Imatges de pàgina
[ocr errors]

thing like the following arrangement: dialogue, if it seldom delights, as sel- The King's Theatre to be appro- dom offends good taste. There is, priated exclusively to Italian operas ;- however, scarcely any originality in the Covent-Garden to be converted into an piece; and it was not at all worth reEnglish Acadèmie de Musique for the viving for itself.—Holcroft shewed encouragement of a grand national some skill in the manner in which he Opera and Ballet ;-the internal part availed himself of the materials furof Drury-Lane to be entirely re-mo- nished by previous writers; but he delled, and contracted to a moderate had no creative power of his own. He size, and a new Theatre on a similar produced no work that will live, beplan built—these two for the exclu- cause, though he could dove-tail the sive representation of the legitimate dead parts together, he could not inEnglish Drama, including Tragedy, fuse a vital principal into them. But Comedy, and Farce. Perhaps the mi- the grand fault of this comedy is its nor theatres might then safely remain extreme seriousness. It has, in fact, under their present restriction : but we no pretensions to the title of a comedy see no very good reason why it would at all. It must be a strange, and not not be for the benefit of all parties that a very“ happy alchemy of mind” that they should be free from any restric- can extract mirth from the gloomy intion whatever.

vectives of a self-made misanthrope With the distant prospect of this or the misery and remorse of a ruined change before us,—and perhaps with gamester-or the agonies and despair some faint hope of being able to con- of a father who believes that he has tribute our mite towards bringing it been instrumental in the seduction of about,—we are tempted to continue his own child. Yet these are the inour Notices of what is going forward gredients of the chief character,in the theatrical world. But lest our Mordaunt.-Neither is there much to temper should be thought to have been compel laughter in the spectacle of a somewhat soured since we at first pro- cunning scoundrel successfully plotting posed a little good-natured gossip with the destruction of his benefactor-or the reader, we must fairly confess that the insane curses and imprecations of we no longer sit down to our task con the same person, when his machinaamore ; and that we cannot help every tions are laid bare by an accomplice, now and then exclaiming to ourselves, as great a villain as himself.—Nay, it “ A plague o' both your houses !" is quite possible to refrain from smiles

even at witnessing the misery of a

loving and virtuous wife neglected by The Steward.

her husband; or the sighs and tears The first novelty of the season has of a lovely and innocent daughter, debeen a Comedy at this theatre. It is serted by her parent. In fact, there is called The STEWARD; and is said to nothing less comic than the sufferings be “ founded on” Holcroft's Deserted even of the wicked, except those of Daughter. But it is, in fact, nothing the good : and this comedy consists of more than a revival of that piece, with little else but one or the other. And some slight and insignificant altera- yet, notwithstanding this great fault, tions. This comedy has evidently been it has been completely successful : brought forward at the present time, chiefly, as we think, in consequence not from any intrinsic attractions of of the admirable manner in which it is its own, but from the accidental cir- performed throughout. Every characcumstance of its containing characters ter in the piece, without exception or extremely well adapted to display the qualification, was played as well as it talents of some favourite performers: could be. We are only able to notice, principally Mr Macready and Mr W. in particular, those of Item and More Farren. Yet the comedy is not with- daunt, by Mr W. Farren, and Mr out a degree of merit in itself. The Macready. character of MORDAUNT ( Macready) Item, the villanous old Steward who is drawn with considerable force, truth, gives the title to the play, while totand consistency; and that of Item tering on the brink of the grave, is (Farren) is finished with great care ready to barter his own body and soul, and skill.—There is also a good deal of and those of all his kind, to gratify his interest excited during the progress filthy passiou for lucre. He crouches and developement of the plot; and the down to the earth, and creeps after his


