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the modern stage, we, too, almost begin to cast some longing, lingering looks behind," at the departed swordknots and toupees of the age of Louis XIV. We never saw a play more completely vulgarised in the acting than this. What shall we say of Fawcett, who played Sir Peter Teazle with such formidable breadth of shoulders and strength of lungs? Or to Mrs. Dobbs, who made such a pretty, insipid little rustic of Lady Teazle, showing her teeth like the painted dolls in a peruke-maker's window? Or to Mrs. Gibbs, who converted the delicacy of Mrs. Candour into the coarseness of a barmaid? Or to Mr. Blanchard, whose face looked so red, and his eyes so fierce, in Old Crabtree, and who seemed to have mistaken one of his stable-boys for his nephew, Sir Benjamin? Or (not to speak it profanely) to Mr. Young's Joseph Surface? Never was there a less prepossessing hypocrite. Mr. Young, indeed, puts on a long, disagreeable, whining face, but he does not hide the accomplished, plausible villain beneath it. Jack Palmer 2 was the man. No one ever came so near the idea of what the women call "a fine man." With what an air he trod the stage! With what pomp he handed Lady Teazle to a chair! With what elaborate duplicity he knelt to Maria! Mr. Young ought never to condescend to play comedy, nor aspire to play tragedy. Sentimental pantomime is his forte. Charles Kemble made the best Charles Surface we have seen. He acted this difficult character (difficult because it requires a union of so many requisites, a good face and figure, easy manners, evident good nature, animation and sensibility) in such a way as to make it truly
Played by Tokely.
2 The original Joseph Surface, whose personal character was exactly suited to the part.
interesting and delightful. The only fault we can find with him is, that he was not well dressed. Mrs. Faucit was respectable in Lady Sneerwell. Mr. Terry, as Sir Oliver Surface, wore a great coat with yellow buttons. Mr. Farley, in Trip, had a large bouquet; and why should we refuse to do justice to Mr. Claremont, who was dressed in black? The School for Scandal is one of the best comedies in our language, (a language abounding in good comedies), and it deserves either to be well acted, or not acted at all. The wit is inferior to Congreve's, and the allusions much coarser. Its great excellence is in the invention of comic situations, and the lucky contrast of different characters. The satirical conversation at Lady Sneerwell's is an indifferent imitation of The Way of the World, and Sir Benjamin Backbite a foolish superfluity from the older comedy. He did not need the aid of Mr. Tokeley to make him ridiculous. We have already spoken well of this actor's talents for low humour, but if he wishes to remain on the establishment, we are afraid he must keep in the kitchen.
MRS. ALSOP'S ROSALIND.
Examiner, October 22, 1815.
A LADY of the name of Alsop, a daughter of Mrs. Jordan (by a former husband), has appeared at Covent Garden Theatre, in the character of Rosalind. Not only the circumstance of her relationship to that excellent actress, but the accounts in the papers, raised our curiosity
The scene where the screen falls and discovers Lady Teazle, is without a rival. Perhaps the discovery is delayed rather too long. (W. H.) 2 This is a very charitable way of putting it.
and expectations very high. We were unwillingly disappointed. The truth is, Mrs. Alsop is a very nice little woman, who acts her part very sensibly and cleverly, and with a certain degree of arch humour, but " no more like her mother than we to Hercules." When we say this, we mean no disparagement to this lady's talents, who is a real acquisition to the stage in correct and chaste acting, but simply to prevent comparisons, which can only end in disappointment. Mrs. Alsop would make a better Celia than Rosalind. Mrs. Jordan's excellences were all natural to her. It was not as an actress, but as herself, that she charmed every one. Nature had formed her in her most prodigal humour; and when nature is in the humour to make a woman all that is delightful, she does it most effectually. Mrs. Jordan was the same in all her characters, and inimitable in all of them, because there was no one else like her. Her face, her tones, her manner, were irresistible. Her smile had the effect of sunshine, and her laugh did one good to hear it. Her voice was eloquence itself: it seemed as if her heart was always at her mouth. She was all gaiety, openness, and good-nature. She rioted in her fine animal spirits, and gave more pleasure than any other actress, because she had the greatest spirit of enjoyment in herself. Her Nell-but we will not tantalise ourselves or our readers. Mrs. Alsop has nothing luxurious about her, and Mrs. Jordan was nothing else. Her voice is clear and articulate, but not rich or flowing. In person she is small, and her face is not prepossessing. Her delivery of the speeches was correct and excellent as far as it went, but without much richness or power. Lively good sense is what she really possesses. She also sung the Cuckoo Song very pleasingly.
Charles Kemble made an interesting Orlando. Mr. Young spoke the "Seven Ages" with propriety, and some effect. Mr. Fawcett's Touchstone was decent; and Mrs. Gibbs in Audrey, the very thing itself.
MISS O'NEILL'S ELWINA.
Examiner, November 19, 1815. DURING the last week, Miss O'Neill has condescended to play the character of Elwina, in Miss Hannah More's tragedy of Percy. "Although this production," says a critic in the Times, "like every other of the excellent and enlightened author, affords equal pleasure and instruction in the perusal, we are not sure that it was ever calculated to obtain very eminent success upon the stage. The language is undoubtedly classical and flowing; the sentiment characteristically natural and pure; the fable uninterrupted; the catastrophe mournful; and the moral of unquestionable utility and truth. With all these requisites to dramatic fortune, the tragedy of Percy does not so strongly rivet the attention as some other plays less free from striking faults, and composed by writers of far less distinguished talent. Though the versification be sufficiently musical, and in many passages conspicuous for nerve as well as cadence, there is no splendid burst of imagery, nor lofty strain of poetical inspiration. Taste and intelligence have decked their lines in every grace of sculptured beauty: we miss but the presence of that Promethean fire which could bid the statue 'speak.' It may be objected, moreover, to this drama, that its incidents are too few, and too little diversified. The grand interest which belongs to the unlooked-for preservation of Percy's life is, perhaps, too
soon elicited and expended; and if we mistake not, there is room for doubting whether, at length, he fairly met his death, or was ensnared once more by some unworthy treachery of Douglas. Neither do we think the passions which are called into play by the solemn events of a history so calamitous, have been very minutely traced, intensely coloured, or powerfully illustrated. We have a general impression that Douglas is racked by jealousy, Elwina by grief, and Percy by disappointment. But we fain would have the home touches of Shakespeare."
Thus far the Times critic: from all which it appears that Miss Hannah More is not like Shakespeare. The writer afterwards tries his hand at a comparison between Miss More and Virgil; and the result, after due deliberation, is that Virgil was the wiser man. The part, however, to which the learned commentator has the most decided objection, is that "where Elwina steps out of her way to preach rather a lengthy sermon to her father, against war in general, as offensive to the Prince of Peace." Now if this writer had thought proper, he might have discovered that the whole play is "a lengthy sermon," without poetry or interest, and equally deficient in "sculptured grace, and Promethean fire." We should not have made these remarks, but that the writers in the above paper have a greater knack than any others, of putting a parcel of tall opaque words before them, to blind the eyes of their readers, and hoodwink their own understandings. There is one short word which might be aptly inscribed on its swelling columns-it is the word which Burchell applies to the conversation of some highflown female critics in the "Vicar of Wakefield."
But to have done with this subject. We shall not readily forgive Miss Hannah More's heroine Elwina for