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DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL., Otago Witness, Issue 1410, 30 November 1878
DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL.
THE THEATRES, &c. Theatrical matters during the past week have been rather brisk, and according to arrangements that have been entered into by maragors, this state of things is likely to continue till after the Ohrhtmas holidiys. Our two theatres" aro at present occupied by the Stewart family and Webb and Trotter's Royal Marionettes, and on Thursday the Cheevera, Kennedy, and Bert Minstrels were to open for a season of throo nights at the Oddfellows' Hall, Rattray street, prior to their departure from New Zealand en route to Melbourne. In about three weeks the Ke'ly and Leon Minstrels will bo here, and Benton's Australian Cirque will also pay us a visit. It will therefore be seen that the palate of the amusement. loving section of the community will not be allowed to go neglected for some weeks to come ; and, since the uity will be crowded with visitors from the country and other towns during the holidays, there ought to be loom for all the shows that are to bo here. Tho Sfcowufci at the Queen's have held their own ever sinco they opened, the attendance night after highb being large, and the applause ho.U'ty and liberal. The more one see of this highly accomplished family tho moro ono likes them. Mr Richard Stewart is ono of tho best imitative actors (hat has ever trod the locil boards, and is entertaining to a degree. He is never vulgar or uncouth ; but always polished and gentlemanly. With a startling realism, he represents tho late G. V. Brooke, Chat Its Kc:in, John Drew (the Irish comedim), Croswick (tho tragedian), Barry, Sullivau, Jefferson, and other lights of histrionic fame, and this, too, without the least apparent effort or straining after effect. In "Rainbow Roveta " ho has plenty to do, and it is difficult to say in what ho most excels— whether in his iuiifc itions of celebrated actors, eon of La 80110 Nance, the Gorman huntsman, the Irish bhoy who make 3 love to two ladies at the same time, and could be h ippy with either woro t'other dear charmer away, or as Toby Tottlopotj a rather deaf gardeuer, who after tho rendition of tho gem of Meyerbeer's pretty opera, " Roberto il T)iavol<\" wants to know if the vocaHsfc ia afflicted with whoopin? cou^h. No loss clever in his impersonation of a disciple of the rosy god, which, unlike that of so many other actors, is not the least exaggerated, but is easy, natural and overwhelmingly funny. Tbo Misses Docy, Masfnie, and Nellie Stewart show that th<*y have been exceedingly well tutored, and enter into the spirit of their business with the greatest possible jest and appreciation. Most people have fancies, and in my opinion Nellie is the best of the throo. She is a charmincr and versatile young actress, a highly-cultivated vocalist, has a pleasant, winning face, and comports herself in a perfectly irresistable manner. Her sisters aro also fascinating and clever, and put their tilents to tho best advantage. " Rainbow Revels" has run for another week, though sinco Monday, so far as the musical repertoiro and the costumes are concerned, tho entortainnient has assumed almost a now aspect — an asppct quite as enjoyable as its predecessor. " 'If,' or an Old Gem Reset," will be produced on Saturd-.y night, and will, doubtless, run as long as the "Revols " The Royal Marionettes opened on Saturday at the Piincess's, and have been doing 1 fairly. For myself, I do not care much for exhibitions of this description, but I must confess that Messrs Webb and Trotter's entertainment is an enjoyable one, and one that appears to amuse old and young alike. It is divided into threo parts, the first being a Christy minstrel " chair" diversion, the second an exhibition of conjuriug &c, with Italian fantoccini, and the third a pintomine, harlequinade, and grand transformation scene. The marionettes aro cleverly worked, their movements beine graceful, natural, and in some iustances comical. During tho stiy of tho troupo in Dunodin, another pantomine, "Tho Babes in Wood," will bo produced, and an entirely new one is in. rehearsal, but it is doubtful whether it will be ready for representation before tho company leave us. Messrs Baker aud Farron have been playing to splendid houses at Invercargill throughout wook. Tho sacred concert given in new Knox Church on Friday nifjht was, thanks chiefly to the untiring zeal and energy of Mr Innes, a marked success. Tho selections were mostly from the oratorios of Mendelssohn and Haydn. Mr A. J. Towsev conducted, and Mr Ke'ssy acted as accompauist. The press of New York gives Wilhelrnj the most enthusiastic praise, and speaks of him as tho greatest violinist of the ago. Ho is described i>i person as attractive, in manners suave, and in dress neat, without ostentation. In years ho is probably not over 33 or 34. He speaks English fairly, having lived in London from 1875 to 1877. Miss Minnie Hauck, the new American prima donna, is siid to bo of stately and dignified presence, with a very youthful, round, blooming f.icp, lively gray eyes and attractive features, aud a manner and conversation that bespeak au iuteußely dramatic nature.
