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DRAMATIC GOSSIP.

[By Orpheus.]

"~The Napier Amateurs produced "The Mikado "—good old Mikado—on the 18th inst and three following nights. My correspondent sends mc a graphic account of the first performance, which I am compelled to boil down. I gather that Mrs Sheath as Yum Yum was the success of the piece, while the numerous encores to the various songs showed that the performers highly pleased their audience. The cast was as follows :—Yum Yum, Mrs Sheath ; Katisha, Miss Hitchings; Pitti Sins, Miss Roy; Peep 80, Miss Bendall; KoKo, Mr Pritchard; Pooh Bah, Mr Aplin; Pish Tu«*h, Mr S. R. Kennedy; The Mikado, Mr F. Kennedy; Nanki Poo, Mr Finch. The dresses were very tasteful, and the scenery excellent. From a private letter received from Melbourne I learn that Mr Martin Simonßen intends bringing accompany to New Zealand at an early date. The letter does not state the nature of the company, but we will hope it may prove operatic No doubt the successful season recently concluded by Mr Geo. Darrell in the South Island of New Zealand induced Mr Vivian to bring his Melbourne Opera House Dramatic Company to our shores. That the playgoers of this colony are fond of sensational drama has been proved over and over again, and a really good drama of this description ie sure to meet with crowded houses. Mr Arthur Vivian is no stranger to New Zealand, although it is some twelve years since he was here last. Since that time he has visited America, India, and England, and knowing the requirements of the colony, always kept his eyes open for good taking pieces of which he has now a strong repertoire. For the past year or so Mr Vivian has played long seasons in Melbourne. Adelaide, Tasmania, and many of the smaller towns of Victoria and New South Wales and always met with good success. I hope that his present venture will also prove profitable, and that he will be induced to come again. The company consists of fifteen artists, many well and favourably known in New Zealand, and amoncr whom may be mentioned Marie Wilton, Mr W. G. Carey, Harry Jerdan, Newton Griffiths, and Helen and Arthur Vivian. They commenced their New Zealand tour at Abbott's Opera House, Auckland, on Saturday last, with the sensational drama of " Current Cash," which, according to the New Zealand Herald, was most effectively staged, and the character well maintained by the various members of the company. Although looking a long way ahead, it may be mentioned that the company are booked to open at the Theatre Royal, Christchurch, on the Queen's Birthday.

The following were the bills of fare at the various Melbourne theatres on Saturday night, 16th inst :— Bijou—Broush and Boncicault's Company in "My Milliner's Bill" and " Mamma."

Theatre Royal—Bland Holt in "The Union Jack." Princess's—"Erminie " and "Charity." Opera House—Mr Geo. C. Miln in "Richard the Third."

St. George's Hall—Hicks-Sawyer Minstrels. Athenaeum—Mr Frank Lincoln. Victoria Hall—Variety Company. Alexandra Theatre —Miss May Holfc in " Every Man for Himself." Mr Geo. G. Miln produced "Richard the Third " before a brilliant house at the Opera House on Saturday night. Mr Miln acquitted himself well throughout, and the large audience followed the course of the drama with unwavering, attention and .sustained interest, greeting every good point with enthusiastic' applause. The star's company backed him up well, and the Argus pronounces the affair a genuine success. The cast included Miss Isabel Morris as Lady Anne, Miss Juno as Elizabeth, Miss Kate Douglas, Duchess of York, Misses Belle Russell and Daisy Chester as the Princes, J. F. Cathcaxtas HenryjVl, H. N. Douglas as Richmond. The pantomime at the Royal came to an end on Friday (15th in«t), and on Saturday Bland HoltproducedPettitt andGrundy's play " The Union Jack." The piece Itself met with very rough treatment at the hands of the Age, which remarked that it possessed few, if any, of the merits, and presented all the crudities and vicious suggestiveness, of melodrama. The Argus lets it down easier, but admits that the first three acts are dull. A new face was that of Mr "Wilmot Eyre, who is just out from Home under engagement to the great triumvirate, but is filling up the time with Bland Holt. The rest of the cast includes Miss Kate Bishop (the first time she has played in Melbourne for two year), Mrs Bland Holt, Misses Blanche Lewis, Emma Chambers, Messrs Holt, Norman, Chas. Holloway and W. Howe. The scenery is very good. A number of soldiers and sailors were put through their drill at Aldershot Camp and on board a man-of-war respectively, and additional realism was added by the introduction of a spirited pony driven in a dogcart through a tollgate and enow-carpeted forest track. " Erminie" and Cellier's musical proverb "Charity begins at Home," took the place of VPepita" on Saturday. Miss Nellie Stewart has not yet recovered sufficiently to return to the boards, and her place In he former opera was filled by Mies Fanny Liddiard. The members of the company are the same as heretofore. The other theatres are all being more or less satisfactorily filled. Harry St» Maur -and his company have returned to Melbourne. The Lynch Bellringers are still touring through Southwestern Victoria, and the M'MahonLeitch crowd have been playing Ballarat successfully. " Hans the Boatman " is at Adelaide. Grattan Biggs, with a powerful company, is playing at Albury and [adjacent towns. Dampier proposes to revive shortly in Melbourne his system of devoting Friday night to Shakespeare, adopted with so much success in Sydney. The triumvirate intend sending the Theatre Royal pantomime company and all the necessary scenery and paraphernalia to Sydney for a season. A Melbourne exchange ventures the suggestion that perhaps Sydneyites will not rush to see Melbourne s leavings, especially as the season for pantomime is a long way past The Melbourne Leidertafel consists of 662 non-performing members, 131 performing members, and 19 honorary members. At the recent twenty-first annual meeting Mr F. H. Cowen was elected an honorary member. The provincial committee of the projected Victorian Orchestra has been reinforced by a committee of ladies, including among others many well-known professional artists, and several meetings have been held. The result is so far satisfactory, the additional sum of £700 In guarantees and subscriptions having been obtained since last week. It has been determined to establish a fourth class of sub- : Bcription, granting to subscribers of five guineas sixty tickets, available in any number, and for any concerts throughout the year. I see the Leader notices George Darrell's I success in this Colony, and says that prosperity seems to be once more in store for Slaoriland. Let us hope that managers I over on the other side will pick up heart. They should remember that the early bird gets the worm, and therefore lose no time in giving us a chance of showingfchafc with increased prosperity comes an increased capacity for enjoyment. Recent news from South Africa conveys Intelligence of the continued success of the Luscombe-Searelle Opera Company. Mr Searelle himself had left for London tor thepurpoeeof procuring freshnovelties, leaving Mr Veraon Beid acting-manager.

