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Theatre Birmingham.—This theatre, which is one of the most elegant and commodious, the best regulated, and always supported by one of the first companies out of London, does not prosper so well as the activity and liberal spirit of the manager deserve that it should. De Camp, Fawcett, and Mrs. Jordan, have performed a certain- number of nights each, though not with all the attraction which might reasonably have been expected from them, in times more favourable to theatrical amusements. Mrs. Jordan, it is said,, was, engaged at fifty pounds per night, besides a benefit. In nine nights she received «£469 10s. the manager's entire receipts being, during that time, only £555, 9s.- 6d. The regular company has to boast several performers of consequence in the profession i. Mr. Macready (the manager), Messrs. Cherry and Powell, and Miss Stephens, from Drury-Lane i Mr. Brunton, Miss Marriotr and Mrs. Powel, from CoventGarden; Mr. Harley, a gentleman who in a particular line of acting, is without a rival i Messrs. Bennet, T waits, Austin, and Miss Mills. Mr. Hill from Covent Garden, and Mr. Carles, the gentleman who performed Othello, Jaffier, &c. and who has very respectable connections in this town, are soon to join the company. John Bull and the Tate of Mystery have been carefully got up, and every other species of novelty has been brought forward,- in regular succession.
Theatre Royal Brighton.—Though the play-house has been opened some time, the theatrical season can hardly be said to have yet commenced.- The town is thin of company, and the camp with the regimental bands of music, who play there every night, are a novelty much more attractive than the amusements of the theatre. The number of visitors is daily increasing, but, on account of the threatened invasion, it cannot be expected that this or any other place of fashionable resort on the coast will be so much frequented this summer as usual. Haymes, who profited so well last year, is again the manager. Dowton, Farley, Mrs. St. Leger, &c. began the campaign; the latter, after a slight reconnoitring, shifted her ground i and the two gentlemen, who were engaged only for a short period, resigned the command, we presume not with much regret; the former has gone into other quarters, and the latter has retreated to London, in order to inspect the forces at the Hay market, who are waiting only for the word of command to go through their evolutions in his Grand Rallet, of which report speaks in very high terms. The best house this season was for his benefit, when Mr. Siddons and Mrs. Litchfield performed the Stranger and Mrs, Uallerr for that night only; Tobias by Mr. Dowton; Francis by Mr. Farley i Peter, by Mr. Blanchard. With this combined and capital strength from the winter h6uses, the play could not but be admirably acted. The Tale of Mystery wa* the afterpiece, in which Mr. Siddons acted Romaldi: Francisco and Mtckelli, the miller, as at Covent-Garden, by Messrs. Farley and Blanchard. There are some respectable performers in the company. Mr. Swendal, a gentleman of established professional merit, and no less estimable in private life; Mrs. Swendall ;, Mrs. Baster, from Covent-Garden j Mrs. Humphries; a Mr. James, an actor of much promise; MissClark, a young lady than whom we have seen few with moreserviceable qualifications, or better deserving of encouragement on any provincial stage. Mr. Blanchard remains here for some time.- Mrs. Jordan will come for a few nights towards the close of the season.
Theatre Totnes.—Fisher's company has been here lately. Some of the performers have much merit; particularly Fisher in the comic characters; Palmer in tragedy; and Mr. and Mrs. Drake in the serio-comic. The theatre has been respectably attended.
New Theatre Royal Liverpool.—This truly elegant theatre opened oa Monday, June 6th, under the management of Messrs. Lewis and Knight. We do not hesitate to pronounce it at once the most elegant, commodious, compact, and chastly proportioned building, for the purpose of theatrical exhibition, in the united kingdom. The shape of the interior is nearly that of the horse-shoe; yet so contrived, that, from the back rows in every part of the house, the performance may be very well seen, and the lowest whisper, if articulate, distinctly beard. We could wish the proscenium had been less richly ornamented, for, however beautifully executed, it does not entirely harmonize with the light, elegant decorations of the other parts of the house. The fronts of the boxes are painted with a sort of lattice work silvered, and medallions beautifully executed. The supporters of the boxes are light, well-proportioned, cast-iron pillars, gilded. There are four and twenty of the handsomest lustres we ever saw; twelve of which, somewhat larger than the others, are suspended at equal distances round the lower tier; eight round the second tier, and four above those, round the third or highest tier.
