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'THE UNION JACK.', Issue 7995, 26 August 1889
'THE UNION JACK.'
Once more we have the pleasant privilego of welcoming among us Mr Bland Holt, a gentleman who has visited us with dramatic companies more than once before, and who has invariably left agreeable recollections behind him. On the present occasion he, with his usual laudable purpose of giving his patrons tho latest novelties in the theatrical world, has brought with him several new plays, and the season opened on Saturday night with 'The Union Jack.' This work, which is the joint production of those successful playwrights Henry Pettitt and Sydney Grundy, is rightly described as a military and naval drama, for both arms of " tho servico" supply representatives to tho list of drdmatis pefsotKk, and military and naval scenes in about equal proportions supply opportunities for the development of the plot. With regard to this said plot we need not make much remark, for it will have been gathered from the outline of it which we gave in our last issue that while affording ample scope for startling situations and its consequent highly-dramatic effect there is I nothing of the ultra-sensational and therefore I practically nothing unreasonable about it, I Then, again, the comedy element has not been ! neglected ; on the other hand it has received quite its full share of attention, the outcome being that we have a play in which legitimate and spirited dramatic action and genuine comic humor are nicely balanced. With theao properties, carried out as they are by one of Mr Holt's customarily powerful companies, and supplemented by admirably designed scenic effects, there is little cause for wonder that 'The- Union Jack' finds great favor with theatre - goers, and from the reception accorded it on Saturday wo should judge that it would draw through the whole of the present season if Mr Holt were not pledged to give us other pieces during his short stay here. While mentioning the scenery, wo may say that it iB all brought with the company, and that it is the work of Mr George Gordon, an artist who is particularly well known in the colonies for his clever and attractive scenic contrivances. There were a few slight hitches in the working of some of the more complicated sets on Saturday, but that was only to be expected on a first night, and everything will doubtless work smoothly this evening. Among the several good bits of stage fitting the toll-gate and snow-avenue scene is worthy of special praise, the illusion being perfect, and tho general effect even heightened by the exciting meeting between the principal characters that takes place there. Coming to the cast we may say that Mr Holt in the part of tho man-o'<war's man, Peter Fly, appeaiß in a guUo tKat is new to us.jbut none tho less enjoyable for that, for the character is one full of fun and spirit, and Mr Holt docs full justice to these attractive qualities. His scenes with his sweetheart Polly and her other follower, Tom Chucklo, aro exceedingly funny, and naturally made tho audience roar with laughter. The coquettish Miss Polly Pippin, by the way, was played in a highly attractive way by Miss Virginie Vivienne, whose mirthful animation was quite exuberant; while Mr Leonard St Lawrence as her unsuccessful though importunatesoldier-loverTomentered thoroughly into the spirit of his part and assisted greatly in keeping the merriment from flagging. The persecuted hero of the piece is a naval officer, Jack Medway by name, and he found an excellent representative in Mr Walter Howe, the requisite amount of open manliness being infused into his acting, together with a judiciously not over-strained modicum of deep feeling in the troublous passages of his career. His sister Ruth was played with exquisite grace and sympathetic taste by Miss Alice Deorwyn. Sir Philip Yorke, an army contractor of particularly shady character, and who has a great deal to do with Jack Medway's misfortunes, was capitally represented by Mr Charles Holloway, while the prime villain, Captain Morton, was also in good hands when entrusted to Mr Albert Norman. Sir Philip's two wards—Ethel and Ivy Ardcn—could not well have found better delineators than Miss Blanche Lewis and Mrs Bland Holt respectively, both ladies evincing an excellent taste for light comedy, and the former evincing abo a considerable amount of dramatic power. As Lieutenant Stanley, who in his friendship for Jack Medway gets into some rather awkward predicaments, Mr IT. K. Roberts did very good work, and his servant, Tim O'Grady, found exactly the right sort of impersonator in Mr H. Overton. Mr H. Norman had not a great deal to do as Sir Philip's valet. Miss Carrie George made the most of a humorous old woman's part, and the remaining characters were all satisfactorily filled. 'The Union Jack' will of course be repeated till further notice.
'THE UNION JACK.', Issue 7995, 26 August 1889
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