does not improve upon Mannering bave both been performed a longer acquaintance, and is another several times, in order to enable Mr. proof of the truth of our opinion, that Braham to exhibit his unrivalled long experience and practice will never powers.
make a good performer without genius, We are happy to be able to say, that the new pantomine is called HarleMiss Cubit pleased as very much in quin and the Flying Chest ; o Melek the Cabinet ihe other evening; she is' and the Princess Sckirine. It was es much improved. As there have been tremely well received by a crowded no new plays at this house since our house, and will, no doubt, have a great last notice we must vecessarily be very run. Among the performers, we think brief. Mr. Macready's engagement at it necessary to select two only for this theatre for the present is Anished, comment, the others were of the usual and he is gone into the country to ac degree of excellence necessary for quire at the provincial theatres, an in- pantomimic representation. Master crease of fame and fortune justly dae Weiland in the character of Querco, to his professional merits and his pric exhibited powers which deserve cultivate worth. Mr. Macready's departure vation. Miss Smith, who made her has not diminished the strength of the first appearance as Columbine, is of company, as his situation has been middle stature, delicately formed, filled by Mr. Kean. The pumber and and extremely prepossessing in countalent of the company is '
much the tenance and Agure, elegant in form, same as last season ; the only remark. and graceful in manner; bat, we fear, able secessions are Mr. Young and she does not possess sufficient strength Mr. Cooper, who have joined the other and agility, nor knowledge of dancing, house; the additions are Mr. Macready to arrive at the first honours of
Columbino, but, perbaps, we have too Stanfield; The Grotto of Chrystals; vivid a recollection of Mrs. Parker, to and, above all, The Moving Diorama, be altogether devoid of fastidiousness. by Clarkson Stanfield, which is 272 The tricks, which are the great attrac feet in length, and exhibits the Plytion of a pantomime, are novel and mouth Breakwater. The music, es in general extremely well executed. cept a very common-place overture, Among the eighteen new scenes ex. we should have thought not to possess hibited on this occasion, we cannot the slightest originality, if we had not help selecting for particular commen been informed by the play-bills that it dation, The View of the Sultan's Castle, was entirely new. Upon the whole, and The Paradise of Zephyr and this pantomime possesses an unusual Flora, by Marinari; King Edward's degree of merit, and we are confident Gallery at Fonthill, by Roberts; The that a brilliant success will reward the Northern Regions, by Moonlight, by taste and liberality of the manager.
COVENT GARDEN THEATRE,
When we say
A New tragedy, from the pen of Mrs. is the child of nature, that he acts in Hemans has been represented at this voluntarily, and that the play must be theatre, but like most of our modern good or bad according as he applauds tragedies, has been unsuccessful. It is or condemns. They accordingly join founded on an historical event that oc. with him in his approbations or dis. curred in Sicily during the Reigo of approbations, and if he be really goCharles IX., and is known in history verned by the instinctive impulses of by the name of the Sicilian Vespers, his own feelings, they are generally Previous to its representation, it was right in thinking so, thought to be an adaptation of a French generally, we mean to say, that when a tragedy Les Vespres Siciliennes, by man acts according to the impulse of Mon. Cassimir Delavigne, but it proved his own feelings, he generally acts acto be so widely remote from it that cording to human nature, but we it must be allowed to posses, if not all should be sorry to have it supposed, the merits of an original production, at that instinctive impulses are always least the merits of originality. Als right. Th are false feelings as well though we did not anticipate any very as false reasoning, and whoever is preextraordinary merit in this production, sent at a play which he has never read, we still had hopes from the former (and, we believe, there are numbers of poetical effusions of Mrs. Hemans, to such people where a new play is rebelieve her capable of producing a presented) is likely to condemo those tragedy that would occupy the boards very parts and passages which are enof a theatre for a few nights. In this titled to most praise, from mistaking limited hope, however, we have been their application, from not perceiving mistaken ; but the want of success, the harmony that exists between them is not always a proof of the want and all the other parts, from judging of of merit in a new play. Every thing them per se, than which no judgment new stands upon tender and delicate can be more fallacious. In a word, ground: the audience are upon their from being totally ignorant of the geguard; they consider that every act of neral plot and the unity of design that approbation or disapprobation, is more reigns throughout. Such a man, supor less a test of their taste and judg- posing him to act according to the