The very limited time in which all this was effected (scarcely six months, and commenced too in the depth of winter) reflects the highest credit upon the active spirit, skill, and perseverance of Mr. Foster, the architect, to whose taste and ability we are indebted for most of our well built houses all over the town. An Address, written by Mr. T. Dibdin,* comparing the theatre to a ship, and carrying on the figure with neat and appropriate allusions throughout, was delivered with much spirit by Mr. Knight, whose entrance was greeted with enthusiastic applause. The play was " Speed the Plough," in which he performed his original character, Farmer Ashfield, with his usual ability; Sir Abel Handy by Mr. Simmons; Miss Blandford by Mrs. Mountain, who was most cheeringly welcomed back by her old friends and admirers, after a long absence; and Robert Handy by Mr. Young. The scenes, chiefly painted by Whitmore, Walmsley, and Wilkins, together with the dresses, ice. are such as have not been equalled in any country theatre, and well accords with the elegance and good taste displayed in the tout ensemble. ,
"A Cure for the Heart Ache" introduced Mr. Emery to this audience, in the part of Frank Oatland; and Mrs. Glover commenced her career in the part of the Jealous Wife, a character in which her reputation is so deservedly high. Mr. Lewis appeared first in Ranger. He has since played Benedict, Archer, Copper Captain, and Marplot. His celebrity has been too universally acknowledged to need any additional tribute of admiration; yet we must say that we were astonished to perceive, throughout his representation of all the above characters, the same spirit, neatness, elegance, whim, and variety, which delighted us years ago, unimpaired and undiminished. He appears in high health and spirits: his reception was most flattering. Mr. Cooper, from Drury-Lane, has played Richard twice, and Macbeth once, on his road to Dublin, with success. A prize brought in here (French) had on board nearly thirty gentlemen and ladies. The managers, humanely wishing to soften the rigours of captivity, politely offered them a free admission to the theatre, which they with joy accepted; and they nightly attend, escorted, in parties of ten or a dozen. It has been stated, in some of the London papers, that the managers have been obliged, in consequence of the badness of the houses, to call in the aid of Messrs. Fawcett * This address appeared in our last number.. I—voL. XVI.
and others; but this is not the feet: they have sought for no additional attractions: their engagements for the season were made some months ago, and no auxiliaries have appeared there but such as were engaged before the London theatres closed. Throughout England the theatres have suffered by the peculiar situation of affairs; that of Liverpool, perhaps, less than any: though seldom crowded, it has been uniformly well attended, during the time it has been open, and we doubt not but its success will be ultimately equivalent to the spirit manifested by the proprietors in its erection, and that of the managers in conducting it. At the advanced prices, as mentioned in last month's Mirror, the house will now contain nearly £, 400. Mr. Fawcett opened, July 18th, in Goldfinch and Caleb Quotem: he is to perform three weeks, and will be succeeded by Mundeti, Theatre-Royal Plymouth.—Mr. Smith and Mr. Winston have purchased the whole property of this theatre, and have commenced their career under the most flattering and encouraging auspices. They mean to expend a very considerable sum in improving the decorations and conveniences of the theatre i the lobbies, coffee-room, stage, and scenery, are all to be new.
Mr. Winston made his first appearance this season on the 24-th of June, in Ollapod and Caleb Quotem, and Mrs. Winston on the 27th, in Mrs. Sullen. They both met a most cordial reception, and are in great favour with the audience. John Bull has, of course, been extremely attractive. Mr. Chalmers, a well-known performer, not long returned from America, played Peregrine well. Mr. Dalton, a very promising young actor, enters into the spirit of Tom Shuffleton, and gives it good effect. Mr. Smith's Dennis Bmlgruddery (as it ever must do in good hands) meets the entire approbation of the audience, and Mr. Neyler displays a sufficient degree of rustic simplicity in Dan. This gentleman has much merit in country boys, but is too apt to neglect his author. Miss Grant gave great interest to Mary. This very pleasing young actress has a fault rather prevalent among the female candidates tor the stage, but very destructive to their interests, and the true purposes of the dm ma; that of frequently regarding the audience, instead of attending to the business of the scene. Mrs. Gore's Mother Brulgruddery should not pass unobserved. Mr. and Mrs. Winston, in Job Thornberry and Lady Caroline, appeared to much advantage; indeed, the* whole play is remarkably well got up. Mr. Hill, from Covent Garden, is a great favourite, and has been very successful; Mrs. Smith (late Miss Dixon) had an overflow at her benefit, when John Bull and the Cabinet (reduced to an afterpiece) were the performances. Mr. Winston takes the same play on Monday, July 18, with the Tale of Mystery, which is exceedingly well done here, and sings a variety of comic songs. The night is patronised by Admiral Sir John Colpoys, K. B. and will, no doubt, be crowded in every part. Mrs. Johnstone from Bath, Miss Mellon, and Mrs. Frederick from the Opera-House, will shortly join the company.
Theatre-Royal Edinrurgh.—The kindness of a well-informed friend has enabled me to supply the Monthly Mirror with the amount of each performer's benefit, at the end of the winter season, in Edinburgh. If the public favour be a criterion of professional merit, the approbation of the Edinburgh audience, so repeatedly and unqualifiedly expressed, cannot but be flattering to many of the profession, so distinguished, on our boards. 1^ gives me pleasure to observe, that the sentiments I hazarded of our company, two years since, in your valuable miscellany, have been acquiesced in by such a respectable audience.
Mr. Rock, £. 145 * Mr. and Mrs. Lee, £. 29
Mr. Mattocks, 52 Mr. Turpin and wife, 102
Mr. Crumpton 40 * Mr. Bell, 78
Mr. Grant, 89 Miss Duncan, 185
Mr. Hallion, 78 Mr. Toms, 86
Mr. Young, 139
Those distinguished by asterisks, only joined last winter. Lee, in comedy, is a respectable performer; in seamen he stands unrivalled on our boards. His benefit was singularly unfortunate; the night was ill chosen, and the play not attractive. Bell has been long known as an inferior actor on our stage, as well as in every strolling company in Scotland. In inferior singing parts he is not void of merit: a large family, and a recollection of past services, saved his "Falstaff," (which he absolutely chose for his benefit) from merited damnation.
