THE AMATEUR DRAMATIC CLUB.
“ BLACK EYED SUSAN.”
It is our pleasant duty to compliment the Amateur Dramatic Club on the success of their representation of “Black-eyed Susan ” on Saturday night, and on the patronage bestowed upon them by the public. The night was happily chosen, as, closing Race Day, it afforded an excellent chance to many strangers to put in a pleasant evening, and at the same time witness what Ashburton could do in amateur theatricals. It was announced the previous evening that Mrs. Hoskins, who had engaged to sustain the part of “ Susan,” would not play, hut that her place would be supplied by Mrs. Tippets, and though regular play-goers may have felt disappointed at the absence of the popular professional actress, and deferred their patronage till the night of her appearance, the immense crowd that thronged the Hall gave unmistakeable proof of their satisfaction with the substitute the Club were fortunate in being able to put forward. We have hitherto onlyknownMrs. Tippetsinlightlivelyparts, in which she showed herself to be the very soul of fun, and we were therefore agreeably surprised to find that her versatility extended so far as to include the power to present very coramendably indeed the somewhat difficult character of Susan. Her entrances were always received with applause, and her acting throughout the piece met with general and hearty approbation from all parts of a thoroughly crowded house. She was well supported by Mr. Jessop, who played the hero of the piece, as near to perfection as it could be expected. Mr. Jessop is very popular, and receives the applause that his fidelity to the characters he assumes so richly deserves. The part of Dolly Mayflower was taken by Miss Hardley at very short notice, for Mrs. Hoskins’ absence had compelled a hasty re-casting of the female parts. Miss Hardley, however, got through her part of Dolly very fairly indeed, and required very little aid from the prompter. Of the other characters, most prominent for excellence was that of Gnvtbrain (Mr. Elston), who was very effective, and made the most of his part, provoking a smile at every turn, and getting at once on good terms with his audience. Captain Crosstree fell to the lot of Mr. Felton, and was in good hands, as the reception it met with showed, while Mr. Poyntz made a very imposing Admiral, and Mr. Henry a smart Lieutenant Pike. Jacob Twig was entrusted to Mr. Vaughan, and the other parts were apportioned as follows :—“ Doggrass,” effectively played by Mr. Cullen ; Raker and Hatchet, by Messrs. Fooks and Tippets ; the subordinate characters of seamen, Ac., by Messrs. Fooks, Cook, Leathara, Leitch, Hardley, Higgins, Tutty, and others. Contributing largely to the success of the piece was the excellent scenery painted by our local painter, Mr. 0. Bourke, whose efforts were rewarded by repeated calls before the curtain as each successive new scene presented itself. His representation of the fleet at anchor in the Downs, was vociferously applauded, as was also a correct picture of East street, Ashburton, which did duty has a drop. He contrived, too, to introduce a little joke into his picture of a street in Deal, by placing the name of a local hairdresser over a shop from the door of which projected the inevitable “pole.” Altogether Mr. Bourke is a valuable aid to the Club, who would he tame indeed without the aid of his facile brush.
The afterpiece was the farce of “ John Smith,’'’ in which Mrs. Tippets, Miss Hardley, Messrs Poyntz, Jossop. Felton, Fooks, and, of course, Elston, took part. From beginning to end the amusing situations, and comic contretemps “ fetched ” the audience, who left at the close in the highest good humor. Nor, must we, in closing our notice of the performance, forget to mention how much of its success is due to the painstaking management of Mr. Jacobson, whose prompting on Saturday was not obtrusive, and his guidance kept the two pieces in the even tenor of their way Avithout the slightest hitch of any kind—barring one, and that Avas most unfortunate. The gas Avent out at the close of one of the acts, and for a feAV minutes the Avhole building Avas in darkness. Some truer hand had better be put in charge of the taps. Wc Avould suggest, too, Sergeant Warring, or some other lusty armed constable should be stationed in the open of the Hal!, Avith a roving commission to use his riding whip amongst the young larrikins Avhose loud and unrehearsed “ asides ” Averc not an enjoyable part of the performance to respectable people, even if great louts from the country avlio know no better encouraged the young imps in their larrikinism.
The pieces will be repeated on Friday, with Mrs Hoskins playing the part of Susan.
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