In Sydney the following pieces were being played at the several theatres on Saturday, 16th last:Theatre Royal—Mr Charles Warner in "The Streets of London." Criterion—" Betsy," by Broogh and Boudcaulfs Ckmeoj Company. Her Majes^s—"Vendetta," by George fiisnold and Company. The Italian Opera Company succumbed to (faring the. week. "Diseension among themselves caused them to decline Mr Rignold'e offer of the use of his theatre for a matinee, after he had gone to the trouble of having bills and. tickets printed.

" Betsy " was keptjon the boards of the Criterion all the week by uuiversal request. "The Glass of Fashion" was to be prodaced on last Saturday. Mr Chas. Warner produced on Saturday, for the first time in Australia, " The Streets of London,* , as played by him at the Princess and Adelphl Theatres. London. Mr Warner takes his old part of Badger, and it is said to be an interesting novelty, though the other characters are well known to all theatre-goers. The play is said to be slow, though helped by some fine scenery by Gordon, and by the introduction of a "fire-engine 0 scene, which with its horses and helmeted firemen should draw the crowds who admire spec_ tacular effect. The cast includes Messrs Oily Deerinjr, H.Flemming, H.H. Vincent* and A. Phillips. Misses Grade Warnert Ada Ward, and Mrs Sydney. "

