The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 83
The London Shows
The London Shows.
After a trip to Paris, glancing at Sara Bernhardt's Theodora, in the Porte St. Martin Theatre, and Dumas's play of "Denise," supported by Mdlle. Bartet and Coquelin, at the Theatre Francaise, I may whirl my hansom once more round the Shows of London.
As a musical item, I have chiefly to lament the death of Herr Damrosch, who so successfully conducted the German opera season in New York. He died in that city, just at the apex of his triumph. His productions there of Wagner's masterpieces were memorable, including "Tannhauser," "Lohengrin," and the "Walkure," all with a perfect ensemble, which, to the artistic page 76 mind, outshone the electric star of Patti at the rival opera house. But Patti's entrepreneur reaped the dollars in San Francisco and-other American cities.
Carl Rosa's English opera season, at Drury Lane, supported by Madame Roze, Messrs. Maas, M'Guckin, and other distinguished artistes, has been very prosperous. His trump cards were Goring Thomas's "Nadeshda," and Massenet's "Manon." Another musical novelty of London is Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado," enjoying its run at the Savoy, and booked for a year, like "Patience" and "Iolanthe."
Irving is back at the Lyceum, with Ellen Terry. Her husband, Charles Kelly, the actor, died just as she reached England from America. They fell in love while playing the lovers in "New Men and Old Acres," at the Court Theatre, thirteen years ago. The dream did not last long. Ellen Terry was previously married to Mr. Watts the artist, whose paintings are remembered for their force of imagination. Her daughter, a grown-up young lady, has acted under the name of Miss Ailsa Craig. Miss Terry's father attended Mr. Kelly's funeral. Kelly was a good leading actor.
Miss Terry and Mr. Irving are acting in a luscious revival of Wills's "Olivia," founded on the evergreen "Vicar of Wakefield." Terriss has returned to his allegiance, and is indispensable as Squire Thornhill. Irving's Vicar reminds a Melbournian of Canon Chase. This drama suits the current lackadaisical taste.
Wilson Barrett, at the Princess,' was almost nonplussed by the "facer" of the collapse of "Junius." After a revival of the "Silver King" he has fallen farther back, on "The Lights o' London." It is believed he has a notion of trying "Othello."
The Bancrofts have, for once, made a mistake in putting up "Katherine and Petruchio" at the Haymarket. Mrs. Bernard-Beere, Brookfield, Kemble, and Forbes-Robertson are thrown away upon it. The bill, however, is filled out with "Sweethearts" and "Nan the Good-for-Nothing." In these strongly contrasted pieces Mrs. Bancroft is delicious.
The Adelphi has struck oil with Sims' "Last Chance," a melodrama in which Charles Warner takes the lead, as he did in "Drink," "Never Too Late To Mend," "Michael Strogoff," "Taken From Life," and "In the Ranks." This powerful actor-meditates a trip to Melbourne for the benefit of his health.
Quite a chance hit has been made with Byron's "Open House," at the Vaudeville, and the managerial mind is eased for a long time. Thorne and Farren act very well in it, but it is a flimsy thing, which has caught on like "Confusion." Toole has not been so fortunate, at his little theatre, with "The Shuttle-cock," left unfinished by Byron and finished by Sterry.
The Kendals, after their failure in "As You Like It," have page 77 dropped back upon "A Quiet Rubber" and "The Queen's Shilling," two pieces which they ran together before "Impulse." They are preparing a risky thing by Sardou, which Mrs. Langtry is also said to be studying.
This lady has been acting in Sardou's "Peril," at the Prince's Theatre, with great praise. The unpleasant piece will be remembered in Melbourne as "Friends." Coghlan plays the inevitable wife's lover of the French drama. Beerbohm-Tree's Sir Woodbine Grafton has won universal admiration as a character study, quite distinct from his acting in "Called Back," as that was distinct from his comic performance of the "Private Secretary." This is a coming actor. He is working up, as Irving did, in the time when the latter played in "Uncle Dick's Darling," and "Hunted Down."
The Criterion Theatre, with "The Candidate," and the Court with "The Magistrate," both swim in the full tide of public favour. Burnand's "Mazeppa" has given a spurt to the Gaiety.