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Last night at the Town Hall the members of the Ashburton Amateur Dramatic Club made their bow in what the programme called “ Pocook’a grand melo-drama.” We have seen “ Pocock’s grand melo-drama ” under more favorable circumstances as regards scenery and stage accommodation than last night, and could not then discover much that was “grand” about it; but it is said that from the sublime to the ridiculous is but one step, and so We are quite willing to believe that the “ Miller and His Men” comes very close to the sublime. The drama is one of the old-fashioned “ blood-and-thunder” type, in which there is a very bad man of no particular age, a very good young man, a maiden in distress (with whom the good young man is of course in love), a sentimental old man (who is the father of the maiden in distress), a count (who seems to have been introduced for no earthly purpose except to look as much like a fish out of water as we should imagine it possible for a gentleman in his exalted pasition to look), a lady who, it would appear, had been naughty enough to ; become the mistress of the bad man (and who was one of the principal agents in that bad man’s downfall), a few robbers or millers, and the inevitable funny man. Mr Cullen played the very bad man of last night, and excepting a rather imperfect acquaintance with his author, got through very well. Perhaps Mr Cullen thought that the language which the author had put into his mouth was of so little account that the less said of it the better, and we are not quite sure he was wrong. Mr Jessop played the very good young man, and played with a vigor and freedom from restraint worthy of a better part, and we presume and trust he was at last happy with the girl of his choice, although as to that Mr Pocock left us altogether in the dark. The maiden in distress was represented by “a lady amateur” —a lady whose face is familiar at these entertainments —and whose portrayal of the various characters allotted her has always been far above the level of an ordinary amateur. But we think the dreary nature of the production in which she was last night called upon to take part must have had a depressing effect upon even her spirits, and, although she did her beat to infuse some little “ go ” into the various scenes in which she was engaged, her efforts cannot be said to have been very successful. Mr Tippets, as the sentimental old man, looked as uncomfortable and played as stiffly as sentimental old men in melodramas usually do look and play. Mr P. A. Yaughan did not make a very dis-tinguished-looking Count Priberg. He had but little to do except to look and act lugubriously as a foil to the funny man, and that little he did fairly well. Another lady who was also styled “ a lady amateur ” —and whose face was familiarplayed the mistress of the bad man, and she played the part quite as well as it deserved to be played. Mr Elston was of course the funny man of the play, and did what he had to do right well. Of banditti we are free to confess we have had no experience, but if the gentlemen who impersonated the banditti last night are to be taken as typical of the profession, we do not think banditti are such terrible fellows after all. Mr Bourk deserves a word of praise for his scenery, the set in the first act—the distant view of the mill—being especially worthy of mention. Mr H. Morris played the overtures and music incidental to the drama in very good style. The attendance was not very large, but doubtless to-night, when the performance will be repeated, the amateurs will be greeted with a better house, many possibly preferring to wait for the second representation, when any little shortcomings will no doubt be rectified and removed. AU those of our

readers who have si taiste for “ thrilling ” situations, without troubling themselves much about the probabilities, ought to paly the Town Hall a visit to-night.

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Bibliographic details

“THE MILLER AND HIS MEN.", Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 507, 13 December 1881

Word Count

“THE MILLER AND HIS MEN." Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 507, 13 December 1881