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THE WARNER THEATRICAL COMPANY., Issue 8044, 22 October 1889
THE WARNER THEATRICAL COMPANY.
When a leading actor come 3 all the way to the Antipodes to instruct and amuse us with examples of the higher degrees of his art according to the latest developments at headquarters, it may seem unbecoming to find fault with his selection of plays, and we recognise that one should even be chary about hampering him with too many suggestions. Our function is rather to thankfully receive the favors as they are bestowed, knowing that the man who is deserving of a reputation will not submit anything but what is worthy of being produced. Holding these views, it is with extreme reluctance that we advance the opinion that Mr Warner is standing in his own light in putting forward a play such as ' It's Never Too Late to Mend.' It is an ordinary realistic drama that to us has not even the recommendation of being a novelty, and the only reason that we can suppose induced Mr Warner to produce it is that it affords him another opportunity of displaying the manysidedness of his ability. There may have been those among the audience to whom Mr Warner's versatility was not previously fully proved —to such this performance would be a pleasant surprise ; but these persons must have constituted a small minority, and, speaking on behalf of the regular theatre goers, and those who diligently read the daily news, we may state that such a test waß hardly required. We are—and were beforehand—fully satisfied that Mr Warner is what is termed an "all round man," weak at no point, and though of course pleased with his impersonation of the repentant thief Tom Robinson, we could [not but think that a much greater treat would have been afforded in a fresher and a better character. The people here are hungering and thirsting for more representations of the Farmer Allan grade, and it is with some impatience that they meanwhile receive an impersonation which gives but limited opportunities to this great actor. At the same time, it must be conceded that Tom Robinson ia an unsatisfactory part only as compared with other parts that Mr Warner has studied. On its merits it is unquestionably clever in conception and execution, liew actors could achieve the feat of convulsing an audience with merriment at the one moment and the very next moment causing them to feel for their handkerchiefs. This was actually done last night, in the second act, where Robinson's cockney capers in his cell are alternated with the bitterest grief on being confronted with the threat of torture. This was a capital piece of acting, and none but a past-master in his profession could have so safely and expeditiously crossed the dividing line between pantomime and pathos. A lesser actor would have been "guyed" when trying to assume the tearful. Miss Warner was cast as Josephs, the boy who, for stealing potatoes from a field, is cast into the model prison, and made to endure to the limit of death the tortures inflicted under the silent system. This young lady's acting gave one the idea that she did not feel comfortable in boy's attire, but it must be said that she fought heroically against the difficulty, and gave the audience a vivid and artistic rendering of the part, especially in the scene wherein she—evidently a "she" all along—was relieved from the jacketby Robinson's intervention. Mr Stewart was well suited as George Fielding; it is a part somewhat akin to that which he sustains in * Dora,' and it was largely owing to his exceptionally good acting that some of the scenes went so well. Mr Hambro doubled as John Meadowß and Parson Eden, and in both characters proved himself a capable actor. Mr Stephenson was rather stagy in his impersonation of the Jew, Isaac Levi; but what else could he do ?it was the fault of the part itself, Jacky Jacky, the Australian aboriginal, was very amusingly played by Mr Oily Deering, who has, we suspect, made a study from life. Mr Phillips's notion of the part of Peter Crawley might have been improved on in some respects, but he was certainly funny at times. Mr Seaton was cast as William Fielding, Mr West was in his element as the brutal Mr Hawes, and the rest of the characters were well sustained, especially that of Susan Merton, which was entrusted to that conscientious and graceful actress Miss Deorwyn. The scenery was very good, especially that showing the interior of the prison, while the real waterfall in the third act was nicely arranged. ■ It's Never Too Late to Mend ' will be repeated this evening. A train to Mosgiel will leave the station after the performance.
THE WARNER THEATRICAL COMPANY., Issue 8044, 22 October 1889
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