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THE DRAMA.

THEATRÍCAL JOURNAL.

HE winter theatres, at Drury Lane and Covent

ments, which we fhall notice in our next ; as we are determined to pay a very particular attention to the conduct of both houses.

HAYMARKET.

23.

August 21. HEIR AT LAW-Children in the Wond.

---22. IRON CHEST-Peeping Tom.- ITALIAN MONK-Padlock..

24. (For the benefit of Mr. Johnstone) SURRENDER OF CALAIS-Agreeable Surprize-and, first time, The Irish Tar; or which is the Girl?

This petit piece is from the pen of Mr. Oulton, author of a History of the TheatresAll in Good Humour, &c.--The persons of the drama are as follow :-CAPTAIN STEADY, Mr. Davies ; Par CASEY, Mr. Johnstone ; Ben, Mr. Trueman; JERRY, Mr. Suett; Mrs. BUSTLE, Mrs. Davenport; Nancy, Miss De Camp.

Captain Steady, on account of the mutiny, is secreted in the house of Mrs. Buftle, at Plymouth; by whose agreement with the parents of Nancy, she is to be married to her son Jerry, a taylor. Nancy, however, conceives a penchant for Pat (who, our readers will perceive is an Irishman) and equips herself in male attire; follows him, and attempts to pass for an Irish sailor. Pat, having accidently lighted his pipe with a bank VOL. II. Y

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bill, is in great distress, when Nancy kindly offers to relieve him by pawning a gold watch which she had brought with her from Portsmouth. Pat, confidering it as an act of Irish generosity, receives the watch, and with it, dispatches Jerry to the pawnbroker's. By certain marks, Jerry discovers to whom the watch belongs: having heard of Nancy's elopement, and not knowing her person, he supposes Pat to be the stray fair one, but considers her as “ too masculine for a taylor's lady.”' The imagined discovery is productive of much mirth between Mrs. Bustle and Pat ; at length an explanation ensues, the mutiny ceases, order is restored, and the lovers are made happy.

The Irish Tar, considered as a single-act piece, pof. feffes much merit, and was well received; but owing to Mr. Johnstone's injudicious introduction of one of Dibdin's songs, a clamour was excited which had nearly proved fatal.

Such unwarrantable liberties, not unfrequently taken by managers and performers, cannot be too severely censured. The presumption of an actor has often blasted the fame of an author; and we re. collect an instance when, at the request of a favourite actress, the conservation of an air, marked by the manager for omission, proved the salvation of the piece.

Under the auspices of Mr. Johnstone, the Irish Tar, in the course of the winter, is to be reproduced at Co. vent Garden, with additional songs, and a new overture by Dr. Arnold.

25. HEIR AT LAW--Children in the Wood.-26. ITALIAN MONK ditto.28. MERCHANT OF VENICE-Shylock by Mr. Elliston-Peeping Tom.

Of Mr. Elliston's performance of Shylock, we feel ourselves strongly called upon to take notice. This gentleman's youthful arabition has naturally been heightened and inflamed by a series of success and applause, {carcely ever paralleled. That he poffefses confiderable powers is not to be denied : and, that the popular

applause

applause has led him to form a wrong idea of his rea! qualifications, is unfortunately but too true.

We say unfortunately so, because it has prompted him to undertake characters to which he is by no means equal ; and thus hied him into a labyrinth of difficulty and difgrace, from which he will find it extremely difficult to extricate himself. We witnessed his success in “ Octavian,” and “ sir Edward Mortimer," with pleasure. -But we trembled for his reputation, when we beheld him advertised for so intricate and difficult a part as that of Shylock. We apprehended a failure: and the event proved our apprehension to have been but too well grounded. We forbear all comparison, as not warranted by just criticism. We shall proceed, therefore, to examine him wholly on his own intrinsic merit, which, we are sorry to say, was but very trivial on this occasion. His conception of the part being far from the meaning of his author; and his delineation of the character extremely incorrect.

