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lists in his army. The ground-work gested characters. The music of the of the piece was bad, and the edifice opera was composed by the author's still worse. The dialogue consisted father, and bore the marks of almost almost wholly of old jokes ; and the as little pains and study as the words.. entire production bore the appear On the 20th of September, the ance of shameful neglect. To say theatre closed for the season, thanks nothing of himself, Ňr Hook does being returned by Mr Raymond, the not do justice to the actors, when he stage manager. sets before them such crude, undi
We know not how far we shall be signed by the patentees, Lord Mel. held justifiable, in making the metro. ville and the Duke of Buccleuch polis of Scotland an exception from
Right Hon. Lord Chief Baron. our general rule, which excludes from Right Hon. Lord Advocate. critical notice any theatres save those Right Hon. Lord Provost of Edinof London. But, independently of
burgh. its claims upon us in other respects,
Right Hon. Robert Dundas, of Melwe trust it will be admitted, that
ville. the city so proudly distinguished by
Sir P. Murray, of Auchtertyre, Bart. its eminence in philosophy, science,
Sir John Hay, of Haystown, Bart.
Mr Solicitor General. poetry, and criticism, may impart to
Dean of Faculty its theatre a consequence of charac Gilbert Iones, Esq. ter not unworthy of notice in a work David Hume, Esq. like this, and raising it above all the Walter Scott, Esq. provincial establishments, to an intel William Erskine, Esq. lectual rivalry even with the theatres Henry Mackenzie, Esq. of the sister metropolis.
Some disputes and difficulties ba. In the present year, 1809, the ving arisen with the proprietors of term of the old patent expired, and the
theatre hitherto used, respecting with it, the management of the family the terms of rent or purchase, Mr of the late Mr Jackson and Mr Rock. Siddons was under the necessity of The situation of manager was offer engaging the extensive rooms erected ed to public competition, upon a lease by Mr Corri for his musical performof five years ; and, among various ances, for the purpose of converting offers, the proposals of Mr Henry them into a temporary theatre, until Siddons were at length accepted as a new one could be built, of a magni. the most eligible, by the following tude and character better suited to gentlemen, to whom the patent is as- the population and taste of this city.*
This at least was the intention when the arrangements between Messrs Sid. dans and Corri were first entered upon; but since then, we believe the design las been abandoned, as Mr Siddons has very lately concluded terms of purchase with VOL. II. PART II.
To the new manager the people consequently, from the mansion to the of Edinburgh felt themselves entitled mousetrap, all is Gothic. The Gothic to look, with justifiable expectation is so picturesque, so beautiful, and so of beirtg gratified by an improve- sublime !-So it is in proper situament in the selection and style of tions, and upon proper occasions ; their pablic entertainments.' The but fashion, though originally the great fame of his mother, to whose offspring of taste, is also the most sublime talents we have ever paid the dangerous corrupter of it; it is an tribute of enthusiastic admiration, unnatural child, and is eternally enwas a passport to our good opinion ; deavouring to destroy the existence and the report of his own professional and usurp the throne of the parent to reputation, together with his known whom it owes its birth. True taste, literary habits, confirmed that warm founded on a correct knowledge of and respectful welcome with which human associations, seizes and applies we gladly received the son of Mrs such circumstances only as harmoSiddons.
nize with, and increase the expression Mr Nasmyth, an artist of consider- of, genuine character; fashion exalts able celebrity as a landscape painter, some single excellence to a capricious had been chosen as architect, to de. reputation, and, disregarding natut sign and superintend the alterations and propriety, extends it to all subwithin the walls of Corri's rooms ; jects upon all occasions. Taste stuand, from his taste and talents, the dies original intention, and improves utmost elegance and propriety were characteristic capabilities. Fashioa expected. The work was carried on mingles heterogeneous expressionis, with unusual rapidity, and on Tues- unites anomalies, and combines disday, the 14th of November, 1809, cordancies. Upon these principles the new theatre was opened to the pub- we condemn the artist who erects a lic with the performance of Tobin's Gothic theatre; who, when construct. comedy of • The Honey-Moon," ing a place where the mind wishes to and the farce of “ Fortune's Frolic.” unbend from the serious pursuits and
The first aspect of the house oc- important duties of life, compels us, casioned universal disappointment. by the style of his building, continuThe whole decorations were Gothic, ally to recall the solemn feelings conand strongly partook of the dark and nected with the gloom of monastic sombre hue, which that style never piles, and the melancholy reflections fails to communicate, and is indeed inspired by the monuments of antiintended to communicate. For this quity. To carry on the absurdity obvious reason, we must decidedly of effect, the scene painter had choobject to that style of architecture in sen, or had been directed to chuse, places appropriated to public amusc- for the subject of the scene which is ments ; its associated character in the lowered between the acts, (which is mind being assuredly the reverse of technically called the drop scene) the entertainment and enjoyment. We ruins of Melrose Abbey, with all its are aware that fashion has given to accompaniments of saints, tombs, and the Gothic its imposing sanction, and frowning martyrs ! Mr Scott, by the the proprietors of the old building, to which he returns after it has undergone suitable enlargements, alterations, and amendments. The term of Mo Siddons's lease has also been lengthened to the full duration of the patent, to wit, twenty-one jours. - March, 1811.
