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10 August 1879


Under the competent management of Mr. F. Oswald H.M.S. Pinafore has found a new sphere of popularity at the Imperial Theatre, and, having visited that establishment this week, we can testify most emphatically as to the general excellence of the representation.

Mr. J. G. Taylor, a comic actor of great ability, and long a favourite on the London stage, as Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., is seen to the utmost advantage. His conception of the part could not possibly be improved upon. There was a combination of fantastic humour with official dignity in his manner of playing the character which rendered it amusing in the extreme. Mr. Taylor gives the idea of a swell First Lord, perfectly conscious that he is a humbug, but quite willing to accept the homage all are so ready to pay him. The finish and refinement of his acting merited the warmest commendation. The scenes between the Captain and his daughter and the First Lord were pure comedy of the first order, and worthy to rank with anything the French stage could supply of the same class. Mr. Taylor's return to the English stage is a subject for hearty congratulation. The evidences of his skill in stage management were also apparent throughout the evening.

Mr. Dwyer deserved praise for his representation of the Captain, and his singing of the Serenade in the second act was good; also in the very clever duet where Deadeye imparts the secret of Josephine's affection for Ralph. This duet is one of the gems of the opera, the verses are extremely clever, and the music fits them like a glove. Mr. Arthur Rousbey was decidedly successful as Deadeye. Mr. Percy Blandford, possessing a very agreeable tenor voice and a good stage presence, acquitted himself well as the superfine specimen of the British sailor. Somewhat more effect might yet be given to the whimsical lines allotted to Ralph, but the impersonation, as a whole, certainly deserved much praise. Mr. Fairweather as Boatswain's Mate, and Mr. Dymott as the Carpenter's Mate, were efficient.

Josephine, the heroine, was sustained by Miss Mulholland, a young lady who has been heard in the concert room more frequently than upon the stage. She has considerable merit, which experience will strengthen; and her manner being pleasing and her appearance ladylike, she was received with no little favour. Her voice is pure, and her intonation good; and she only requires a little more vivacity to make her representation of Josephine satisfactory. Miss Isabelle Muncey was a bright and sparkling Hebe, and Miss Fanny Edwards as Little Buttercup may be complimented without reserve. She sang the music with excellent effect, and her acting was humorous and appropriate to the whimsical situations. In the duet with Captain Corcoran she was excellent, and the revelation which leads to the Captain and Ralph changing places was cleverly done.

The opera was placed upon the stage with the utmost care, with new scenery by Messrs. Gordon and Harford. The first scene of the deck of the vessel, and that afterwards when it is seen by moonlight, gained great applause. There is a capital band of about thirty performers, conducted most skilfully by M. Van Biene, the admirable violoncellist. The incidental dances are arranged by Mr. John D'Auban, and the choruses were given with great spirit. It will thus be seen that the Imperial Theatre has provided for its patrons an entertainment which amply merits public patronage, and we were glad to perceive a very large attendance on the night of our visit.

The vaudeville After All, sustained by Mr. A. Rousbey, Mr. George Mudie, and Miss Lucy Ward, was the first item of the performance.

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