10 FEBRUARY 1849, Page 10


This week, the only site of non-musical dramatic novelty has been the Olympic Theatre. ta Cigue, one of those French pictures of Greek life common in Paris, which was acted at the St James's with M. Fechter in the principal character, has been transferred from rhyming Alexandrines into English blank-verse, seasoned with a little extra pepper, curtailed of some tediousness, and called the Hemlock Draught. The hero of the tale, it may be remembered, is a young Athenian, who has lived so very " fast " that he is tired of his existence, leaves off being mirthful to become sarcas- tic on his companions, and orders a cup of hemlock to be prepared as a remedy for his morbid condition. However, the love of a virtuous and in- nocent female slave gives life a new interest, and he abandons his desperate purpose. This piece is not one of action, but rests on the dialogue, which is sarcastic in the first portion and impassioned in the last. The two prin- cipal characters are exceedingly well played by Mr. Leigh Murray and Mrs. Stirling; and the scene, representing an Athenian banqueting-room, is put on the stage in a manner unprecedented at this house. The pains taken by the manager to render this little piece effective shows a step in the right direction. There has not been a drama of precisely the same kind at any English theatre; and it should always be the aim of a ma- nager to give his house a distinctive character. The lessee of the Olympic could scarcely compete with the three other Westminster theatres on their own ground, but the severely classic (whether Gallo-Greek or Grmco- Greek) is at any rate a new field. As for the Hemlock Draught, it is, as far as the construction is concerned, as severe a little drama as the most altra-rigorist of the "unity" school could desire.

At the same theatre, the part of Monsieur Jacques, in the piece of that name, has been played with success by a brother of Mr. Morris Barnett. There is a genius in creating character, and there is a talent in exactly following out the creation of another. This talent is displayed by Mr. B. Barnett; who accurately keeps in his brother's track; having at his fingers- ends all the " points " which Mr. Morris Barnett invented.