victims, like a cat following her prey. second actor on the English stage. His features are as hard and as sharp We think, too, that in this, and in the as those of the coin on which he dotes. few other characters of the same class, You can see that money is the means which Mr Macready has performed, he and the end of his existence. He has shewn that he possesses more of loves it for itself alone. It is his food the air.and manner of a gentleman than and raiment—the breath of his life any other actor of this day. Mr Kean the blood of his heart-the sum of his has none at all: But then he seldom daily thoughts and his nightly dreams. wants it, and can always afford to do -He kneels to it when he goes to rest. without it. Mr Young is undoubtedly It is his only hope-his only good, a gentleman: But yet there is a little his only god.' And when, at last, all appearance of self-conceit and affectathat he possesses of it is suddenly and tion about him. He seems to feel unexpectedly snatched away from him, himself so much of a gentleman that he raves and rages about, like a tiger he need not care to trouble himself that has lost her young. His teeth about the matter. His gentility sits grind against each other—his eyes rather too loosely about him: like a glare, and seem bursting from their well cut coat that has the fault of besockets--his voice gushes forth at in- ing a little too large. But he is a gentervals, or is lost in hurried and im- tleman, nevertheless. Mr C. Kemble, potent attempts at expression. Then, too, can assume the tone and style of for a moment, he drops on his knees, good society: But it is generally accomhis eyes fill with tears, and his hands panied by an air of proud self-conare clasped in an agony of supplication. sciousness, as if he were something But the next moment, finding that all above it. And so he is. When he is in vain, he starts upon his feet again plays a part that requires this, he -pours forth a torrent of curses and seems to do it under an apparent sense imprecations-and then rushes away, of degradation, as if he felt himself to as if in despairing and hopeless search be descending from the regions of Roafter his lost idol.

mance and Poetry, to which he more The whole performance, and parti- properly belongs. But Mr Macready, cularly the last scene, was really fine; in the level part of this character, and and we cannot help noticing that what in some others, has seemed to us to has always beforestruck us as a great de exhibit that very rare acquirement, a fect in Mr Farren's acting, was, on the perfectly unconstrained and graceful contrary, a beauty in this. We mean style of expression, accompanied by a the hard and fixed expression of his cool, quiet, and unconscious self-poscountenance. In all the early part of session, in which the manners of a the character his features looked as if gentleman consist. We do not mean they were carved out of box-wood, and to attach any very high value to this were only to be moved by stratagem; acquirement, in an actor ; but if it but, in the last scene, their free, loose, were more prevalent on the stage, it and wild expression formed a natural would sooner than any thing else, conand admirable contrast to this. We are tribute to raise the profession to that happy in this opportunity of doing rank in public estimation, which it justice to the talents of an actor of might and should hold:—for it is prowhom we have hitherto neglected to bable that there is more natural intelspeak as he deserves.

lect, and more acquired information We never before saw Mr Macready and knowledge of the world, among play so well as in the highly sensitive, actors, than would be found in an yet ruined, guilty, and desperate More equal number of the members of any daunt. It was a very fine perform- other profession whatever, taken inance-full of deep pathos, strong pas- discriminately. sion, and exquisite judgment. The scene in which he believes himself to

Miss Tree, and Mr Phillips. have been instrumental in the ruin of Two new singers have been engaged his own child exhibited great power at this Theatre : Miss M. Tree from and vehemence, occasionally relieved Bath; and Mr Phillips, who sang at and heightened by beautifully pathetic the English Opera some years ago. and affecting contrasts : and the whole Of Miss Tree we have seen but was worthy of the rank which this little-yet enough to be very much gentleman is entitled to claim, as the pleased with her. Her voice is not at

[ocr errors]

all powerful; but it is perfectly clear seem to consider him as a very accomand sweet in the upper notes, and plished singer, and moreover, a very some of the lower ones have a fine, graceful and agreeable person : and he rich, glowing tone like the musical evidently thinks that it would be a murmur of the honey-bee. She has great piece of presumption in him to also an extremely good natural taste, differ in opinion from so large and enand appears to have been well taught. lightened a body. Her powers, to be sure, are very li- On Wednesday the 6th an afterpiece mited,—that is to say, she cannot do called the Gnome King, was produced what had much better be left undone: at this Theatre. It is not a kind of She can neither startle nor astonish- Drama to require much criticism. The but merely communicate delight. Her story is simply this : The Princess execution is laboured and difficult to Stella, a young lady who, as her name herself—and therefore it gives neither indicates, is addicted to star-gazing, pleasure nor surprise. But when she and who frequently indulges in moontrusts to simplicity and nature, which light walks at a very late hour of the she really appears to do as much as the evening, is, in one of these excursions, present state of musical taste will per- seen by a certain Gnome King—a permit her,--there is a purity and sweet- son who is also given to night-wanness of expression about her singing derings, but who, when at home, rethat is quite delightful. In the Maid sides in the centre of the earth. This of thc Mill she introduces Moore's bal- monarch of miners straitway falls deslad of “ Young Love ;” and we never perately in love with the lady, and remember to have heard any given with having by a clever stratagem (for all more exquisite finish and more deli- things are fair in love) contrived to 'cious effect. There is also something get her in his power, he sinks down to pleasing and lady-like about her per- his kingdom, and carries her with him. son and manners-accompanied, howe –Immediately the news of this acciever, by a little stiffness, that will soon dent transpires, the lady's betrothed wear off: But we like her the better husband, Duke Sigismund, goes to for it at present.