Hence it happens, that every natural impulses of his own feelings, individual fears to trust to his own will frequently applaud where he judgment, aod if there be any, among ought to condemn, and condemn where them who possesses that determined he ought to applaud. · And yet, unforcharacter that prompts him to applaud tunately, the house will sympathise or condemn, without consulting the with his ebullition of feeling, whether feelings or sentiments of the house, it be right or wrong: they consider those around him take it for granted, that he is governed by an irresistible that whenever he bisses or applauds, impulse, and they consider all such all his claps and hisses are the javo- impulses natural, without reflecting luptary ebullitions of a feeling over that they arise from his total ignorance which he has no controul. They as of that harmony which exists between sume the character of natural impulses all the incidents, circumstances, situaand natural feelings; and those who tions, peculiarities, and eccentricities will not venture to Thiak and fcel for of character which are represented on themselves, take it for granted that he the stage. Another reason may be as
signed, or rather there is another cause and which is the chief cause of the that prompts a great portion of the passion by which he is agitated, though audience to joip
in the claps or hisses in the order of construetion, ibe tern of speh an individual : it is, that the which expresses it should come last is portion of the audience to which the sentence. Passiou wears uo rewe allude are as ignorant of the fiued disguise, seeks not to clothe itself plot, characters, and propriety of each in the luxuriant imagery of poetie as particular act and scene as he is bim- sociations, ! says at opce what it sell. Numbers go to see a new play means, and says neither more por less. without having ever read it, and But which of our modern dramatists among these numbers, how many are have paid any attention to these unthere whose auricular fibres are too deniable truths? Which of them bave blant to hear, each individual word not endeavoured to make the dramatis and sentence attered on the stage, persona express the commouest senThe consequence is that if they mis timent in the most pompous and ela. take it, the next sentence, or some borate diction. In the very opening of thing that occurs in the next act will the Vespers of Palermo, we have appear perfectly ridiculous to thểm; peasants talking in so bigh a poetical and, accordingly, if they do not hiss it strain, that we cannot help coasiderthemselves, they will instinctively ing every expression of theirs as mere join' in the hisses of any individual, cant. We well know, that so far from who, from the reasons which we peasants being able to talk so refined, have already assigned, may happen polished, and courtly a language, to do so. The merits of a new tragedy, neither Mrs. Hemans herself, por the should not, therefore, be determined most highly faroured of oor poets by its success on the first night of re, could talk it impromptu ; and no ex. presentation, and unhappily there are pression should be put into the mouth other reasons why the public should of a speaker, which is not supposed to Suspend their judgment on such an oc result from the circumstances or situa casion, independent of the merits and tion in which he is placed at the modemerits of the work itself
ment. We would leave it to Mrs. We have never, perhaps, perused à Hemans herself, if the speeches which dramatic production that unites as she' has put into the months of these miúch poetical beauty and sentimebtal peasants have not cost her as many feeling with as great a portion of that hours to compose as it took them mi. high pathos, which is ihe soul of tra- nutes to deliver them, and if they gedy, as the Vespers of Palermo; but were too poetical for her to speak of unhappily'it has 1oo little of the latter composé oft hand, how much more so and too inuch of the former. Indeed for simple peasants. All our modern it is impossible to unite both, for the tragedies fail 'principally from this more poetical