elebrity which he has attached to ty with which the successful novelthat venerable pile, was probably the ties of London have been brought be. unconscious cause of this vile jumble; fore the Edinburgh audience, and but Mr Scott's abbey is in its proper for the continual succession of the place So strongly and constantly first talents in every departinent of did the impropriety of these things the profession which the kingdom strike the public, that, in deference possesses. to general opinion, and in conformity At the head of the performers who with better taste, the house was re- appeared on our stage for the first painted during its first vacation, and time, must undoubtedly be placed Mr the Gothic has given place to the Gre. Terry; an actor of very comprehencian character: we still, however, sive and very eminent talents. He think fit thus to notice its original has successfully exhibited his powers deformity, and let our protest against in tragedy, comedy, pantomime, and it remain as a conscientious, though farce ; and, with the exception of lofeeble effort, against the recurrence, vers, fine gentlemen, and vocal heroes, here and elsewhere, of similaroffences. there is scarcely a class of characters
Among the company (a very re in the range of the drama, some one spectable one) with which Mr Sidof which he does not fill with excel. dons commenced his season, were se. lence. His figure is not striking, veral worthy of particular notice. though muscular and active; but he
Of Mr Siddons himself we have has a powerful voice, an expressive already given an account in our last countenance, and an intellect eminentyear's Register, and hold it needlessly clear, vigorous, and discriminating. now to say more, than that a more Quick to perceive, and eminently constant observation of his perform- happy in conveying, the true meanances leads us to accede to its truth. ing of his author, Mr Terry's most
As a manager, Mr Siddons has striking characteristic is intellectual shewn himself entitled to the warmest vigour ; vigour not wasted in verbal commendation and respect of the pub- criticism or doubtful innovation, but lic. With a sufficient attention to exhibited in a luminous, consistent, that popular taste which demands and identical display of general chashew at the expense of sense, and by racter, and an unerring attention to which, in spite of the condemnation, those minute particulars, by which real or affected, that is continually the most assimilating parts are, or fulminated against it, the profits of a ought to be, discriminated. In tratheatre are best served, he has, at gedy, his merit is equal in those the same time, furnished food in a characters which exhibit the strong bundance for the classical critic, such workings of a powerful mind, or the as the most fastidious taste might deepest tortures of an agonized heart. approve, and the purest enjoy. Of But his grief is best when it is rehis splendid and careful revival of se- quired to be vehement ; the tone of veral of Shakespeare's plays, and of his feelings is ardent and impassionmany of our most sterling come ed; and we do not see the full effect dies, and of the production of some of his powers, unless when his grief original pieces, we willingly speak in is exasperated to frenzy, or combined terms of high praise. Our commen with the darker shades of guilt, redations are die also to the celeri. morscy or despair. In the display of
tender emotion, we should think he cally correct ; but he is never simple would fail ; but he carefully abstains or flowing. His conceptions are just from those characters in which it is and original ; but we sometimes perrequired. He has performed Kingceive the working of the springs, when John, Lear, and Macbeth, all of them we should only be impressed by the fewith approbation, the two first with licity of the effect. There are certain distinguished applause. In the cele- characters in which this exhibition of brated scene with Hubert he excited the machinery does well ; but it ought a sensation of horror which thrilld in general to be avoided. This error the whole audience; and in Lear he in Mr Terry we hold to have had its marked with equal power the shades origin in the peculiar distinctness of of incipient insanity creeping over the his perceptions, the accuracy with mind, and obscuring ere they altoge. which he is accustomed to analyze ther eclipsed the light of reason. In his characters, and a laudable anxiecomedy, he excels chiefly in old men; ty to present them to his audience equally in those of natural every-day with unerring clearness and effect. life, as in the tottering caricatures of This has imparted to his delivery an Centlivre, Vanburgh,and Cibber. His air of weighty precision, and oracuSir Peter Teazle, Sir Bashful Con- lar strength, which, though always stant, and Sir Anthony Absolute are vigorous and effective, is not always extremely good; and in Lord Ogleby pleasing or appropriate. It has led we are inclined to think he has no rival also to a violence and frequency of on the stage. He has also essayed emphasis, that aggravates the defects the arduous character of Falstaff, and, of