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Little Lord Fauntleroy.

As we predicted wouid be the case, the Oddfellows' Hall was crowded last night to its utmost capacity on the occasion of the production for the first and only time in Ashburton of the dramatised version of C the work of. Mrs Hodgson Burnett, which I has taken a firm hold of the hearts of old and young in every part of the world where the English language is spoken., Little Lord Fauntleroy, Mrs Errol, the Earl of Dorincourt, Mr Hobbs and Dick are as well-known characters as the familiar faces we meet with in every-day life, and for hundreds of thousands of readers of Mrs Burnett's delightful story, they live and move as veritable realities. But while to read is to enter iAto the thoughts and feelings of the Little Lord and his " dearest," to admire the gradual thawing of the gouty misanthropic old nobleman, and to appreciate the quaint humor and genuine honesty .of the republican' grocer' Mr Hobbs;' and ' the' sturdy little boot-black, Dick, to seethem upon the stage is to realise' all this with an added force, while at the same'time it lis like looking upon the faces and forms of old acquaintances. And from first to last the •, was perfect, the cast being precisely the same as at the appearance of the Company in Melbourne, save that the'partof Minna was taken for the first time and at an hour's notice, and that very well too, by Miss Irene Darrell.. The title role, was filled by Miss Gracie Hopkins,' who acted to the life, bringing out' with that consummate art which conceals art the charming naivete, the guileless faith in human nature, the tender affection, the sterling honesty, and the brave manliness which are the delightful traits that, have so endeared Little Lord Fauntleroy to us all; the quiet grace of thetenderself-sacrificing Mrs Errol finding a worthy representative in Miss JEthel Winthrop. Barring the name-part of the piece, which..displayed a marvellous histrionic ability on the partof its child interpreter, the pas must, however, be given to the magnificent impersonation, of Mr Henry Edwards,.whose rendering of the Earl of Dorincourt was a perfect example of dramatic skill of the very highest, order. He not only looked and played the part to a marvel, but more, he was the character—the exact realisation of the creation of the authoress, perhaps a little over-violent in his testihess in the first act, but that was all that the most hypercritical could say in disparagement of what was throughout as fine a piece of acting as we have seen for many a long day. We hear that Mr Edwards is credited with being the foremost Shaksperian actor known to the American stage, and we can well believe it. Mr W. H. Leake, as Mr Havisham; the family lawyer, looked and. played the part admirably, and Mr George Leopold, as Mr Hobbs, was a capital realisation of the original, quaintly amusing and thoroughly reliable in his sterling honesty and firm friendship, albeit so full of republican horror of " them bloodthirsty earls." Master Quealy made a sufficiently impudent devil-may-care bootblack, indebted for his "boss sign" to the liberality of the Little Lord, and eventually, in his gratitude, playing the parb of the mouse in the fable .who released the lion from the meshes of the net that had been cast about him, .while' Miss Darrell gave an excellent interpretation of the part of the loudvoiced, vulgar, brazen-faced, impostor Minna, who would fain pose as Lady Fauntleroy, and foist'her child into the Dorincourt succession. The subsidiary parts of the farmer Higgins, Wilkins the groom, Thomas the statuesque' footman, James and Mary servants, were respectively, creditably filled by Mr E. Glad\l.- w. I .<W* f a- r^n<rTsllss~D6cy Mainwaring, the first-named especially making himself a favorite with the audience. The dressing was perfect, and the staging good, the library scene, for which Gothic scenery and appropriate furniture were specially brought down from Christchurch, particularly so. Altogether the performance was a, thoroughly enjoyable one, and it will long be looked back upon as one of the mosb pleasant memories of the current year. ,

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Bibliographic details

Little Lord Fauntleroy., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2428, 13 May 1890

Word Count

Little Lord Fauntleroy. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2428, 13 May 1890