consult a cunning man who lives at Of Mr Phillips we should be loath some distance, in a place similar to to speak at all, unless we were pretty that “ Where Vulcan forged the bolts sure that he had rather we should say of Jove." This person informs the any thing of him than nothing. As lover of his mistress's unpleasant situathe subject, however, is not a very im- tion, and the probable means of extriportant one, and as our opinion on it cating her from it—and by his direcseems to differ in toto from that of the tion Sigismund goes in search of her.public, we shall not undertake the in- Arriving at a blasted heath, he boldly vidious and useless task of expressing though not very prudently commits it; but shall substitute our individual himself to the guidance of a dove, at feeling in its stead. We must, how- whose instigation he throws himselfinto ever, vindicate our good-nature by say- a sort of steam-coach, lighted with gas, ing that we do this entirely out of which conveys him safely to his jourrespect to him; and as what he will ney's end. - In the mean time the consider a much less evil than that of Gnome King has treated his fair cappassing him over in silence. We do tive in the handsomest possible manfeel, then, that, in the


ner; but not being gifted with such ment, we never yet encountered any personal attractions as his young rival, thing so disagreeable as Mr Phillips's she seems determined to reject his adsinging——except his acting. We should dresses-when just at the moment actually be tempted to stay away from that she is indulging in a little pardonhearing Miss Tree, when this gentle- able coquetry with him, and he has man performs with her, but that it rather unadvisedly laid his sceptre, and would be quite unavailing: for his with it all his supernatural power, at open mouth, like that of a Dutch nut- her feet, her favoured lover arrives cracker-his “ Cupid's two eyes”—his from outside the earth, snatches


the portentous frown--and his perpetual said sceptre, and by virtue of its power, finger-absolutely haunt us.—But it sends his rival in a very summary, and, is easy to perceive that Mr Phillips considering the polite manner in which can make himself perfectly happy with- he had conducted himself towards the out our good wordl--for his audience lady,certainly nota very justifiable man


ner, down to sup with Pluto. The lovers that we remember to have seen ; but then, by their newly acquired power, they are greatly surpassed by that of convey themselves home again, and the lake with the distant view of the all is well—The lady, no doubt, effec- Giant Mountains.—This was really an tually cured of her passion for moon- exquisitely beautiful and correct natulight, and the Gnome King fully con- ral picture. vinced of the extreme folly of ventur- This piece is said to be written by ing out of one's element.

Mr Reynolds-we suppose, Mr ReyWe are not at all disposed to quarrel nolds the Dramatist. It is but fair to with a piece of this kind, now and make this distinction--for there is anthen-and the Gnome King is the best other person of that name—a gay and of its class we have seen for a long witty young writer who would probawhile. The language is rather too bly, on more accounts than one, be ambitious sometimes, and in one part very loath to deprive his name-sake of it indulges itself in a very strange, and whatever credit may belong to such quite a novel freak : the scene is in literary labours as these. Germany; but the characters of course all speak English, except one : The Since the first part of this article sovereign Duke, Stella's papa, chooses was written it appears that Mr Kean to express himself in the regular stage is still to form part of the Drury Lane jargon “ appointed to be spoken” by Company, having abandoned his plan Swiss valets and other German adven- of going to America. We hope the turers, when they happen to be engaged talk about it was not coquetry, after in scenes which are laid in England. all. Such arts are entirely beneath But probably this arrangement was him. Mr Ellison has also announced made for the accommodation of Mr his intention of, next season, re-modelFarley; who, to say the truth, speaks ling the whole internal arrangement of broken English much better than he this theatre, and contracting it to a does sound.—There is some pleasant moderate size! So, to this complexion music composed by Mr Bishop; and it is come at last! But is this anthe plot is sufficiently interesting to nouncement to be taken without quakeep the attention alive ;-but the lification ? Will he persevere in his scenery is, of course, intended to be plan if the theatre, in its present form, the chief attraction, and it is truly should answer his purposes-that is to splendid and beautiful. The first say, pay him? We shall see. Until scene, supposed to represent the centre he does, however, we cannot even wish of the earth, and that of the fairy him success—and when he does we can bower prepared by the Gnome King do more than wish, we can promise it for the reception of his fair captive, to him. are better than any thing of the kind



[This little article, which is too lively to be omitted, touches on part of the same ground

with the preceding one, and was sent to us in the belief that our dramatic friend had

ceased his ingenious lucubrations. EDITOR.] This is the famous period, then, when and flying news from every quarter London is dull even to a proverb, and where the wild winds blow, and we the country is endured for thirty or debate, and, in our wisdom, determine forty days.

