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The opening performance of Mr Willmott’s dramatic combination drew a house to the Town Hall last evening. The curtain rose on the old favorite.

“ Hia Last Legs,” in which Mr John Hesford sustained the character of the readywitted impecunious O’Callaghan, and kept the audience in roars of laughter at Jiiß. cool assurance, his wonderful aptitude for getting out of scrapes, and his love of fun which never deserts him, no matter how harsljly fortune may frown. The character is not an easy one, but Mr Hesford’s heart was evidently in his work, and he may be congratulated on a very excellent pourtrayal. Of course the Irishman monopolised the lion’s share of the attention, for the comedy is essentially a “ one part ” piece, but nevertheless Mr A. Herman as Charles Rivers did good service, and made tho most of the character. As Mr Rivera senior, Mr Frank S. Simmonds hardly looked at home as the rather venerable gentleman he was intended to represent. The im' o-up was good, so far as it went, but it might have been more artistic, and the voice was scarcely in keeping with the age of the character. Our old friend Mr James Wilkinson had a very small part in Dr Banks, but contrived to make it as conspicuous as possible. Tho character, however, does not afford much scope for the fun of which the actor possesses such an inexhaustible store. Coming to the ladies (and we really beg their pardon—they should have come first) we have very little to say, for they had very little to do. That little, - however, they did well. At the conclusion of the piece, and after Mr Hesford as the redoubtable O’Callaghan had repeated the customary “tag,” the applause was loud and long, and there is no doubt that the comedy made a most favor able impression. After a brief interval the curtain rose on the burlesque of “ Cinderella, or the Lover and the Little Slipper,” which was full of fun, songs, puns, dances, and absurdities. Miss Amy Johns made a charming Prince Poppetti, and sang and acted with all her usual abandon, her song “My Bright Guiding Star ” and the song and dance “ My own Sweet Violet” being particularly well-received and indeed loudly encored. Miss Louise Crawford appeared to great advantage as Dandina, and her rendering of Guglielino’s pretty song “The Lover and the Bird ” was very sweetly rendered, and met with an encore that was not to bo denied. Miss Amy Nelson, as the despised Cinderella, looked pretty and sang prettily, although her vmce is not very strong, and the other young ladies had very little to do but look as captivating as possible—which of course they did. As Cinderella’s two elder sisters Messrs James Wilkinson and Frank Simmonds were very good indeed. Here the former had abundant scope for “ being funny," and funny he certainly was. Mr Simmonds’ make-up as the spiteful and old-maidish Thisbe was excellent ; and Mr Hesford’s Baron Balderdash was a capital impersonation. The remaining characters do not call for special mention. We must not omit to mention that Herr Webber presided at the piano, and gave every satisfaction, and that the Company played with their own scenery—a welcome relief to the Ashburton play-go r, long familiarised with the stock scenes at the Hall. To-night the company will appear again in “ Struck Oil,” the piece rendered world-famous by Mr Williamson and Miss Magge iVtoore. “Struck’ Oil” is well worth seeing, and as it may be many a long day before the people of Ashburton have an opportunity of seeing it again, we would recommend them to avail themselves of this opportunity. Tomorrow night the company play for the benefit of the Library, when we believe the bill of fare will comprise Hawes Craven’s sparkling li tie comedy “Milky White ” and the favorite burlesque of Aladdin, or the Wonderful Scamp.”

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Bibliographic details

DRAMATIC., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 787, 7 November 1882

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DRAMATIC. Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 787, 7 November 1882

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