1 AUGUST 1952, Page 10

!be prrtator, 3Iuly 31g, 1352

At this moment Drury Lane Theatre presents one of those extraordinary spectacles for which we should in vain seek a parallel beyond the precincts of the histrionic profession.

The history of the last few years has amply proved the difficulty of supporting this large establishment even under the circumstances that have promised a fair chance of remuneration. Opera has been tried, the "legitimate" drama has been tried, spectacle has been tried; but one experiment after another has ended in the unseemly phenomenon of doors prematurely shut; and nothing has answered, save M. Jullien's promenade concerts, and .the band of equestrians and acrobats who every now and then have converted the stage into a circus.

With these facts strongly impressed on our memories, we look with a feeling almost of admiration at the present attempt to draw the London public to Drury Lane Theatre. A gentle- man named Buchanan, who has the whole of his art to learn, and at the same time gives no indication of native genius— who has collected a number of traditions, which he does not know how to manage, and spoils even his best passages by a mistaken style of elocution—this gentleman plays Hamlet and Shylock as a star," surrounded by a company which is composed of small artists from other theatres released by the recent closings. With this sort of exhibition a manager hopes to succeed, in an establishment where even the most spirited attempts have proved abortive, and that at a season of the year when London theatres, by the natural order of things, are instinctively avoided by the London public, and the resident on the banks of the Thames looks wistfully to the Rhine, the Seine; or the Meuse. We can only say with Celia in As You Like it, " Oh wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that out of all whooping !"