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From The Era, December 21, 1879.


Delighted as we were with the extraordinary display of talent we witnessed on the occasion of the rehearsal of The Children's Pinafore at the Opera Comique, our admiration was even increased when we saw the actual performance on Tuesday last. We have no hesitation in describing it as the most marvellous juvenile performance ever seen in the Metropolis. So well have these children been taught, and so thoroughly do they comprehend their characters, that it becomes a, source of the keenest enjoyment to the spectator to follow their wonderfully attractive performance. Many well-known members of the theatrical world who saw them at the rehearsal declared it to be the most remarkable performance they have ever attended, and one and all expressed the utmost astonishment at the marvellous talents of the children. It was not merely that one or two were possessed of unusual gifts, the entire performance was complete, finished, correct, and diverting in the extreme.

Anything more whimsically comic than the Dick Deadeye of Master William Phillips could not be easily imagined. But Master Pickering as the First Lord was quite as funny in his way, and the Captain of Master Harry Grattan was absolutely first-rate. Other parts were equally well filled by the young, gentlemen, and the young ladies were in no respect inferior. For example, the Little Buttercup of Miss Effie Mason completely took the house by storm. The little lady was admirably made up, and was as excellent in her singing as in her acting.

Nothing could be better either than the manner in which the difficult text was delivered. Every word was clear and distinct, and what rendered the representation more amusing than all was the original conceptions of several of the characters. This gave the performance a freshness and individuality of the rarest kind. The choruses were sung with great precision, and it was delightful to listen to the clear, bell-like voices.

The greatest praise is due to Mr. R. Barker, under whose superintendence The Children's Pinafore was produced. He taught the youthful artistes all their stage business, and has spared no pains in order to make the ensemble as perfect as possible, being efficiently aided by Mr. Francois Cellier, whose labours in teaching the little ones their music have been singularly successful. Mr. Jenkinson is the repetiteur. Finally, we may again declare that it is impossible to praise too highly The Children’s Pinafore as presented at the Opera Comique.

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