a voice at all times rather powernotwithstanding the disadvantages of ful than melodious, and demands, for a thin face and figure, he has, by the strong passion, an exaggeration and power of his penetrating and accu- vehemence of tone and action, which rate intellect, raised it to an equality not only injures the expression, but with any one he performs. In cha- exhausts the performer. Yet Mr racters of amorous dotage and fret. Terry never rants; he sometimes ful peevishness, he is not less success- gives needless or hurtful force to a ful; of which his Sir Francis Gripe, just feeling, but he never exhibits a Don Manuel, and Sir Adam Contest false one. Were this fault correctare excellent instances. He is very ed, and, being still in the early vi. entertaining also in Major Sturgeon gour of life, there is nothing to preand Sharp ; but, besides that his vent him from correcting it, we face and figure, being less made up scarcely see an eminence to which Mr than in Falstaff, are still more unpro- Terry may not hope one day to atpitious to him in the doughty Major, tain. We entertain this expectation than in the jolly Knight, we think he with the more confidence, because has not yet succeeded in attaining the the rank which he has already reached genuine features of vulgarity or low depends, as we have said, less upon tife.
mere personal qualifications than on The chief fault of this excellent ac- the constant and uniform exertions of tor, is want of ease. In tragedy, he is a mind acute, intelligent, well-informoften impressive, affecting, and even ed, and, we believe, decidedly bent sublime; in comedy, humorous, sati- upon the attainment of professional rical, and droll : in both he is classi. excellence. His soul appears to us to
be devoted to his profession, and that mixture of genius, good taste, and with an enlarged and comprehensive mature reflection, that we venture to view of his object. The exertions of augur boldly of his future fortunes, eachevening seem a part of one general though not to presage the extent of system. We never observe those starts his success. The extent of the triof caprice or negligence, too often umph of personal qualifications, even indulged by performers, who, having the most brilliant, can be readily estiacquired the public favour, they them. mated; but there is no placing bounds selves know not why, endanger the to the march of mental energy, where loss of it they know not wherefore, there are no physical obstructions to It is a corresponding part of Mr its career. Terry's merit, that on the stage he Mr Archer is a veteran in the prois uniformly attentive to the general fession, of no brilliancy of talent, and business of the drama, and to the with no very careful or laborious fisupport of his dramatic character. nish of those moderate qualities he He never marks by his manner of possesses; he is, however, equable, playing that he is addressing an au. sensible, and natural, and in parts dience, or even that he is conscious of which long possession has mellowed their
presence. And as he is atten- in his mind, and which otherwise suit tive to the maintenance of his own his
powers, he is listened to with atcharacter, he aids, as far as possible, tention and respect. the scenic illusion, by acting as if Mr Berry is a low comedian of unthose on the stage along with him
common natural abilities, unassisted were actually the persons they repre- by study, and unimproved by art. sent. This is a point much neglect. The rich and humorous simplicity, ed by some performers, who, consci- the good-natured archness of rusticious of real merit themselves, conceive ty, the unlaboured and identical truth it gives them a right to despise their of his expression, remind us of the inferior brethren, forgetting, that if character of Weston's talents : in the Hamlet marks by his contemptuous feebleness of old age he is no less conduct that his bosom confidant, successful. He is indebted for his Horatio, is only Mr -, he inevi. excellence solely to nature; but he is tably forces upon the audience the sadly neglectful of her bounties. conviction, that the Prince of Den- They are suffered to run to waste, mark is himself but a shadow. To and talents which, with cultivation, receive as genuine the base coin which might rise to perfection in his cha. a manager must occasionally put into racters, are stilled by a slovenly inatcirculation, may sometimes be a trial tention and careless indolence, and of patience; but the more a performer expiring amidst habits which would of merit aids the theatricaldelusion, by destroy the finest powers. His old appearing to act with real persons, and Philpot in the Citizen, and his Jerry under the influence of real motives, Sneak, are exhibitions of uncommon the more he will frame the audience excellence. to that state of mind on which his Mr Mason, in parts of grotesque higher and solitary efforts are calcu. antiquity, of a dry, snappish ill-temlated to produce the most favourable per, a waspish, petty, comical, cuneffect. It is upon our conviction ning, is admirably entertaining. The that Mr Terry acts from a happy extreme minuteness of his figure, the