With the acting of Miss Cushman in the principal character,
and with the aid of such splendour in apartments and upholstery as befits the dig- nity of an Italian Podesta, M. Victor Hugo's drama, Angelo, Tyran de Padova, though by no means new to the British public, wears a tolerably fresh appearance at the Haymarket. At any rate, the English dress in which it is clad has been manufactured for the occasion, and all pains have been taken to make a very equivocal subject offend as little as pos- sible the moral sensitiveness of London. In the French piece, La Tisbe says to the Podesta, " Je passe ici pour votre maitresse, mais je ne le suis pas,"—but thereby seems to imply a boast rather of independence than of virtue : a line in the Haymarket version explains that she is the victim of calumny. The Rodolfo of M. Hugo was satisfied, when, at the end of the piece, the dying Tisbe said to him, of the resuscitated wife of Angelo, " Elle est morte pour le Podesta—vivante pour toi "; but this arrange- ment did not suit the notions of the English adapter. As there are two bottles in Le Tisbe's case, one containing a poison, the other an opiate, and Catarina has imbibed the latter, what more easy than to make her husband take the former by mistake, and convert her into a bona fide widow ? The means furnished by M. Hugo himself are used for a pur- pose he did not contemplate, and a tolling bell announces the death of Angelo at the Haymarket. Again, a sensitive audience might go home reflecting that the interesting Rodolfo could never be very happy in his after-life when be had stabbed his benefactress La Tisbe. The English adapter, anticipating this thought, makes La Tisbe snatch the poniard from Rodolfo's hand and stab herself. The best of it is, that the moral code, which is tacitly set up in the Haymarket version of An- gelo, while it satisfies the exigencies of public opinion, by no means limits the pristine freedom of the dramatis personae. La Tisbe still acts as none but a courtezan would have acted ; and Catarina, though the adapter is at such pains to save her character, deports herself much as she deported herself under the less fastidious regime of M. Hugo.
The charm of Miss Cushman's acting in the character of La Tisbe is her hearty earnestness. She does nothing by halves; but whether she declares love or vows vengeance, she shows that her whole soul is in the passion of the moment. Hence she is well balanced by Miss Reynolds ; whose style of acting is naturally of the quiet kind, and who effectively opposes the self-control of Catarina to the reckless passion of La Tisbe.