upon the merit or importance of all. WE-(who are a sort of parodoxical If, peradventure, ought of interest ocunit of that renowned aggregate body cur, straight we pin it down upon our whose ethereal spirits are transmuted sheet of foolscap, and impress the fu-' once a month into letter-press, in the gitive into our service. shape of Blackwood's Edinburgh Ma- We have communications from the gazine,) we, in all our anonymous dig- Stock Exchange and the Fleet; from nity, are now lying stretched out on a Slaughter's Coffee-house and Newgate chintz-covered sofa in the great city market ; from the Traveller's club of London. We hearken to messages (where each member must have tra

[ocr errors]


velled his 500 miles) and the Weaver's tian Thebes seem, at times, to have company; from Covent Garden, and been translated hither by that mighty the west end of the town, and the society African magician, so famous a remover for the Suppression of Vice; we lounge of buildings in the time of Aladdin. through the theatres, and glance some- Atother times, while we wander through what carelessly at the company, and the more lonely streets, we are tempted we are admitted to an unmolested view to consider ourselves in the marble of the great square of Lincoln's Inn, city discoursed of in oriental story ; which is usually so full of bustle, but and when we come upon a human benow like

ing at a sudden turn, his footstep falls “ A world left empty of its throng." upon our ear like the one solitary voice Every thing wears a strange aspect. that broke the silence of that enchantThe hotel-keepers are painting their ed spot. houses—the jewellers stand invitingly But to quit the west end of the at their thresholds--the milliner has a town for “ fresh woods and pastures petition in her face—and the beggar is new.” Intelligent reader ! shouldest not to beresisted—the linen-drapers are thou chance to arrive in London shortlaying in their stock of winter patterns ly after thou readest this Magazine, --the doctor has leave to enjoy him- hie thee unto the theatres—there are self-the lawyer ceases from his toile something still worth thy seeing. There the tailor's measure is an “ idle in- is, first, at strument”-and the roll of a carriage Covent GARDEN. The Steward. A is heard no more.

Mr Mordent," on becoming the There is something melancholy in husband of a titled lady, disowns the all this; the spirit of assimilation car- child of a former humble ries us back to the past in a moment- riage. He runs in extravagance, and to palaces of old, to temples, to towers is involved, as a matter of course. almost forgotten—to pillars and tombs, Honest Item,his steward, is the and the scite of memorable cities of person who principally assists him one which now scarcely the dust remains. wards to his ruin. He has a friend too

There is nothing that induces me- who lends him money, and then relancholy contemplation more than the quests that he will play the orator for sight of a great city in silence and de- him with a young girl whom he (the sertion. A rural scene, however quiet friend) wishes to educe. Mr M. conand remote, has charms of earth, and air, sents to this after the proper allowance and sky, that generate a livelier feeling. of struggles, and the young girl turns The heart expands to take in all its out to be his own deserted child. The beauties; the eye looks gratefully up affair terminates in the usual manto the wide heavens, and the senses are ner, and reconciliations, and forgivedelighted with odours and flowers. ness, and love, and marriage, and puWe seem to be making acquaintance nishment, as the case may be, are diswith nature, and we look forward to tributed among the good, the erring, changes and improvements—there is a and the bad. Macready is very great novelty in her shifting charms which in this play, though, at times, we amuses the spirit, and there is expec- thought rather too violent; his words tation to prevent it from sinking. But are almost lost occasionally in his deep a city in its pillared solitude speaks of guttural tone. Why does he resort to nothing but the past. It is the same this trick ? The second tragedian on as ever, or it has even a more mourn- the stage need not do this to render ful face. We never think of the time himself conspicuous. We know no to come, unless it be to speculate up- one who so well depicts suppressed on probable decay. The seasons seem emotion as he, saving, perhaps, Kean; to have passed. Expectation, and en- but Kean's manner (for instance in the joyment, and fear, and dismay, may trial scene in the Iron Chest) is more have been, but they are gone for ever. in repose and ghastly ; Macready is It is not merely solitude, but it is so- like the storm that mutters before it litude without novelty, or apprehen- bursts. Farren, although he does not sion, or hope.

play Sir Anthony Absolute half, as And what has this to do with Lon- well as Dowton, is at all times a clever don? Why, in truth, our part (the actor, but in “ Item,” in his pinching west) of the town, wears some such avarice and his smiling roguery, and an aspect now. Palmyra and Egyp- lastly, in the fearful, though almost

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »