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Opened on Monday the 12th of September, with Speed the Plougk. Mr. C. Kemble, and Mrs. Gibbs, followed Mr. and Mrs. H. Johnston, in Henry, and Miss Blandford; the rest of the characters remain in statu quo. The alterations and improvements in the theatre, evince great judgment and taste. The ground of the boxes, to which there is an entrance from Bow Street, is a beautiful green. The pannels are white, with a gold bordering. The new private boxes are in the third tier, and consist of seven on each side, extending from the box over the stage, to the gallery, with a narrow gold lattice projecting between each. An upper box has been added on each side, to those over the stage door. The gallery slips are converted into boxes, with a raised iron rail, in the same manner as those at Drury Lane theatre. The green drop curtain is ornamented in the centre with the royal arms in gold, the effect of which is very grand and striking. The alterations are a very great improvement in point of beauty and convenience, far exceeding in lightness, elegance, and simplicity, all former embellishments. An address, by Mr. T. Dibdin, was spoken by Mr. Fawcett.
Mr. Cooke made his first appearance in Kitely; he never played with more skill and effect, and his entree was greeted with an enthusiastic burst of long-continued applause. Mr. Kemble will appear on the 24th, in ffamlet: Mrs. Siddons on the 27th, in Isabella. Ophelia is to be performed by Miss Mortimer. Rock, in the way of whose regular engagement it is said there is some impediment thrown by the Scotch managers, is yet announced for Dennis Brulgrud-. dery. Mr. Chapman, from the Haymarket, is engaged here, with liberty to hold his situation in Mr. Colman's theatre. The benefit for the National Fund will not take place till November, when the town is expected to be full. "We shall next month offer some remarks on the late theatrical changes.
Aug. 24.—The Maid of Bristol.—A play in three acts, from the elegant pen of Mr. Boaden, was produced on this evening, and received with universal applause. The popular story of the Maid of the Haystack, has furnished the author with his general subject, but the characters and incidents are his own invention. These are delineated and disposed with the utmost simplicity, and the effect produced by them is natural and interesting. The following is a slight outline of the fable.
"Stella, a young lady of Cassel, is in love with Baron Lindorf an Hessian officer. Their attachment is opposed by one of her uncles, and Lindorf is sent to America, where he signalizes himself in battle. His letters to Stella are intercepted, and he is amused with a false account of her infidelity. Under an impression that she has given her hand to another, he marries an American lad}'. Stelkit learning that Lindorf is on his return to Europe, quits her friends, and repairs to England, where her lover is expected. She takes up her residence at Captain Oakum's, at Bristol, and is kindly treated by him and Mrs. Oakum. Lindorf arrives wounded, and is brought upon a litter into the house Stella has chosen for her asylum. An interview takes place between them, in which she is made acquainted with his marriage. Her understanding becomes impaired by the intelligence, and she rushes outinto the field, where she determines to remain exposed to the inclemency of the weather. Her friends proceed in search of her j her reason returns; and the death of the countess having removed the obstacle to her union with Lindorf, the scene terminates by the happiness of all parties."
Mr. Boaden's object seems to have been to write a simple and pathetic drama, unencumbered with the farcical accompaniments which have of late so vitiated and degraded the British stage. While the story he has adopted and embellished strongly interests our feelings, the mind is improved by a variety of dignified sentiments, discovering great felicity and strength of expression,as well as striking originality of conception. His plan affords also, without any sacrifice to consistency, an opportunity of paying a just tribute to the bravery of our soldiers and sailors, and of giving an enthusiastic impulse to the patriotic feelings of the nation. In Ben Block% whose disinterested exertions in behalf of Stella, render him an object of peculiar favour with the audience, the author has delineated the characteristic traits of a brave, blunt, benevolent tar with admirable nicety. There is one passage in this character so exquisitely true to nature, and so new yet just in its application, that it never fails to affect the audience with the tenderest emotions j we mean the description of the effects of a little child's innocent prattie and artless endearments on the mind of a man depressed by the untoward accidents of life. In our poetical department is inserted a very neat address to the author, from a literary friend, in consequence of this affecting appeal to the sensibility of the audience. Captain Oakum is likewise a well drawn character of the nautical school, and both parts were acted with much spirit and judgment by Mr. Elliston and Mr. Chapman. Mrs. Gibbs looked beautifully in Stella, and did great justice to the character in her acting. The part assigned to Mathews was that of a pedantic son of iEscuiapius: though a mere sketch, he rendered it extremely diverting.