Mr Cellier'e new comic opera, which •will succeed "Dorothy" at the Lyric Theatre, is upon an old English subject. It originally bore the title of " Barbara," but it is now proposed to call it " Dorcas. In speaking of Mrs Brown-Potter's appearance as Cleopatra at Palmer's Theatre, New York, oar local correspondent says: "Mrs Potter's costume was a little startling. Short skirts .of a gauzy material disclosed limbs of rather pretty outline bat of not too solid and material a nature. The costume savoured more of the burlesque stage than of tragic boards, and not a little snrprise was felt at the exhibition. This surprise was farther heightened by the action of the lady in the death scene. The text makes Cleopatra liken the asp -which she is about to put to her bosom to a babe that suckles its nurse to death, and the audience were made to realise the point of the simile by Mrs Potter almost tearing open the entire front of her dress. Since the opening night this has been remedied, and it is now explained that the actress was suffering from nervousness, and in her excitement hardly knew what she was doing," ■ It may seem strange to say it, but it is the fact nevertheless (says the Argus London Gossipper) that Mr Farini, who is at his moment touring among you in Australia with "Professor" Baldwin, gave a dinner in London on Friday last. The bulk of the gvlests consisted of the musichall proprietors of the United Kingdom, and the chair was occupied by Mr R. "Warner, Mr Parini'3 partner In the great " variety " agency of which they are the joint owners. "Our absent host" was drunk as a toast with all the honours. The dinner, which was of the best kind that cooks provide, was given in what is perhaps the most beautiful public diningroom in the world, the Venetian-hall of the Holborn Restaurant. Besides the music-hall proprietors and the pick of Farini and Warner's clientele, there was a sprinkling of men of distinction and men about town —the two latter classes being provided en bloc by that strange being '* Broadley Pasha," whilom the defender of Arabi—who, amongst many avocations, acts as a sort of social broker "for bringing together people who would not otherwise meet," as the phrase goes. Of course, no hint was given in the flowing speeches of the evening as to how it was that the banquet had come to be graced with its noble, learned, artistic, and legislative fringe. Mr Warner spoke of his guests with overflowing affection as If he nad known them from childhood. " Gentlemen," he said, " I see before mc almost every music-hall proprietor in the United Kingdom. And there are other gentlemen here, also, who are not music-hall proprietors, and whom I thank for coming here tonight to testify to that friendship for mc and my partner which has so long eubeisted between us." Here the men of the world bowed gravely, and drank to " the music-hall element, and "the music-hall element" bowed and drank in response, Before entering the ball, not one in ten of the above-mentioned " fringe" had an idea who Farini and Warner were, or why they had been invited. But London is a strange place. Many worthy people starve there; but many others less worthy, and with no better claim on humanity, can feed like princes all the year round and never be asked to pay. The "variety Agency of Farini and Warner is the greatest of its kind In the world. It is these two who supply the places of entertainment on the continent with English acrobats and ballet girls. Their place of business is also the great centre and exchange of the variety talent for the United Kingdom itself. They have over sixteen hundred clients on their books, and all that Is beet in the business offers itself first to them. In his speech after dinner, Mr Warner waxed eloquent on the burning question — the question which agitates every industry in the world —of the exorbitant share which labour demands from capital of the takings which result from their joint exertion. He described his sufferings at the hands of indignant beauty and athletic man, and he found a ready response in the hearts of his audience. There was another side to the story, but if the crack " entertainers," who sat among the sruests, knew that other story, they wisely held their peace. Talking about the demands of artistes, it may be mentioned that amongst the numerous duties of "Broadley Pasha" is that of acting as financial and business adviser to the great Augustus Harris, " C.C." (County Councillor, London). Mr Harris is pre-eminently susceptible to the dominating power of Woman ; and this peculiarity he found of almost ruinous disadvantage to. him when first he took up the business of an imjjressario of opera in addition to that of theatrical manager. Against the wiles and graces of the British chorus-girl he had come to be proof by long habit, but when he was brought in contract with the prima donna he was near to hia undoing. However, Broadley Pasha came to the rescue. In Augustus Harris's business-room, there was a big screen, and a very big screen ib was, for it sufficed to conceal the Falstaffian proportions of Broadley, who was wont to be occupied in writing at a table behind it. Up to the table occupied by Augustus Harris himself would march the prima- donna in all the majesty of a Worth costume, and demand a salary of £50 a week, with the same brusquerie of manner that Bismarck uses when he demands a big colonial credit from his Reichstadt. Harris would parley; the prima donna would at first be indignant—then plaintive, and finally tearful—at which point the impressario would surrender and agree, unconditionally, to the £50 a week. But this was Broadley's cue to come on. " What I" he would exclaim ("speaking without," as they say in stage directions) —•" What I £50 a week; never! (here he would " enter,") I will not see Mr Harris robbed 1" And with this he would bring his heavy hand down on the table, and glare through his gold spectacles at the terrified fair one. Then the controversy would all begin again, Broadley roaghly .gauging the prima donna's services at a weekly value of £10, and the latter defending as best she could her claim for the £50. In the end Harris would inte*-vene and suggest £25 or £30, to which the ■ prima donna would agree, tearfully and reluctantly—but still would agree—lest a -worse thing should happen to ner. Thu9 Harris would to some ' extent save his pocket, whilst at the earn* time posing as the friend of beauty in distress. And as for Broadley, he would draw off slowly behind the screen, to resume his paragraphing labours, mattering something about Mr Harris not knowing who were his true friends—and co the tragi-comedy -would end. Broadley, who Iβ a good soul, though a " business man," would salve the beauty's wounds by a couple of flattering paragraphs in a paper, and perhaps a place at an exquisite dej£wn*r or dinner at a new hotel.

Theatrical managers have a varied experience of fortune's favours, but musichall proprietors seem uniformly "warm" men in a money point of view. This arises from the fact that there are in every town rather fewer music-halls than are needed. There is an idea that music-halls are demoralising, and it is an idea which music-hall proprietors are by no means careful to refute, because they know that its existence operates on the magisterial mind in refusing to license new and rival ventures. If by any accident a music-hall is not paying, the proprietor can always sell it to a company, and* he generally spends the purchase money in running a rival establishment.

A cablegram dated March 20th, says:— It has been ascertained that Miss Mary Anderson is suffering from an affection of the brain, and the disease having taken a torn for the worse she has been placed in a private asylum for the insane. Her dramatic company has been

Miss Jennie Watt-Tanner, a well-known Anstralian.actress, has made a successful appearance at Terry's Tbeatre.

