The Dunedin Catholic Literary Society, with the idea of strengthening the funds for the purpose of building a hall, produced Tom Taylor's adaptation of Mrs Brad don's powerful novel 'Henry Dunbar' at the Princess's Theatre last evening. Tho attendance was large. The success of the play was pronounced, the strong points considerably overbalancing the weak ones. That there were weak points cannot be denied ; they seem inseparable from amateur productions, and from many professional ones, for that matter. But in 'Henry Dunbar' there were several characters exceptionally well played. For instance, Mr Joseph Cantwell, as the impersonator of the name part, earned nothing but good opinions. Though not consistently good, in general he was quite capable of interpreting the part, and at the end of the third act, where he describes his sufferings as his murdered victim rises "before his disordered mind, a special round of applause showed that his audience recogoised meritorious work. Another good performance was that of Miss Rose Maucy as Margaret Wentworth, the devoted daughter who, intent on bringing to justice the man she believes to be the murderer of her father, discovers in the end that she has in reality set the officers of the law on the track of her own father. Nothing but praise can be bestowed on this lady. Miss Kitty Blaney, as the loquacious maid Mary M'Cann, had a part that suited her in every way; and the song she introduced ('Arrah, go on') was vigorously encored. Miss Addie Heley, in the character of Laura Dunbar, spoke her lines well and to the point, but her action waa far too tame. Mr W. J. Fitzpatrick, for once forsaking the role of heavy villain, assumed the part of the unprincipled but amusing Major of many aliases, and did very well indeed in it, too. Mr A. Quelch, as Clement Austin, was not a great succesa, being painfully deficient in the love scenes; and Mr James Hill, as Arthur Lovell, was stilted and ponderous. Mr Carolin, acting the character of Henry Carter, a detective, did moderately well only. He never impressed one with the idea that he was a real detective. One of the bast played small parts was that' of Jerrams, waiter at the inn, portrayed by Mr J. Black. It waa a very natural little piece of comedy. The remaining characters wero in the hands of Messrs C. Dfilaney, F. Heley, J. O'Connor, M. Coughlan, and F. Stokes, all of whom did their work without mistake. Nothing startling waa attempted in the way of scenery, but the seta were appropriate without being gorgeouß. Mr Cox's Mandoline and Guitar Band, with the asaletanoe of a violin and piano to give them a little body, made a fair substitute for the orthodox orchestra. ' Henry Dunbar' is to be repeated this evening, and those who patronise it will see a performance free from the demerits of many amateur productions.
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Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 10456, 28 October 1897
'HENRY DUNBAR.' Evening Star, Issue 10456, 28 October 1897
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