The prologue was an elegant composition, somewhat marr'd in the delivery. By way of epilogue an animated address was delivered by Mr. Elliston, comprizing a most masterly and discriminating character of Bonaparte, and appealing with irresistible force to the patriotism of Englishmen. It is written by Mr. Colman, and since it is impossible for description to do it justice, we subjoin a copy of it to this brief account of the Maid of Bristol.
In times like these, the sailor of our play,
And, aping the fraternity of Cain,
Man is his brother—only to be slain.
And must Religion's mantle be profan'd
To cloak the crimes with which an atheist's stain'd!
Yes —the mock saint, in holy motley dress'd,
Devotion's Public Ledger stands confess'd j—
Of every, and no faith, beneath the sun :—
"Open to all, and influenced by none
Ready he waits, to be, or not to be,
Rank unbeliever, or staunch devotee.
Now Christians' deaths in Christian zeal he works,
Now worships Mahomet to murder Turks j
Now tears the creed, to give free-thinking scope,
Now dubb'd " Thrice Catholic," he strips a pope.—
A mongrel mussulman, of papal growth,
Mufti and monk, now neither, or now both;
At mosque, at church, by turns, as craft thinks good,
Each day in each, and every day in blood!
God! must this mushroom despot of the hour,
The spacious world encircle with his power?
Stretching his baneful feet from pole to pole,
Stride Corsican Colossus of the whole?
Forbid it Heaven! and forbid it man!
Can men forbid it ?—yes, the English can.
'Tis their's at length to fight the world's great cause,
Defend their own, and rescue other's laws.
What Britons'would not, were their hairs all lives,
Fight for their charter, for their babes and wives;
And hurl a tyrant from his upstart throne, .,
To guard their king securely on his own? 26.—-John Bull was performed on this stage, for the benefit of that interesting and meritorious actress Mrs. Gibbs. Bannister (who appeared for that night only) succeeded eminently in Job Thomberry, and the other characters were supported with much repeatability. Denman contrived, even so immediately after Johnstone, to produce a powerful effect in Dennis Brulgruddery: his epilogue song was encored, and he certainly played the whole character in a very creditable manner.
31.—Nicodemus inDespair—A farce from the French, previously actedat the Margravine of Anspach's theatre, under the title of Poor Nony, where it was extravagantly applauded, and considered, by the fashionable wise-acres, as a most happy effort of genius and taste. Its fate, however, was reversed at the Haymarket, and poor Nicodemus (by the way, ought the licencer to have sanctioned a title so remarkably scriptural ?) was driven from the stage with every mark of contempt and disgust. Mathews laboured hard to avert the general indignation of the audience, but it was not in the power of acting to save the piece. The author's name has not transpired.
Sept. 15.—The theatre closed with the following address from Mr. Elliston.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The proprietor of this theatre has deputed me to return you his .warmest thanks for the liberal encouragement which you have bestewed on his endeavours to form a company of comedians independent of the winter theatres.
Your generous patronage has stamped success upon his plan in its very infancy; and the plan, thus established, he feels it his duty to make every exertion towards its future improvement. The next season, he trusts, will prove that he has not been deficient in gratitude, nor inactive upon points which may best contribute to your entertainment.
The performers, ladies and gentlemen, beg leave to join their acknowledgments to those of the proprietor, and we most respectfully bid you farewell.
16.—The house was again opened for the benefit of Mr. Waldron, the worthy and respectable prompter to this theatre. The performances were Henry V. and Love laughs at Lock-smiths.
From the numbers of galas, and the large attendance, the proprietor must liave had a most favourable season. He certainly deserves encomium for the liberality which he has shewn in decorating this minor Vauxhall. The Orchestra is ably filled: among them we noticed Mr. Griesbach, on the flute, and Mr. LHolf, on the violin; nor should we do justice to promising talents in blossom, did we not mention with praise the singing of Master Kellner.
