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MEMORANDA DRAMATICA, &r.
THE season has hitherto been uncommonly prosperous. Mr. Fawcett is indefatigable in his attention to the interests of the theatre, which owes much to his joint exertions as an actor and manager. During the confinement of Mrs. Gibbs, Mrs. St. Léger has been found eminently useful, in a variety of characters, and her Ballet performances in particular, where her fine figure appears to great ade vantage, have been exceedingly admired. Mrs. Harlowe, also, in Cicely Homespun, Phebe Whitethorn, &c. has displayed, in the most successful manthe versatility of her talents.
The Battle of Hexham has been revived with great pomp of dress and decoration, and with several material changes in the cast; but we cannot say we were highly pleased with the performance. Some of the characters might have been better distributed.
JULY 1.-Miss Norton, a young lady of much promise, and who was the he roine at the Pic Nic theatre, made her first appearance on the public stage in Ame◄ lia Wildenheim. Her figure and voice are very pleasing, and she played the cha◄ racter with considerable sensibility and naiveté. She received, in every scene, the most unanimous applause of the audience, and if her talents are properly cultivated, she will become, we have no doubt, a distinguished favourite with the public. She is the daughter of Mrs. Norton, of this theatre, and niece to Mrs. Martyr.
JULY 6. Mrs. Emery, the mother of our favourite comedian, a lady who has acquired considerable provincial fame as an actress, appeared on this evening, in the character of Dame Ashfield. She conceived the part with much judgment, and acquitted herself throughout in a very respectable manner, and with true cha racteristic propriety.
10.-Beggar my Neighbour; or, A Rogue's a Fool. The plot of this comedy is taken from a play by Iffland, the German dramatist, the name of which we do not precisely remem ber; but we think it was called the Nepherus. On a perusal of that play, some time ago, we thought it presented two or three dramatic situations well worth attention; and we are of opinion still, that if the serious incidents of Beg gar my Neighbour had not been so incongruously intermixed with the comic business, the piece would have been more successful, The German story did not at all agree with the materials which the author has added to it, though at the same time we are conscious that some such assistance was necessary to produce an effect upon the audiences of the present day. We will not enter into the fa ble of a comedy which is not likely to be repeated. Some of the scenes were highly relished by the audience, and went off with universal applause: and if transplanted into an after-piece, they would perhaps find a more permanent attraction.
24-The Sixty-third Letter.-An elderly maiden lady, who has a passion for novel-writing, has arrived at the Sixty-third Letter, which being found by her relation, a whimsical old fellow, he throws it into the street. The letter proposes a meeting of the lovers, and directs that the mode of conveyance should be a hamper. An honest Irishman happening to pick up the letter, interprets
the literary incident into a real assignation, and puts the plan proposed into immediate practice, and a very laughable scene ensues. The Irish character is sustained by Mr. Johnstone with his accustomed humour. There is another character which affords infinite amusement. A servant who, smitten by the charms of song, can return no answer to his master or any one else without luging in the burthen of some popular ditty. Mr. Fawcett is irresistible in this part, and the idea is certainly entitled to the praise of originality. The other materials of the farce are of the common order. The piece, which is attributed to Mr. Oulton, was extremely well received, and strongly supported by the performers. Dr. Arnold has furnished it with two or three pleasing airs.
Mrs. Siddons has been successful beyond measure in Dublin, where she has played all her principal characters with infinite attraction and applause. She was finely supported by Holman, Talbot, and Harley. Various new arrange ments are to take place at Drury Lane next season. Mr. Kemble, it is said, will not continue the manager; and Mr. Wroughton will probably resume that arduous situation. Mr. Dibdin is quite recovered from his illness, and is now employed on another opera for the ensuing season at Covent Garden. It is reported that Mr. Betterton and Mrs. Glover are not included in the engagements for next season. Braham and Storace will most probably renew their articles. A Miss Marriot is said to be among the recruits; this lady performed last season at Birmingham, and is allowed to possess much merit. Dubois, the celebrated clown, has also been engaged by Mr. Harris. The new play called the Voice of Nature, announced at the Haymarket, is the production of Mr. Boaden, a gentleman who has distinguished himself by several admired performances, viz. Fontainville Forest, the Secret Tribunal, Italian Monk, Cambro Britons, &c. We shall give a faithful account of this drama in our next number. Miss De Camp and Miss Mellon have been performing at Newcastle, Mr. Quick at Brighton, Mrs. Powell at Liverpool and Edinburgh, Mrs. Billington at Liverpool and Newcastle. Cory has given readings at Oxford, where Thornton's company has been very successful. Mr. and Mrs. Pope are to perform a few nights at Brighton, and Mrs. Jordan gives her annual assistance at Richmond. In short, the winter forces are foraging every where, but their furlough is now nearly expired, and they must soon return to their quarters.
NEW ROYAL CIRCUS.
