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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1815, Sunday, January 9, 1831



The pantomime at this theatre increases nightly in attraction. It had nearly, however, sustained a serious drawback by the sudden illness of Southby, the clown. Luckily a substitute was found in the person of a Mr. Hogg, who, we understand, undertook the part at the short notice of only one hour. It is but justice to say that he was perfectly original, and went through the whole of the pantomime with as much apparent ease and agility as if he had been regularly cast for it. Mr. Hogg we are informed, has sustained the character of Clown at the Bath and other provincial theatres with great eclat.


This house presented on Friday night a very animated appearance. The performance of the pantomime at an earlier hour of the evening than it is usually brought forward gave careful parents an opportunity of gratifying the young folks, of which the loud shouts of laughter which resounded from all sides of the house proved that the little ones availed themselves. It was preceded by The Hundred Pound Note, in which Keeley, Power, Bartley, and Wrench, played with unusual vivacity, and seemed to exert themselves to excite mirth and give pleasure. To Miss Taylor was consigned a part infinitely below the talent she has displayed; but it seems to have had no other effect upon her than to show how capable she is of better things. Between this laughable farce and the pantomime (which by the bye is altered in the opening scene by the introduction of Keeley, as Harlequin Fat; instead of Power, as Harlequin Pat, there was little to show of Power's humour, which is now transferred to little Keeley, and the humour lies more in his podgy figure than any wit that is displayed in the dialogue)—the presence of the Duchess of Kent and her interesting daughter, the Princess Victoria, was discovered. They occupied Prince Leopold's box. Long-continued shouts of applause, and a cry for " God Save the King." were heard from all parts of the house. The orchestra then commenced the national anthem, and on its conclusion the curtain drew up, and a number of the vocalists of the theatre presented themselves, and sang the favourite air. The Duchess and her daughter seemed to accept the tribute of respect offered to them with considerable pleasure, and acknowledged it by gracefully curtseying to the audience.


A new nautical piece, something in the style of Black Eyed Susan, has been produced at this theatre, called Nancy of Portsmouth. There are many interesting scenes in it, and it was received with great applause. The pantomime here continues to be very attractive.


This favourite place of amusement always bore a high character for the excellence of its pantomimes. The present season, from the nightly overflow, is a test of the popularity the revival of Harlequin and Mother Goose has excited. It has lost none of its activity, spirit, or splendour, by the transfer, and is a great treat to the lovers of fun and frolic.


The opening of this theatre on Monday night was attended by a very crowded, and, in the boxes, a fashionable audience. The Address spoken by Madame Vestris, containing several witty allusions to the opposition which she may meet with in her new speculation, as "stage proprietor," and bespeaking the patronage of the public, was received with much applause. To the good humour to which the audience were brought by the lady's spirited and amusing appeal, we must attribute the patient indulgence with which they sat out the representation of the "entirely new burletta, called Mary Queen of Scots." With all the incidents of that novelty (which is a sketch from Sir Walter Scott's "Abbott") most part of the audience seemed quite familiar, and there certainly was nothing in the performances to render them interesting, except Miss Foote's personation of the royal prisoner. In grace and dignity, that lady seemed to us an excellent representative of the unhappy Queen. The "grand allegorical burlesque burletta," called Olympic Revels, which followed, was completely successful. The dialogue is a string of puns, by no means destitute of wit, and for the most part alluding to the circumstances under which the heroine, Pandora (Madame Vestris) makes her debut in the Olympic regions. The songs and chorusses, which are, of course, all parodies, were received, most of them; with laughter, and many of them with merited applause. Miss Foote's part of the Little Jockey, and Mrs Glover's Clarissa Harlowe, in the concluding burletta, afforded ample space for the display of their respective talents, and the curtain dropped to loud and unmixed approbation.


Il Fanatico per la Musica was performed on Thursday last at Brighton, with fully as much, if not with more effect, in the vocal department, than on the former occasions. The performances were for the benefit of Signor de Begnis, and the receipts, we are happy to say, were greater than on any previous night, partly owing to the patronage of the Duke of Sussex, and partly, without doubt, to the interest excited in the Signor's favour by a late occurrence.

The French Company, who were to have begun their season last Monday, have postponed the opening of the Haymarket Theatre for a week, in consequence of the non-arrival of some of the most eminent performers from Paris, which is attributed to the badness of the weather. The theatre will keep open forty nights, and the Company will perform on Mondays and Fridays, except in Lent, when Thursday will be substituted for Friday. A portion of the Pit has been converted into stalls, with elbows, and the Boxes are nearly all taken.

The question relating to the theatres, that has been submitted by the King to Lord Chancellor Brougham to decide is, whether his Majesty can grant a license to Mr. Arnold to open his new theatre during the number of months in the year for which he prays in his petition, without violating the assumed privileges of the two Winter Theatres; and further, to ascertain the tenure upon which those privileges rest. The Lord Chancellor has called in the aid of two of the judges of the land to assist in this inquiry, which is shortly to take place in Lincoln's Inn Hall.