15 SEPTEMBER 1838, Page 16


EMPTY as the town is, the theatres fill ; though, excepting Mr. VAN AMBURGH (not Amburgher, as we had it last week,) and his lions, there are no very remarkable attractions. Apropos of the beasts : the ima- gination of some penny-a-liner, impregnated, we suppose, by the re- port of a movement of resistance on the part of a tigress at" rehearsal," gave birth to a formidable account of a " terrific conflict ' between the brute-tamer and his pupil ; telling how M. VAN AMBURGH horse- whipped the tigress for some act of insubordination, and how the animal sprung upon him, and how the man seized the brute by the lip with his teeth, and keeping a mastiff's hold rolled over and over in deadly struggle, and then loosening his grip dealt the creature several fisticuffs on the nose, till it crouched at his feet submissive to man's superior prowess. It is a pity the story was not true, it read so well— though the passive state of the tiger's claws is not satisfactorily ac- ,counted for : and now we are as much in the dark as ever as to the process of taming—whether by caresses or knocks on the nose, stripes or starvation, or all combined.

But, leaving the lions, revenons a nos moutons. The assiduous Mr. LEMON has produced another piece at the Lyceum, of the melodra- matic order—having previously tried opera, petite comedy, and farce. We like his comic vein much the best ; and we must in charity throw cold water on his attempt to breathe a sanguinary one. We are strongly desirous to put a stop to the effusion of blood on the stage, and shall in all cases of incipient dramatic hemorrhage apply the critical tourniquet very tightly. Self-Accusation, or a Brother's Love, is the affectionate title of a piece that would be much more properly christened " The Assassin's Alternative, Bread or Blood ;" or if that be too sweeping a change, the alias of self.accusation might be " The Murderer's Re- rnorse." There is only one murder committed, but it is a particularly cold.blooded one; and, to make up the deficiency, its commission ex- tends through three scenes, and three people are implicated in the crime: it could not be more vividly represented too, for nut only does the victim's waistcoat give ocular proof of the wound, but the mur- derer literally dabbles in blood. Then there are no fewer than three persons in an extreme state of starvation, indulging in penny-loaf pathe- tics and the disinterested distribution of dry bread, till you are apt to conclude that if they really were so hungry, they would talk less and eat more. One always feels inclined to toss a shilling to these starving stage wretches, and bid them go to the next baker's and fill their hellies. We have too much of such matter-of.fact horrors in real life, without going to the theatre to witness them.

The dressing and acting of M'Iare, as the murderer, is appalling in its effect of reality; the squalid look of the famished outcast—his mis- givings when about to commit the crime, urged on by remorse for the misdeeds he was basely led into by his victim—and his conscience- stricken horror afterwards—are portrayed with a moral truth that re- deems the physical repulsiveness. The very cord round his neck, sup- porting his wounded arm on its rude straw cushion, seemed to have a typical meaning. Costerots, in a rustic part, showed another and more vigorous kind of humour: he is mellowing into a fine actor.

But let us change the disagreeables, for a pleasant bit of fun— Tom Noddy's Secret, which is nightly revealed to a laughing audience at the Haymarket. To HAYNES BAYI.Y the public owe their introduction to Tom Noddy,—a dozy, oblivious, procrastinating septuagenarian peda- gogue, who is always going to do something, and ties his pocket- handkerchief to aid his memory, till each corner presents a knotty point that he cannot solve the meaning of. Tom Noddy's "secret" is the

discovery he makes, that a child intrusted to his care by a cavalier, who

took it from its dying mother on the field of battle at Worcester, is a girl instead of a boy as its dress indicated : from his roundabout way of

communicating the fact to the " foster-father " of the foundling when be comes to claim his "adopted son," and the man's disguise that the young lady assumes to break the shock of disappointment to her pre- server, all the mystification ensues that creates the merriment. There

is Miss TAYLOR coquetting with her "foster-father" both in petti- coats and breeches—and a very smart and comely young cavalier she

makes, and looks handsomer, and is more artless in the male than the

female character ; and Bucesrosie, as Tom Noddy's usher—very jea- 1038 of the attentions of the feminine soldier to his Mary, and in a fury

of annoyance at being mistaken for a girl in disguise, brandishing a broad.sword longer than himself in defence of his personal identity and Mary's lips; and above all, there is poor old Tom Noddy—his hood looking like an extinguisher put over all his faculties—wondering and fuming, at his wit's end, and his handkerchief's end too, knotting and stamping, and staring and storming, in a delirium of puzzle-pitted

perplexity. This is one of the best bits of broad comedy STRICK- LAND has treated us to for a long while : his grimacing is here in character. HEMMING is the cavalier ; and the scenes between him and Miss TAYLOR are very pleasantly and naturally acted. In petite comedy with a slight dash of sentiment, Miss TAYLOR is in her ele- ment. This, though called a farce, is romantic in incident, picturesque in costume, and farcical only in its situations and drollery. WRENCH is quite at borne at this theatre: if he has lost some of his restless vivacity, he has bated no jot of his ease, address, and off- hand pseurance.