Thos " Rapier" in tbe latent number of the BporHrtg and Dramatic:—"Oh Thursday night, February 7th, Mr Lionel B rough played " Tony Lumpkin " for the 646 th time, and as the more playgoers see it the more they want to see U again, I doubt thas this 4elighkfully rich, buoyant, and humorous study win reaeb its thousandth performance. The fatare atageMstorian will be apt to fall into the error of stating that Mr Brongh was first ewme Tony at the St. James's Theatre in

1869 ; bat as a matter of fact he played the part at Birkenhead in 1864 for three nights, under the management of the late Mr Alexander Henderson, with a company which subsequently provided not a few lights of the London stage. This was the end of the period when .stock companies were found in important provincial towns, and I remember Mr Brough telling mc that during the week in which he first played Tony Lumpkin he also studied and played for the first time, in addition to the character with which his name is now chiefly associated, item Bob Acres, item Aminadab Sleek, item three leading characters of farces. It was thus that the provincial actor was 'worked in days of yore, though the modern player has also his hard nuta to crack, and, by the way, Mr Brough's son—one of the brightest and cleverest of the new generation of actors —had last week to emulate bis father's diligence, for On Friday he undertook to follow Mr Hare as theheroof" Mamma," sat up till half past seven on Saturday morning studying his hardest, and, as I am Informed, played with admirable force and humour twice on Saturday, afternoon and evening. Mr Hare h*a told mc that this is one of the most physically exacting characters he has ever filled, so Mr Sydney Brough's feat merits recognition.

" I have wandered a little from the subject of Tony, however. Meeting Mr Brough the other day, it occurred to mo to ask him who in his opinion were the best representatives of the other characters with whom he had been associated. Miss Ellen Terry once played Miss Hardcastle for a benefit, and "it was very sweet," Tony says, but of course she had not got into the way of the " business. " Altogether he thinks that Miss Kate Vaughan ie the best Miss Hardcastle that he ever knew, though there is a sort of saving clause in favour of what Miss Terry must have become. His first Miss Hardcastle, Miss Herbert (barring the Birkenhead affair), does not seem to have left very much impression. Amongst his Young Marions is included Mr w. Farren, who for so many years past has been playing the Mr Hardcastles, Sir Peter Teazles, Sir Anthony Absolutes, and so on. Of Hardcastles he is inclined to prefer the American actor Mr Mark Smith (he it was, if I am not mistaken, who sang the extraordinarily popular song, " Oh, where, oh, where, is my little wee dog," in " Pocahontas)." Miss Carlotta Leclercq, who lately played Tony's mother for some three nights, seemed likely to advance at one jump to the first place in the front rank of Mrs Hardcastles, though here again is a saving clause for Mrs Stirling. I am inclined to doubt whether any previous comedian has ever played Tony Lumpkin so often and so well as Mr Lionel Brough."

Says a London correspondent: — " The world of music has sustained a grievous loss in the death of Dr. Hueffer, the musical critic of the Times, at the early age of 43. This is not the place to speak of Dr. Htteffer's technical writings, which are familiar to all students of music I would chiefly note his absolute abhorrence of any attempt to influence his critical judgment, or impair his integrity by social flattery or attention. So solemn was his sense of the responsibilities attaching to his position that he withdrew more and more from society, refusing the company of all but old and trusted friends, and absolutely declining to meet in society those artiste on whose claims it would be afterwards his duty to sit in judgment for the first time. The Times has not always been so fortunate as regards the integrity of individual critics and contributors, and it highly prized the incorruptible scholar of whose services it has been thus deprived untimely.

" The chief event of the fortnight in the theatrical world has been the revival at the Criterion Theatre of Tom Taylor's " Still Waters Run Deep." The house has been sumptuously decorated in amber, and the play is the occasion for the display of several masterpieces of YA>rth's art on the backs of Miss Mary Moore and Mrs Bernard Beere. It also affords a fresh instance of the maxim that every comedian believes in his heart that nature meant him to be an emotional hero. Sothern was imbued with the fallacy as, is Toole. So, too, is Wyndham. He has taken a part as John Mildmay, in which all hie attraction is under an extinguisher, but still the play draws and will draw. It is all very beautiful, and the atmosphere is as cool and pleasant as the electric light and scientific ventilation can make it. The audience and the actors know one another, and to watch the stalls is a liberal education Iα itself. But the affair must be a disappointing one for outsiders thirsting for dramatic instruction.

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Bibliographic details

DRAMATIC GOSSIP., Press, Volume XLVI, Issue 7274, 2 April 1889

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3,683

DRAMATIC GOSSIP. Press, Volume XLVI, Issue 7274, 2 April 1889

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