THIS charming summer theatre increases in fame and attraction, and, from the judicious and unremitting exertions of Cross, vies in reputation with all its competitors. The acknowledged abilities of its performers and conductors must continue its present unbounded success. While Genius and Liberality go hand in hand, as they always hitherto have done, the present crowded audiences must continue. The Golden Farmer, as we predicted in our last, is an uncommon favourite, and a petit spectacle commemorating Sowden's and Garnerin's aerial voyage from Ranelagh, has the merit of exhibiting the incidents of their career in a very clever manner. We learn that a new grand spectacle is in preparation, which, in point of splendour, is to out-rival all their former productions. Reeve composes the music, and Cross is again the ingenious caterer.
ASTLEY'S AMPHITHEATRE OF ARTS.
OUR spirited young manager, in return for the unexampled liberality with which the public have rewarded his exertions this year, has, at the enormous expence of two hundred pounds per month, engaged a new company from Paris. A new grand ballet entitled The Knights of the Sun is pitched upon for their entré; and, if report does not err, Mr. Astley Junr. notwithstanding the immense sum he gives them, is likely to reap a golden harvest.
"So should desert be crown'd."
THE opera closed on Saturday, the 24th, with Mitridate, after a season of great success, under all the circumstances. Banti, as report states, made her final exit; but whether she will continue to wear the breeches to Billington next year, must be left to time to determine. The demand for boxes for the Billington is most unusual.
PROVINCIAL DRAMA, &c.
Theatre BUXTON.-The Manchester company, with Mr. Huddart at their head, have been performing here with tolerable success. The season commenced with Lovers Vows and Of Age To-morrow. Mr. D'Arcy, who did not hold a very prominent rank at Manchester, has played several characters in a very creditable manner. Mrs. Mattocks is here, for the benefit of her health, and attends the theatre every night.
Theatre-Royal CHELTENHAM.-Mr. Watson has collected a most respectable company, and the town is filling daily. Miss Grimani, from the Bath theatre, has been a considerable favourite. Among the other performers are Messrs. Cunningham, Field, Le Brun, Chapman, Hardy, Asker, Stock, Williams, Buckle; Mrs. Charlton, Mrs. Field, Miss Blandford, Miss Mace, and Mrs. Cunningham. Richer is performing his manœuvres on the tight rope.Mrs. Litchfield is engaged for six nights, at the conclusion of her Birmingham engagement,
Theatre BIRMINGHAM.-The performances here have been in the very first style, and many of the plays have been acted with as much strength as in London. Mr. and Mrs. Siddons and Mrs. Litchfield have performed a certain number of nights. Alfonso was thus cast: Orsino, Mr. H. Siddons; Alfonso, Mr. Powell, of Drury-Lane; Cesario, Mr. Brunton; Amelrosa, Mrs. H. Siddons, and Ottilia, Mrs. Litchfield. The Winter's Tale has been exhibited with great splendour of scenery and decoration, and the principal characters were admirably supported. Leontes, Mr. H. Siddons; Polixenes, Mr. Macready ; Camillo, Mr. Powell; Florizel, Mr. Brunton; Autolicus, Mr. Blanchard; Paulina, Mrs. Chapman (late of Covent-Garden) Miss Menage the part she represented at Drury-Lane, with the hornpipe; Perdita, Mrs. H. Siddons ; Hermione, Mrs. Litchfield. The play was repeated several times. Mr. Hill and Mrs. Atkins were here for a short time. They are expected to return when they have finished at Margate. Mr. Cooke performed eight nights, and took
Hamlet for his benefit, which, although the best of the season, was not so well attended as it should have been: indeed it is a great reproach to the inhabitants of Birmingham, and such as is not applicable, in an equal degree, to any other town, that they make little or no exertion on the benefit nights of their principal performers, which must, at length, be the means of preventing actors of merit and distinction from visiting so unprofitable a neighbourhood. Mrs. Billington commenced her nights on the 28th July. In addition to the performers abovementioned, the regular company includes Messrs. Twaits, Darnley, Austin, Ratchford, Lambert, Field, Master Chatterley, Mrs. Nicoll, Miss Booth, Miss Cherry, Mrs. Blanchard, Miss Arne, Mrs. Woodfall, and Mrs. Powell. It is impossible to speak too highly of the splendid exertions of the manager, Mr. Macready.
Theatre GLASGow. We have a most wretched theatre here, but there is at present a subscription on foot for building a new one, which is intended to be very handsome. Mr. Woods took leave of the stage on Saturday the 6th of June, after performing Jacques in As you like it. He was rather imperfect in his "Farewel Address." We plainly heard the prompter several times, but this, no doubt, arose from his agitation. I am told he was very much affected when he left the stage, and went into his dressing room. His entrance was greeted with the loudest plaudits almost ever remembered in Glasgow, and at the end of his address there were six distinct rounds of applause. Our company this season consisted of Messrs. Woods, Young, Toms, Grant, Rock, Turpin, Mountfort, Bristow, Hunter, Harwood, White; Miss Walstein, Miss Townshend, two Miss Charteris (children), Mrs, Turpin, Mrs. Weston, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Duncan, Mrs. Grant, Mrs. Crumpton, Mrs. White, &c. The merits of most of these performers have been frequently discussed in the Mirror.