and sentimental a play is, fault alone. Our dramatists depart the more it weakens and tends to de altogether from bature, and instead of stroy that passion, which arises from speaking the spontaneous language of deep and tragic situations. The sym- passion, a language without which pathy which we so naturally and so there can be no dramatic iuterest, they unhesitatinglý indulge ior the woes of speak what the merest noodle can dis. others become trost bitten the momeuttinguish from it. We say the merest we hear them pour forth their sorrows noodle, because all men recognize is. in bighly poetical and elaborate strains, 'stiactively the language of passion, but for we well know, that all poetical it requires taste and science, and criti. measures and poetical embellishments cal acumen to perceive and relish the are the productious of art, and that the beauties of poetical expression, and genuine language of sorrow is' the even with these advantages, we cannot Janguage of pature, the spontaneous always perceive them without time to effusions of a soul, that so far from reflect upon them, a time which is never sceking to express itself'in fanciful afforded us at the theatre. Mrs. He images or elaborate diction, seizes jó- mans, therefore, like all our modem stinctively the very first words it can dramatists, has failed from not confining Jay hold of, or in other terms, the herself to the simple language of words that the passion or emotion by nature. which it is agitated first suggests. Or The failure, it is true, has been asthis we have a fine instance in that cribed by many of the daily and weekly emphatic expression, me, me, adsum papers 10 very different and opposite qui feci. He who is uider the influ. causes, and « who shall decide when ence of some strong and powerful emo. doctors disagree." Indeed, we had tion, geuerally expresses that first never a clearer proof of the wretched which acts most powerfully upon him, state to which criticism is reduced at
the present day than' the illiberality, you, or at least can tell you what view inconsistency, and stupidity of the cri. they intend to take of it; but teh them tiques who have commented on this that this public feeling is wrong, that tragedy. They all agree in condemn it is only the feeling of the moment, ing the tragedy, but the petty tribe of that it will immediately subside, and would-be critics to wbich we allude, that the public have been: imposed think they can never say enough upon apon, they will tell you that the preany subject, a propensity which no sent moment in every thing to them, doubt arises from a consciousness that that they are determined to swim with whatever trath 'they speak, they have the stream, and can only turn back to it at second hand. They generally truth and reason when the public sets follow in the train of more liberal and them the example. Tostead, therefore, enlightened miods, and repeat in other of assuming the high office of directing words, the substance of what they the public taste, an office they have glean from them; but as “ the wicked arrogated to themselves (if this be not man flyeth when no man followeth," so their office, what are they usetul for), do these gentlemen tremble lest their they mould their every form and feastolen ideas should be stripped of the tare to the whim and fasbion of the new garments in which they have cloth. times. ed them, and traced to their original Græculens esuriens ad Cælum jussource. Hence they always mix up seris ibit. In attributing the principal something of their own along with part of the failure of this play to Miss them to render the theft more incapa. Kelly, they greedily seized on the ble of being detected. In the present bappy circumstance of her being instauce, they have followed those who bissed. When we say happy, we use justly ascribe the failure of the play to the term in reference to them, because its own radical defects, but fearing it relieved them from the labour of they would get no credit for saying finding out the true cause, while it what was so well said already, they made them acquainted, as they themtook care to hunt out for additional selves imagined, with the feelings of causes of their own, lest they should the house, and this, as we have already be deemed the mere echo of others. observed, is all the knowledge they Accordingly, they ascribe the failure, want at any time; for if the applauses partly to defect of interest in the play, which Miss Kelly received that night and partly to the manner in which Miss were unmixed with hisses, they would F. H. Kelly performed the part of Con have then become the willing trumstance. But how did they happen to peters of her fame.
But supposing discover that Miss Kelly, whom they there were some people in the house had themselves so highly lauded on who either from jealousy or any other former occasions, was on the present motive felt no friendly feeling towards occasion the chief cause of the play her, and accordingly thought proper being damoed? (So says the grave edi. to indulge in a hise, would it be fair tor, or the grave writer of a critique in to consider such a hiss as the expresthe Literary Museum.) Why forsooth, sion of the general feeling of the audibecause she was hissed ;-and think ence? For our parts, we neither do you, gentle reader, why they praised, nor can think it would, and at the same her so much before? Why, truly, be time we see nothing improbable in the cause the audience applauded her. existence of such a party. It is a duty This class of critics are the mere echo which we owe to the public, and it is of whatever they consider to be public a duty to which we shall at all times opinion. They know they live by the sacrifice' all other considerations, to public, and therefore it is right and inform them that the party whose exfit that they should please their em istence we have supposed possible, bad ployers, no matter whether they do it a real and a virtual existence in the at the expense of truth and justice or house. We know there was such not. If the public is 'satisfied they are a party there, vot from more surmise, satisfied, and thick they have played '
not from commiupications which we their card well. Amicus Plato, amicts have received from others, but from Socrutes, sed magis amica ceritas, ap our own individual knowledge; and if pears to them one of the most seuseless at any time it be necessary we are lines that ever was written. The dis-prepared to prove it. We shall not covery of truth is not their object, but therefore say more on the subject at the discovery of what the public con- present, thinking it right that the pub. sider to be such. Tell them once what lic should give is credit for what we is the public feeling on any particular assert from our own knowledge, partisubject, and they will instantly tell cularly as we promise to maintain and
prove the truth of it if called upon; however, from the British Prema to but we cannot help adverting to the sbew that the secret of Miss Kelly's glaring inconsistency of those critics having been hissed by a party, and not who, supposing the hiss came from the by the house, is not confined to our. bouse, joined in the cry and hissed at selves. Indeed, the universal clapping her also through the medium of their that took place whenever these partial humdrum, stupid commentaries. Sare hisses commenced, would, of themselves us good heaven from this
be sufficient to prove the fact. “Miss
Kelly having come forward and reLowborn, cell bred, selfisb, ser ceived the greetings of the audience, vile band,”
had scarcely uttered a sentence, when And place us
a most dastardly and upmanly attempt « Safe where no critics damo, no was made in the pit to hiss her. This duns molest."
paltry and urgencrous spirit was at
once pat down by the indigoant feeling We have already alluded to the of the house. An attempt of this kind sweeping sentence passed on Miss would have damped the energies of the Kelly by the Literary Museom. Miss most experienced veteran in the pro Kelly has po opportunity of retorting fession; but, on a youthful and pecuupon them;
she has no weekly paper liarly sensitive mind, it had quite a at her command, and therefore she thrilling effect; so much so, indeed, must submit, and they may revel with that, during the entire piece, Miss Kelly imponity in their career of dullness. was so dispirited, that she was per. At least so they think, and who can fectly disabled from going through ber doubt for a moment that whatever they part. But let her not be dismayed : think is not true. We strongly sus she possesses talents which only repect, however, that they will hence- quire to be matured by experieuce, forth find themselves mistaken, and which must raise her beyond the react that if there be none to keep them of any petty malignant hostility, come within the sober limits of common it from what quarter it may." sense but ourselves, we shall either do Miss Kelly is accused of being too so, or at least have the satistaction of frec and familiar in her madder, of letting the world know what stuf' they possessing too much naiveté, simplicity, are made of. At present we sball and nature. But who are they who merely observe, that after labouring accuse her? Those who bare beiber through a long article to prove that the nature por simplicity themselves, who Vespers of Palermo is not only a cau relish only that formal and affected wretched composition, but so irre- mander which passion nerer assumed deemably wretched, that all attempts under any of its modifications. Of to improve or remodel it is useless; this hambug pomposity, which is so they tell us very gravely, and in a very well calculated to vitiate the pablic few words, that the principal cause of taste, we shall speak more at large its failure was owing to Miss Kelly. Is hereafter, and endeavour to shew that it necessary to point out to the reader that the simplieity and naiveté of Miss the absurdity of such language? Is it Kelly is not only more natural, but necessary to tell him that Miss Kelly that, it is nature itself. could not give interest to a play which We regret that the extent of our obwas so irrecoverably wretched, that servatious on the Vespers of Palermo, peither the pruning hand of the critic, will not permit us to notice the otber nor the glowing miod and delicate performances of the month at this thestouches of original genios could render ire. We can only say, that the bew it successful? We regret that our pantomime, which according to cus limits will not permit us to say more tom is brought forward at this season, on the cant of periodical criticism, but was received with great applause; we intend to devote a separate article that the scenery was of the most to it regularly every month, commenc- splendid and brilliant description; and ing it possible in our ensuing number. that it is likely to bare a successful We shall give the following extract, run.