The proprietor has expended much money in rendering this place pleasant. In the gardens there is no offensive odour from the tanneries, and when the trees shall have grown larger, and formed a thicker foliage, the promenade will be little inferior, "if we may compare small things tp great," to its rival gardens.
The fireworks are equal to any we ever witnessed, and the band of music from the water was given with great effect.
Theatre Royal Brighton.—The theatre has been better attended, as the evenings grew longer. Munden played a few nights for a benefit, and Mr. Farley, who performed Tom Tick, Goldfinch, Young Rapid, and Jack Junk, in a most creditable manner, to Munden's Post Obit, Dornton, Old Rapid, and Captain Bertram, had an overflowing house, for his benefit, on Saturday, Sept. 17, when Incledon, Munden, Blanchard and Emery, gave their powerful assistance. Mr. Bannister, junr. performed the preceding evening to a crowded theatre, for the benefit of his sister, Mrs. Swendall. Quick and Kelly are engaged for a few evenings. They commenced with Lionel and Sir John Olclboy.
Theatre Royal Liverpool.—Some gentlemen amateurs, among whom Captain Colquitt of the Guards, and his brother, a Captain in the navy, particularly distinguished themselves, performed Macbeth for the fund at Lloyd's: the receipts exceeded JL'.XO. The benefit- have been in general very productive;
Emery and Mrs. Glover were peculiarly fortunate j the latter had the advantage of Prince William of Gloucester's first visit to the theatre. Lady Perrot, and Mrs. Mara, have succeeded the London performers. Bra ham and Storace are now here; and Mr. and Mrs. Mathews from the Haymarket, who are engaged for the whole winter season.
Theatre Royal Plymouth.—The management, and indeed the entire property of this theatre having devolved on Messrs. Winston and Smith, by purchase, they have this season, under circumstances of various disadvantage, rendered the concern very productive. The company is one of the most respectable. Winston, as has been before observed, has infinite merit in the comic lineIn addition to Caleb Quotem, mentioned by us last month, his Jobson stands Yery prominent. His Job Thornberry possesses the bluntness peculiar to the part; and, in all the characters he performs, he displays much judgment and discrimination. We were highly pleased with the correct representation of Denis Brulgruddery, by Mr. Smith. He had studied the part with care, and gave all the points with admirable effect. Mrs. Smith, (late Miss Dixon) gives a vocal consequence to the company, not often possessed out of London. Thi* lady's acting is much esteemed. Miss Grant, we believe a native of this coun* try, is an actress of great promise in the simple and unaffected style of characters. This young lady possesses most of the requisites to ensure excellence :—let her, however, beware of flattery. Mrs. Winston also stands high in our estimation. Egerton hath visited us from Bath. He is a good figure, and, in many of his characters, such as Hollaf Ranger, Sec. and indeed Tom Shi/fffeton, exhibits considerable talents. Miss Mellon remained with us a short time: she was a great favourite, and our spirited town rewarded her efforts by a bumper on her benefit night. Jefferson—the easy, the affable, and the accomplished veteran—the contemporary of Garrick and of Henderson, of Barry, Wilkinson, and Foote—had his annual night, which was well attended. Next season the theatre is to be rebuilt upon a splendid and most magnificent scale, a plan of which is now exhibited at the booksellers' shops in Plymouth.
Theatre Royal Weymouth.—Notwithstanding the absence of royalty, this theatre has succeeded better than could be expected. John Bull has been repeatedly performed with success. Old Hughes entered into the character with great warmth and animation, and with a feeling and honesty, which produced a strong effect.
Belfast, (Ireland) Sept. 6,1803.—Theatrical Phenomenon.-* **Mr. Editor,—Your useful and entertaining Magazine being the most fashionable one now extant, through which any extraordinary intelligence, dramatica, is conveyed to the literary and polite world, I trust you will not hesitate to communicate the appearance, on our stage, of A Wonderful Theatrical PhenoMenon! About a fortnight ago, the advertisements announced to the public the performance of Aaron Hills Zara, the part of Osman to be undertaken by a young gentleman only eleven years old. Curiosity, of course, brought together a very genteel audience. The young sultan soon made his entre with all the parade of oriental pomp. The attendants dismissed, the dialogue commenced. Like an