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THE WARNER SEASON.

Another change of programme was submitted at the Princess's last evening, ' Captain Swift,' the production of Mr Haddon Chambers, a colonial playwright, being presented for the first time in New Zealand. We have been told that this play has not been received with marked favor throughout Australia, and possibly Mr Warner had some misgivings as to its success here, otherwise it is difficult to imagine why its production has been delayed till the close of the season, and when time would only permit of one performance being given. Having witnessed • Captain Swift,' we have no hesitation in assigning it a foremost place among the domestic dramas that have been produced in Dunedin—and with a vivid recollection of 'Jim the Penman' fresh in our memories and venture to think that this opinion will be emphatically endorsed by last night's large audience, who proved themselves deeply absorbed in the piece. ' Captain Swift' is essentially a domestic drama—the incidents are sucJb that may occur in everyday life. There is no undue straining after effect, no clap-trap spoken, and no exciting tableaux to be worked up ; indeed, one of the most striking situations is when the ourtain falls on Swift's simple exclamation, "My God," on his discovery of his foster-brother under the same roof with himself. Though Mr Warner appears in the character of an Australian bushranger, the whole of the incidents are enacted in London, and there are no exciting situations showing the habits of the bushrangers in the backwoods of Australia. The curtain rises on a scene in the drawing room of Mrs Seabrook, where we find her daughter, Mabel, and niece, Stella Derbyshire, discussing the latest acquisition to their society, a Mr Wilding, who has just returned from Queensland'and has obtained an qnlree into the house in consequence of his haying saved the life of its head, Mr Seabrook, in a cab accident. At the same time there returns from Queensland a squatter named Gardener, who is engaged to Miss Seabrook. This person had some years before been stuck up by Captain Swift, an Australian bushranger of repute, who had succeeded in baffling the police, and he almost immediately suspects Wilding as Swift in disguise. By constantly referring to Swift and to bushranging the Queensland squatter lays a trap for Wilding, who finally confesses his identity. He also proves to be the illegitimate { child of Mrs Seabrook, his father having died before his mothei's marriage was consummated. This fact is, however, kept secret, and is not disclosed save to Wilding himself. A Queensland detective gets on Wilding's sqent in London, when, to save himselrfrom being taken alive and to screen his mother from the disgrace of an exposure which would follow, he effects the nappy despatch. Such is the merest outline of the play. Mr Warner, as Wilding, had a character entirely dissimilar to any that he baa

hitherto appeared in during the company's short stay in Dunedin, and it speaks volumes for his versatility that he scored so great a success. The scene in which Mrs Seabrook discloses her relationship to him is a very fine one, and the audience were not slow in testifying their approval at its close. Miss Warner acted in a thoroughly womanly manner as the loving heroine; and the small part of Mabel Seabrook was gracefully filled by Miss Clitherow. Capable support was given by Messrs Hambro, Phillips, and Stewart, and by Miss Deorwyn. In the third act Miss Warner sang Tosti's 'My life's ideal* with considerable taste, Mr Warner's acting meanwhile affording a rare treat. The performance went without a hitch, and as with the other productions of the season a word of praise is due to Mr Patterson for his efficient stage management. We have already expressed our regret that another opportunity of witnessing * Captain Swift' will not be given to Dunedin theatregoers, and we congratulate our Oamaru subscribers that this is the piece to be played on the company's stay in that town. There was an emphatic call for Mr Warner at the close of the drama, and in acknowledging it he said: " Ladies and gentlemen,—l cannot permit you to leave the theatre without conveying to you, however inadequately, my sincere and heartfelt thanks for the kind manner in which you have recognised my poor talents, those of my daughter, and my company. I came to you a perfect stranger; I feel that we depart —well, may I say it ?—friends.—(Applause.) If in my own emotion I fail to convey to you what I really feel—how truly grateful I am to you all—it is not from want of feeling, but for lack of words to give expression to you how deeply I appreciate your kindness. If I may be permitted to say it, it speaks much for your appreciation of art—real art, I mean—that such plays as 'Dora,' 'The Lady of Lyons,' and ' Captain Swift' have drawn much more money to me in Dunedin than any other plays which I have produced. (Applause.) I think that if it had been my good fortune to bo allowed to remain with you two or three weeks longer, I would have been able to produce other high-class plays that are in my repertoire—such as 'lnconstant,' 'School for Scandal,' and ' London Assurance '—in a manner which would be appreciable to the public of Dunedin." Againjthanking them from his heart, he bespoke the same indulgence for the coming guest (Mr Simonsen) as had been accorded to the departing one. 'Hamlet' will be produced to-night for Mr Warner's benefit, and, as his popularity has nightly increased till he has become a prime favorite, we anticipate that he will receive a good send-off. Moreover, this will be Mr Warner's only Shakespearian represen tation in Dunedin, and a critical audience is sure to be present. The general opinion among theatre-goers is that Mr Warner is the best all-round actor yet seen in this colony.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891025.2.20

Bibliographic details

THE WARNER SEASON., Evening Star, Issue 8047, 25 October 1889

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987

THE WARNER SEASON. Evening Star, Issue 8047, 25 October 1889

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