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wish for more praise than we are willing to allow him. Not having the play by heart, as we have some parts of Shakspeare's, we cannot with certainty say, whether he is as incorrect in the words as he sometimes is in other parts; and therefore, protesting against pledging ourselves for him on that head, we declare that our imagination cannot reach to a better representation of the character, than that of Mr. Cooper. His manner of playing the Simpleton is inimitably fine. Those who have not seen him, will be able, from the portrait that accompanies this number, done by young Leslie, and which is a most perfect likeness, to form a conception how he can adopt the look and attitude of a fool. In the serious part he was energetic, dignified and impressive.
As we have Mr. Cooper before us, we will proceed with his subject to the end.
We widely differ from some of our friends in opinion respecting his Othello. Perhaps we have been rendered too nice by early indulgence upon the highest fare; but in Othello, Mr. Cooper is very unlike what we conceive to be the character. Over charged action-elaborated stage-effect hunting, and vociferation wholly unwarranted by nature, occasion or reason, greatly injure it. If Mr. Cooper will only attempt less, he will accomplish much more than he really does in Othello.
M.Kenzie's Iago was a very poor affair. Spiller's Cassio was not at all exceptionable. Jefferson's Roderigo liketh me not.
In the afterpiece Mrs. Mason made up to us, in Maria, for all the deficiencies of the play. She played it, (if such a thing were possible,) ten times better than before.
MERCHANT OF VENICE.- -While there are so many characters at his hand, in which Mr. Cooper appears to consummate advantage, he will find it his interest to decline Shylock, from his performance of which he is not likely to draw credit to his professional fame, or cash to his coffers. Had Mr. Cooper seen the remarks made in the London prints upon Mr. Kemble's assumption of Shylock after the departure of Cooke, he would, perhaps, have felt more difficulty in hazarding himself in the Jew, while THE Shylock is still fresh in every one's remembrance and is on the point of returning to us. His Petruchio, however, made some amends, since, as the stage now goes, we know not any superior to Mr. C's. It is more than forty years since we saw the character so well played. Then, indeed, it was better done; because done still
more seriously. Mossop's Petruchio was considered a chef d'ouvre. -He delighted every one in it, by seeming perfectly in earnest; for he was as unrelentingly the Bashaw in it, as in Barbarossa or Bajazet.-Hodgkinson failed by being injudiciously comical.
Of Mr. Cooper's Pierre, we must ever speak in high commendation; and on his Penruddock too, criticism is bound to bestow praise, though by no means in so great a degree. It does not appear of first rate quality to those who have seen Kemble—but is sufficiently good to fill up the conceptions of those who have not witnessed the performance of that great original.
THE WEST INDIAN. -Mr. Dwyer made his first appearance here for these two years in the character of Belcour. He has since appeared in Gossamer, Cheverel and Tangent-besides Mercutio, in Romeo and Juliet, and Wilding in the Liar. What the extent of Mr. Dwyer's capacity as an actor may be, we of Philadelphia have not yet had any thing like sufficient opportunities to determine. That the line in which he has hitherto moved here is his forte may reasonably be concluded from his adhering so exclusively to it, in this, as well as in his former adventure. It is in that line therefore, we have to notice him; because it is in it alone we can pretend, from knowledge, to form a judgment of his talents, and we have spoken at some length on this subject in a former volume.
In person and in face nature has done much for Mr. Dwyer. He is certainly one of the best made men upon the stage. He has an inexhaustible fund of animal spirits; he is, in general, easy in his deportment; and though he has more genteel unembarrassed vivacity, and voluble address, than actual gracefulness, his carriage and demeanor has a something in them which passes for gracefulness, and is perhaps better for it than for comedy. On that ground he is so perfectly founded, that slip how he will in other things, he is there immovable. His voice is very well adapted to the stage, and under the correction of a sound judgment and a good ear may accomplish much. He understands his author too —but it is in the rough; for, not from want of capacity, but from being satisfied with his first conceptions, which are sometimes formed too hastily, he neglects the more refined considerations; and while he makes his most indifferent auditors bear testimony to his physical powers, he makes his judicious friends reluctantly consess sometimes his want of judgment, and sometimes a coarseness
in his taste, which, though they show themselves but seldom, are such a woful contrast to the accompanying parts, that they are more provoking than greater faults would be thought, if found in other company.