The Jew or Venice, as originally drawn by Ser Giovanni Fiorentio, and as dramatized by our immortal bard, is made a man of revengeful disposition; jealous of the honour of his tribe and nation; and inflexible in resenting any insult offered to them by persons of the christian faith. In the original, indeed, he is made to entertain a general antipathy to christians: but in the play he has a cause afligned him for his malice. Anthonio is represented as having “ spit upon his gaberdine,” and having treated him with considerable infolence on the Venetian Rialto. On which account Shylock is made to cherish a cool and deliberate malice towards him; and watchful of every opportunity of gratifying his revenge. In the first'act Bassanio is introduced as wanting to borrow money of Shylock, and offering Anthonio's bond as security. This is the situation in which Shylock is first introduced on the Itage. At liis entrance, therefore, he should be delibe

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rating, rating within himself, about acceding to Bassanio's terms. This Mř. Elliston did not seem to understand. For he assumed the countenance of an open, desperate villain; neither disguifing, nor seemingly withing to disguise, the enmity which he harboured in his bolom. Mr. Elifton should have considered; that the character of Shylock appears fair and unsullied until the entrance of Anthonio: when it is first laid open by the fide speech which he immediately utters; commenc: ing with,

“ How like a fawning publican he looks," &c. During this speech all his malignity is expressed. But directly after he should dissemble, the better “ to catch Anthonio on the hip.” For after having recapitulated the various insults he had received from him on the Rialto, he very cunningly ensnares him by offering to lend the money free of interest. This certainly is the most difficult part of the whole character, and here Mr. Ellison completely failed. An offer of this kind from such a character as Shylock; and too, so well known to Anthonio, must naturally raise his astonishment, if not excite his suspicion. The representative of Shylock fould therefore be particularly cautious in assuming the jocose air, to keep the most remote degree of malevolence from his countenance ; especially when he proposes the merry bond” for the signature of Anthonio. But Mr. Ellifton expressed this with a kind of malignantly-exulting joy, fo open and decided as to have precluded the possibility of his intentions being mistaken by a person even of the least discernment; Anthonio consequently appeared to us very simple in acceding to a measure fo palpably aimed for his deftruction. And this foolish fimplicity must appear heightened when he exclaims

“ Hie thee, gentle Jew!
This Hebrew will turn christian; he grows fo kind."

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In the scene with Salanio and Salarino, after the difcovery of Jessica's flight, Mr. Elliston was more noisy than impressive; and the speech, “ hath not a Jew eyes?&c. was delivered with such a dreadful rant as to destroy all the beauty of the poet, as well as the effect which this part always produces when judiciously delivered.

In the following scene with Tubal, he was sometimes happy; but the expressions of grief for the loss of his daughter and jewels, and his malignant joy at the loffes of Avthonio, were by no means judiciously managed, nor varied in a manner fufficiently natural.

In the trial scene he displayed the fame want of diffimulation, as in the scene with Bassanio, For Shylock does not wish to make bis demand with the least appearance of malice; but enforces his claim under pretence of having previously sworn “to have the due and forfeit of his bond:” and knowing that the letter of the law is in his favour, he wishes to conduct the bufi. ness with all the appearance of a regard to justice. But Mr. Ellifton behaved in so boisterous, and evidently malignant a manner, as must have convinced the court that he was actuated by motives of a malevolent and sevengeful nature. The character of Shylock becomes here very interesting; but Mr. Ellifton failed in giving it any degree of weight or importance. His pleadings were, indeed, more the blusterings of the pompous declaimer, than the insinuating artifices of the crafty villain. Shylock's feelings are very poignant at his disappointment; on which account it requires confiderable exertions to give the sentences their due force. We therefore make considerable allowance for Mr. Elliston's failure in this part of the character; as, ir deed, we have done through the whole performance. We cannot, however, avoid censuring him for so very great a piece of indiscretion, as attempting to play a character for which he possessed not a single qualitiçation.

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