Miss Duncan's benefit (the Country Wife, and Maria in the Citizen) was the largestever known in Edinburgh. The Liverpool writers may now perhaps find her adapted for something more than " turning the heads of northern critics."* Such opinions are truly characteristic of writers who censure by wholesale, and praise in the gross; wisely avoiding to point out faults, or to discriminate beauties, a task above the reach of many soi-disant criticsof men who can discover this young lady's " feeble high-pitched shrill voice" to unfit her for any musical part in the drama, and very consistently allow her Clorinda, in Robin Hood, to be the best performance of the part ever exhibited before a Liverpool audience. It would be
"waging war with Bedlam, or the mint," to offer to refute the assertion of such critics.
The name of the young debutant alluded to in my last is Robertson. He has performed since but once, though determined to make the stage his profession.
Of the winter company, omitted in my former letter, Mr. Bristowe is the most remarkable. He plays coxcombs and frivolous parts with much applause; he has obtained very just approbation in old men. Notwithstanding a very slender figure, and a still more slender voice, I have no hesitation to pronounce him one of the most promising young actors on the boards. He takes a company to Dundee, during the harvest, composed chiefly of the best of the Edinburgh party.
The company have been in Glasgow since May: with tolerable, and but tolerable success. There Grant left us for ever, and Mr. Young departed tojoin the Liverpool company. To supply this eminent actor's place, a Mr. Willoughby, well known for the last sixteen years, in the Scotish itinerant companies, has been engaged, and performs during the race week in Edinburgh. Till then, though I saw him perform one or two parts in Glasgow, I shall not hazard a decisive opinion upon his merits. He appears to excel in strong declamatory parts, possessing one of the most powerful voices I ever heard on any stage. His great defects are a want of discrimination, and a perpetual violation of the chastity of action. He made two or three appearances fifteen years since, at Edinburgh, as the hero to Mrs. Esten's tragic characters, though, at this distance of time, his exhibitions will possess, at Edinburgh, the attractions of novelty.
16th July, 1803. I am, &c. Jvstus.
'• Vide letters from Liverpool, June, July, August, and September, Monthly Mirror, 1801.
Couit Of King's Bench.—Kirby v. Lewis.—This was an action brought by the plaintiff to recover the sum of fifteen guineas for painting the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, and five guineas for the frame. The defendant's taste led him to have both their portraits painted on the same canvas. The picture was finished and sent home, when the lady did not quite approve of it, and requested some alterations might be made; they were accordingly done; still it was not approved, the lady complaining that her deary's face was hid too much, by an immense high shirt collar, and that she could not pat his cheek, and exhibit all those other symptoms of affection which were so truly characteristic of her general conduct. In short so many frivolous excuses were made, and so many alterations insisted upon, that the plaintiff refused to submit to their caprices.
The picture was then brought into court, and exhibited to the view of the learned judge, and the jury. It represented Mr. Lewis and his fair spouse, seated on a bench, the gentleman with his arm round her waist, apparently breathing forth vows of the most ardent affection, while the lady seemed to devour the soft breathings with the greatest satisfaction. Mr. Garrow observed, that the picture was painted in the beginning of the honeymoon.
Evidence was then called to shew that the painting was exquisitely done, and the price charged not adequate to the merit of the artist.
Sir W. Bcechey proved to the same effect, and stated that a picture of so large a size (being more than half length) required a great deal of study. He said, that his.charge for a similar painting would be 160 guineas. He described the likeness of Mr. Lewis to be very accurate, but not so Mrs. Lewis's, though he admitted that the features taken separately might be known by her friends.
Mr. Gibbs, for the defendant, submitted that the action must be at an end, for, independent of the bad likeness of the originals, the plaintiff h. d entered into a contract with the defendant, that in case either he or his friends did not approve of the picture, it should be returned. «
A young man, shopman to the defendant, who is a linen-draper, in Conduitstreet, Hanover-square, stated that he was present in the shop, when he overheard a conversation to the effect described by Mr. Gibbs, and that the plaintiff replied, that if the defendant and his friends did not like the picture when it was finished, he certainly should not expect him to keep it.
Lord Ellenborough observed, that it was for the jury to determine whether they gave credit to the defendant's shopman, who came to prove the contract.
The jury immediately gave a verdictfor the plaintiff for £ 21.
About six o'clock in the morning, the powder mill at Stobbs, near Arniston, in Scotland, lately blew up with a dreadful explosion. The accident originated in the corning house, and thence to a mill. By this melancholy occurrence three persons have lost their lives, one of whom, we are sorry to say, is Mr. Hunter, a proprietor. At the time the explosion took place, he was on the outside of his garden, with a foot rule and pencil in his hand, going to measure some wood. In a moment a large stone fell upon him, as if from the firmament, struck him