Theatre CHESTER." Our theatre opened on Monday, the 5th July, for one week only, to give us a sight of our old favourite Mr. CooKE. His first character was Richard III. and it was truly a dramatic feast. The last act was rather flat, for want of "the spirit-stirring drum and the ear-piercing fife,” as the military were all sent out of the town on account of the election. Richmond's words, however, had fire, and warmed his men-for he had two followers; but I do not think the king's battalia trebled that account. The parts of Richmond, King Henry, the Queen, and Lady Anne, were ably supported by Mr. Faulkner, Mr. Carr, Mrs. Tayleure, and Mrs. Faulkner.
TUESDAY.-The Man of the World.-Nothing but the universally acknowledged excellence of Mr. Cooke in Sir Pertinax Maesycophant could have drawn so respectable a house on this evening, as the independent Freemen were all busied in their septennial feasting and drinking, on the return of their old members: yet, Mr. Editor, I will boldly assert that they missed a better feast by not being at the theatre. The Sir Pertinax of Mr. Cooke is certainly the ne plus ultra of fine comic acting, and he was most sensibly and spiritedly supported by Mr. Faulkner, in Egerton; and I am sure I do but echo the sense of the house, when I state Mr. Hollingsworth's Lord Lumbercourt to be excellent. Lady Rodolpha, though not sprightly, was good-humoured; though not very happy in the Scotish dialect, was not intolerable; and though thus supported by Mrs. Ward, I know
not who of the company could have played it better. Mrs. Faulkner spoke and looked Constantia with pathos and effect.
WEDNESDAY.-Every Man in his Humoar, by desire of Lord Belgrave and General Grosvenor (our members).-The jealous Kitely was finely pourtrayed by Mr. Cooke. The scene with Cash, his wife, and that with Justice Clement, vied with each other in excellence. Dame Kitely was admirably supported by Mrs. Faulkner, whose rising merits omen prosperously. The Bobadil of Mr. Gordon was rather too sententiously grave; had he thrown a little more life and warmth of colouring into his❝ incomprehensible lies," there would have been more of the spirit of his author preserved in the reproof, where lies the jest." Master Stephen boasted some whimsicality in the hands of Mr. Hollingsworth-Master Mathew none. Justice Clement was dressed and played by Mr. Carr so as to convey an excellent idea of a "mad and merry old fellow." Brainworm afforded Mr. Penson an opportunity to display his talents in a varied point of view, and he accordingly availed himself of it.
THURSDAY.-Merchant of Venice.-Shylock is certainly one of Mr. Cooke's happiest efforts. The scene with Tubal was great; and, in the trial scene, I know not which is most entitled to commendation,-his judgment in speaking, or the effect of his silent acting;-both were excellent. Mr. Faulkner did not answer my ideas in his manner of dressing Bassanio; the plainness of his attire did not suit the text:-"How much I have disabled mine estate by shewing something a more swelling part," &c. Nor did he change when he went to Belmont, The beautiful reflections on the caskets were forcibly given, and his earnest anxiety at the trial, formed a natural and striking contrast to the many unconcerned spectators I have seen in the same character. Mr. Gordon's Gratiano was spirited and gay, and Mr. Bengough, in Anthonio, was warm and impressive. The Portia of Mrs. Bellamy wanted ease and elegance in the comic parts, and dignity and expression in the serious. This line seems not her proper sphere. Love a-laMode finished the evening's entertainments, and the Sir Archy Macsarcasm was a rich treat. Squire Groom, by Gordon, was in good hands.
FRIDAY.-First Part of King Henry IV.-The Falstaff of Mr. Cooke is the best representation of the fat knight since the days of Henderson. Depending on the true humour with which the immortal author has so richly endowed the part, Mr. Cooke disclaims the hacknied paltry tricks of rolling off a drum-of having several alarms, and falling down repeatedly," to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh;" he steadily adheres to the letter and spirit of the poet, and eminently succeeds, by a fine vein of pleasantry and strength of intellect. The King was supported with ability by Mr. Carr; Hotspur, by Mr. Faulkner, was supported throughout with due energy and marked discrimination.
SATURDAY.-Othello and Love a-la-Mode, for the Benefit of Mr. Cooke.After a week of such uncommon gratification to every true lover of the drama, Mr. Cooke's Iago was well thrown in to give a high and lasting impression to the whole. His apology and accusation of Cassio was most artfully worked up, and the address of his under-play to the Moor inimitably fine. The Moor was sustained by Mr. Faulkner, in a style of correct and good acting, Gordon's drunken scene, in Cassio, was excellent, and Ward suited the insignificance of Roderigo admirably. I have already said I did not think Mrs. Bellamy capable