To this want of due consideration, and to the excessive height of his animal spirits, we ascribe the occasional overdoing of his characters, and that too when exertion on his part is least wanting, namely when the author himself has inflamed the character. To this also his introduction, at times, of practical tropes unfit for the character he performs, is to be ascribed. To be more particular; when in Belcour, in the first scene of the third act of the West Indian, he says to Stockwell. “ No, if ever I marry, it must be a stayed, sober, considerate damsel, with blood in her veins as cold as a turtle's: with such a companion at my elbow, for ever whispering in my ear, " have a care of this man, he's a cheat; don't go near that woman, she's a jilt; overhead there's a scaffold, underfoot there's a well;— sir, such a woman might lead me up and down this great city, without danger, &c.”-Mr. Dwyer spoke the parts in italics in the caricatured voice of a female. Now, that was extremely improper; because though a gentleman may have talents for mimicry, his practising it is a deviation from the character he should preserve, and assuredly, in the present instance did let down the elegant Belcour below his-level. When, while castle building in the character of Tangent, he gets in imagination on the woolsack, Mr. Dwyer, instead of giving a moderate share of pomposity to the words of the lord chancellor putting the question, threw it into a caricature, which produced a very different effect from pleasure or risibility, and protracted the no with a voice such as would indicate that intstead of looking with ambitious veneration to the office, as Tangent is supposed to do, he intended to ridicule it. We could excuse his spitting like a cat, when he tells his sad tale of marriage in the Liar, because it was not quite irrelevant; but we cannot so readily make allowance for the unnecessary trope he introduced in Mercutio's speech about queen Mab, when he comes to describe the soldier's dream.
These are the only prominent faults of Mr. Dwyer in the characters now alluded to—and they may be reduced to the one general head of overdoing his part; a fault so easily mended, that no excuse can be offered for his not laying it aside. Sometimes he hurts a good thing by endeavouring to make too much of it.
He laughs admirably in character-it pleases; but he laughs too much, and too long, and that impairs its value.
Because we wish this gentleman to succeed, and feel a partiality (perhaps it may be a little national, but it is not the worse for that) to his acting, we speak thus plainly; and we beseech him ever to keep foremost in his thoughts, justice to his author, and to think as little as possible of his audience; because that is the true way to give his auditors legitinate satisfaction—and to accept from us this friendly assurance, that the producing of stage effect, as it is called, is but a sorry, second-hand, and spurious kind of merit; the hunting after which, if it does not indicate absolute want of genius, marks a want of that genuine, proud confidence in one's own powers which generally accompanies genius. Mr. Dwyer has before him an instance of great talents, reduced many stages below its natural level, by this bane of actors. He has also before him a striking example of the beneficial effects of contrary principle and conduct in an actor to whom nature has been niggard of most of her favours, and bountiful only in that first blessing of God to man, a sound, manly judgment, which, under the maturation of experience and industry has enriched him with a taste to discover what ought to be avoided; and who, in consequence of that and a proud resolution to contemn the applause which cannot be obtained by legitimate means, never stumbles by injudicious efforts to rise; persuaded, no doubt, of this truth, that the best skill of an actor is often shown, not so much in what he does, as in what he abstains from doing.
By dwelling upon these suggestions, laying them earnestly to his heart and profiting by them, Mr. Dwyer can not fail to hold a high and honourable place in the very first ranks of his profession.
The performance of the Deserted Daughter, on the 21st, and of Romeo and Juliet, on the 23d, were so interrupted by tumult and riot, that a great part of them was entirely lost to the audience. On the former of those nights the disturbance was, as compared with that of the latter, so little that we were able to form some conception of the merit of the performers; and, though Mr. Wood was the principal object of the malice of the rioters, to bear testimony to his judicious and excellent performance of Mordent.Of his Romeo not a word was to be heard.
FIRST APPEARANCE AS A DRAMATIC POET.
Our theatrical friends will be pleased to hear, and must anticipate, as we do, much delight from it, that the charming translator of Anacreon, who, with all his faults, real or imputed, is one of the most bewitching of modern poets, has brought out on the London boards a comic opera, of which the critics speak in raptures; and in which, for the first time such a thing was ever known perhaps, the same person appears as author of the words and composer of the music. We regret that the intelligence of this new production reached us not till it was too late to give a full account of it, which however shall appear in our next number. Yet we have room to state generally, that the opera has received distinguished marks of public approbation from all classes, and that the public prints are lavish in their encomiums on it. One paper speaks of it in the following terms.
“ The reputation of the author for the sublime efforts of lyrick composition is so well known, that any comment upon the qualities for which his verses are admired would be superfluous. We have seen him to night exhibiting a proof of two-fold talent. The poet and musician are combined, and the language of love is conveyed to the heart in “ tones of richest melody." But Mr. Moore's efforts in this, are not confined to the common-placé character of senti. ment;-there is a rich vein of wit which runs with undiminished splendour and rapidity through every scene in which the humorous parts are represented. The piece was received throughout with the most rapturous applause; it will not fail we think, to become a permanent favourite of the public.”
Some judicious persons, to whose critical judgment our modern Anacreon, thought it became him to bend, having after the first performance proposed some alterations, and even suggested the advantage of the pruning knife, the opera appeared on its second performance in the reformed state they proposed, of which the same paper took the following notice.
“ Mr. Moore's Opera was repeated last night. Some judicious curtailments have been made. Passages which had been misunderstood were omitted; and some scenes which seemed to linger, were shortened. The graces of the dialogue, and the tenderness