14 AUGUST 1841, Page 15


As the time approaches for the opening of one of the Great Houses at least, the Haymarket is showing signs of unwonted activity : three nights this week has some new performance drawn us thither, and revivals of SHAKSPERE are underlined half-a-dozen at a time ; while the retirement of Mr. CHARLES KEAN and Miss ELLEN TREE is announced to be only temporary, for the purpose of giving them opportunity of studying their new parts in a new play by SHERIDAN KNOWLES--which is not yet written, perhaps. Mr. WEBSTER, how- ever, is leading up to that forthcoming trump-card, by playing Vir- ginins and William Tell: the first was produced last Monday, and the latter is announced for next Monday. Viryinius at once stamped the dramatic fame of its author and the reputation of the tragedian who has identified himself with the character : never have author and actor been better mated, and we cannot but regret that such a prosperous connexion should have been divorced. The new alliance between MACREADY and Sir LYTTON BULWER, SHERIDAN KNOWLES and CHARLES KEAN, will produce nothing equal to Virginias and William Tell. MACREADY seemed inspired with the old associations, for in no performance of his have we seen so little of the player and so much of the man. The effect on the audience was commensurate, notwithstand- ing the ludicrous sensations excited by the ridiculous unfitness of the majority of the other performers; but it is no fault of a company of farceurs to be unable to play tragedy. Miss FAuctx's Virginia was a beautiful exception ; the daughter was worthy of the father. Among the novel features of the scenery was a Gothic arch !—a curiosity in the time of the Roman republic.

On Wednesday was produced, with all the honours of sumptuous costume and scenery, a farcical petite comedy of situation and intrigue, called Foreign Affairs, or the Court of Queen Anne. It is apparently of French origin; but its ingenious construction and indecent tendencies are the only existing denotements of its parentage, any wit and vivacity in the dialogue having evaporated in the process of translation. The hero of the adventures is Saint Louis, a precocious puppy in the suite of the French Ambassador, who being ridiculed for aspiring to the matrimonial state at sixteen, establishes his pretensions to manhood by intriguing with maids of honour and wives of courtiers, and fighting the husbands. This part, which may have been designed for DEJAZET, is played by CELESTE; whose broken English and feminine figure were prominent points of attraction : the frequent allusions to the boy's want of virility told with increased effect in reference to the sex of the performer ; such homely vivacities of expression as "Go to the Devil " —" I'll be damned if I do "—acquired piquancy from her French ac- cent ; and the utterance of that familiar vulgarism, "Here I am, alive and kicking," drew down a round of applause from the delighted audience. The piece was given out for nightly repetition without any audible expression of dissent ; though some few fastidious per- sons evidently partook of the worse than weariness which the humour- less ribaldry caused us to feel.

On Friday, Mr. PLACIDE, an American comedian, made his bow to a London audience as Sir Peter Teazle. He was cordially received ; and being well dressed, his appearance at first augured favourably, but it was soon evident that the new corner had no pretensions to the first rank in genteel comedy. Mr. PLACIDE is a discreet, careful, and prac- tised performer ; his style is quiet, even, and free from vulgarity ; but he never rose above the mediocre. After the School for Scandal, he appeared to more advantage as Lingo, in The Agreeable Surprise.