The Bendigo Advertiser has the fol'owing lines about the late Mr C. R. Thatcher, so well known in New Zealand and Victoria as a ballad writer on topical subjects: — " To many of the pres-nt residents of Sandhurst Charles Thatcher will only be known byname; but by all old Beudigonians he will bo well remembered, aud tho news of his death from cholera at Shanghai will bo received by them with deep regret. In the glorious days of gold-digging, when through the enterprise of Mr Win. Heffornan the public of Sandhuist were supplied nightly with free concerts at tho Shamrock Hotel, the performers at which consisted of tho very highest talent, male and female, vocal and instrumental, obtainable in tho colony, the appearance of Mr Thatcher on tho : tagc was alway3 looked for with interest and often with impatience. He was always ready with a soug of bis own composing on some local subject, aud so happy were his hits, and so racy and piquant was his style, although he had only an indifferent voice, that amongst vocalists of the highest order he ranked as first popular favourite, and was genera'ly known as 'the Inimitable Charley.' Ho has left the ct.lony for some 3 ears, and has been travelling in China and Japan, where he employed himself in making valuable collections of curios, by which means it is said he made a good deal of m»ney. It is to be feared that the following notice of his death, which we clip from the Argus, is only too trun, although wo would fain iudulgo the hope that there may bo some m'sfcake. Mr Thatcher, whilst one of the most clever and amusing public performers we ever met with, was withsl a UlO oughly steady and saving man, and a good citizen. \Ve can only say we have lvad tho subjoined paragraph with a very sad feeling, ag will every our who had tho picture of knowing the deceased gentleman : — ' A Shanghai p »por just received records the death of Mr O. It. Thatcher, formerly of Sandhurst and New Zealand. Mr Thatcher died of cholera, and was not ill more than a few hour 3. Ho was a brother of Mr Itichmond Thatcher,"agenfc of Mis*! Ada Ward, who.is now afc Adelaide. As a comic vocalist lie was, some yoirj iigo, quite an institution at Ssndhurst, on account of tho facility with which he took up local subjects and humorously dealt with them in tbe songs ho used to sing. 1 " A London journal, well up in all that pertains to the drama, writes in a very qualified strain veg »rding the past dramatic season. It says tbo season has "shown once moro that Mr Sothern cannot fill the Hayraarket, unless, he acts Dundreary. At the Olympic, where more plays havo been produced in the last six months, than at tho Prince of Wales in a* many years, a clumsy and slipshod version of ' Oliver Twist' was, during Mr Neville's absence, placed on the stage for the exhibition of Miss Ey tinge, an American actress, who was at least a little bettor than the play. This lady was followed by Mdlle Beatrice aud her company, who were fairly successful in an English version of one of those long and intricate French melodramas which, for some unknown reason, seem to please English playgoers. At any rate playa of this kind havo usually succeeded at the Olympic, and it saya little for Mr Neville's intell'gence as a manager that it should be left to Mdllo Beatrice to show him practically what sort of pl.iy to produce in Ids own theatre. Tho past season then may be summed up as being, on the whole, unprofitable in any sense of tho word, and it is to be feared that its influence, as well as that of bad times and gloomy prospects, is felt on tho season now beginning. At the same time there are no grounds for those periodical outcrios of tho decadence of the public tiste which certain magaziues and weeklies, which only exist by pinderiug to the bad taste of the public, co delight to raise. It is nonsenso to f peak of the public as caring only for French farce and ' leg 3,' when against the success of ' Fink Domiuos ' m y bo set tho success of ' Diplomacy,' ' Proof,' ' Oliva,' aud ' Our Boys,' and as for ' le#3 ' the number of theatres devoted to theso exhibitions is far less than it wa3 even two years ago. Drama and elibnrated farce being the staple commodity for tho present, tho playgoer may in ' Uncle Tom' a Cabin ' at tho Princess's and ' The Idol ' at the Folly, witness both in their worst lwht. The construction of ' Undo Tom's Cabin' is of tho clums : esfc, a-d the arrangement of the scenes would mako the hair of a lovor of tho unities staud on ond in justifiable horror. Tho dialogue is tho purest rant and cbptrap, and the text of Sciiptuvo is impartially used, by the serious characters to gain applause, and by tbo low comedy characters to ciuso laughter. Ihi3 tedious, Filly, and offensive adipfc iion is intended am framework for tho sinking, dauciug, and shouting of a u umber of real ve oor.'OSo r r.'OS imported from Ameiici for tho purpose It may afc ouco bo stated that the ' niggers ' of Piccadilly and tho music halls are not only better singers and dancers, but infinitely blacker tbau the genuine article." FirzEiuc.
DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL., Otago Witness, Issue 1410, 30 November 1878
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