|Sullivan > Major Works > Cox and Box > Adelphi Review
Review from The Times
Monday, May 13, 1867.
The amateur performance on Saturday afternoon, for the benefit of the widow and eight children of the late well-known artist, Mr. C. H. Bennett, was most successful. The entertainments began somewhat merrily, the occasion considered, with what Mr. F. C. Burnand, the author, entitles The Interpolated Libretto of a new Triumriretta, but which is simply Mr. Maddison Morton’s Box and Cox, adapted to the lyric stage, under the transposed name of Cox and Box.
This is not an occasion for criticism; nevertheless, we feel compelled to say that Mr. Burnand has executed his task so well, and that Mr. Arthur S. Sullivan, our most rising composer, has written music for it so full of sparking tune and real comic humour that we cannot but believe that this musical version of a widely popular farce would have a genuine success if produced on the recognized stage by recognized professional players. It is quite as stirring and lively as anything by M. Offenbach, with the extra advantage of being the work of a cultivated musician, who under any temptation would scorn to write ungrammatically even if he could.
The parts in Cox and Box were confided, to a well-known theatrical amateur Mr. Quintin (Cox), Mr. George Du Maurier, one of our most eminent caricaturists (Box), and Mr. Arthur Blunt, another amateur actor in high esteem. The whole passed off amid roars of laughter, and a special call was made for Mr. Sullivan, musical director of the day, who bowed from his place is the orchestra.
The piece was preceded by Auber’s overture to Le Philtre. Mr. Sullivan should compose an overture himself, and so complete his admirable operetta.
A selection of madrigals and part songs from Beale, Hatton, Schubert, and R. J. S. Stevens, came after Cox and Box. These were contributed by the well-trained company of amateur singers, who have christened themselves “The Moray Minstrels,” under their permanent conductor, Mr. John Foster. Mr. Shirley Brooks then delivered an appropriate address prepared for the occasion, which was received with enthusiastic applause.
After the address the “Moray Minstrels” gave more part-songs – by Hatton, Pearsall, and Otto, with a glee by Horsley. Then, after another of Auber’s overtures (Zanetta), followed Mr. Tom Taylor’s one-act domestic drama, called A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing, the characters in which were sustained by a troop of amateur actors, whom, in a part of his address for which we have not been able to find space, Mr. Shirley Brooks calls “Our Doctor Mark and all his Little Men,” aided by Miss Kate Terry, Misses Florence and Ellen Terry, and Mrs. Stoker. The characters were thus distributed:–
From the above list it will be readily guessed who are intended by “Our Doctor Mark and all his little men.” The piece was listened to with intense interest and applauded at the end with fervour. The principal actors were respectively called for, and Miss Kate Terry was honoured especially with the fervent marks of sympathy to which her charming and touching performance of Carew’s devoted wife had fairly entitled her.
The performances terminated with the amusing Bouffonerie Musicale by Offenbach and Moinaux, called Les Deux Aveugles, Mr. Harold Power taking the part of Patachon and Mr. George du Maurier that of Giraffier, Mr. Horace Mayhew modestly contenting himself with the character of “Un Passant.” Roars of laughter wore again elicited by this diverting piece of nonsense, originated, as every one is aware, at the Bouffes Parisiens.
The house was filled with literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical celebrities, together with numbers of those enthusiasts who love to hover about the spheres in which their special idols respectively move. The entertainment was a genuine success, and there is good reason to believe that the subscription which those who got it up are still promoting will help materially to effect the benevolent object they have in view.
Page modified 16 August, 2011 Copyright © 2009 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved.