13 DECEMBER 1851, Page 11

The very admirable manner in which Mr. Phelps has played

'Sir .Por- tinaz irSyeophant in Macklin's has of the World—following out the ex- treme minuteness with which the character is written, with the utmost finish of histrionic execution—has given vitality to this old illiberal play on the boards of Sadler's Wells Theatre, a place where of all others it might least be expected to thrive. The pains which the Celtic author took in elaborating the principal character of his piece, and his rigid adhe-

rence to the old unities, reminds one somewhat of Moliere; the solution of difficulties by the introduction of a "dens ex machine" is also one of those expedients to which the great French dramatist, following the ex- ample of Terence, frequently had recourse. But, totally unlike Moliere, who always contrived to plant "bits of character" in every corner of his best works, is the mass of personified inanity with which Sir Pertinax is surrounded. The work is, indeed, almost as much a monodmme as a per- formance by the late Mr. Mathews " at home,"—nay, more so ; for Mr. Mathews assumed a variety of characters, but Sir Pertinax goes on ex- hibiting the leading peculiarity of his mind without any relief whatever.

What a strange thing is a mixed public ! When Sir Pertinax says, " Scotsmen, wherever they meet throughout the globe should unite and stick together," the Sadler's Wells audience laugh at him, and think they have discovered a vice in their brethren North of the Tweed. The same occupants of the pit, if they were assembled in Copenhagen Fields, and M. Kossuth told them that a Magyar should be a Magyar in spite of po- litical regulations, would applaud the sentiment as one of the .noblest they over heard. It would seem that nationality is contemptible when predi- cated of orderly people, but highly interesting when manifested by half- civilized insurgents.