14 APRIL 1855, Page 10

not mortal. He and his partners may be less clever

or less comical than heretofore, yet they live on, and whenever the season of winter festivity arrives they are sure to find a good handsome stage fitted for the demon- stration of their vitality. Last Christmas, probably there were as many pantomimes as ever were known in London. Burlesque, on the other hand, is evidently losing ground; and, after threatening to elbow out pantomime at Christmas, is now hardly able to eland on its legs during its own proper holiday—Easter. All the new Easter pieces this year are perfectly successful; but they are all, with one trifling exception, gliding out of the old burlesque category. Mr. Planche, who though he may be called the patriarch of modem burlesque, always did his burlesquing more gently than his descendants, and while he besprinkled his dialogue with modern allusions, always allowed us to surmise that he would gladly have treated the tales of the Countess D'Anois (" D'Aulnoy," if you like it better) with the gravity of an early faith—Mr. Planche, we say, seems now making up his mind to abandon the very form of those grotesque dramas with which for so many years he delighted the London public. The Haymarket Spring Meeting is the third of a series of revues with which he has presented the Eaymarket Theatre during the management of Mr. Buckstone ; and, like all other revues, satirizes topics of the day, without recourse to parody as an essential element. The personified City of London (Miss C. White) receives a visit from the personified City of Westminster (Miss H. Gor- don) ; and the two civic ladies exhibit to each other their respective "lions," which are chiefly of the theatrical kind. London conducts Westminster to her Eastern suburb, and shows her the condition of those theatres and theatrical saloons, which, ignored a year or two ago, now surprise all who reflect upon the drama by their vigorous efforts to rise into celebrity. Westminster, in return, takes London to an imaginary race-course, where the "sights" of the West-end (also personified) contest

for public favour. The connecting link between this living phantasma-

goria and the audience is formed by Mr. Buckstone, who plays the Lord Mayor's Fool. That ancient jester is proverbially famed for a love of everything that is good—indeed, history is silent as to his other pecu- liarities; and on this occasion he appears as the superintendent of a very graceful and tastefully mounted revue. At the Adelphi there is a slight surface of burlesque, but it is a surface only. Mr. C. Selby has reduced into the dimensions of an English after- piece a huge feerie, which last summer used to amuse the audience of the Parisian Ambigu-Comique for four or five mortal hours, until finally it was cut in half and administered in two doses. The notion of Les Coates de la Mre d' Ole, as it was called, was to unite the whole mass of popular fairy tales together by making one hero and heroine pass through the ad- ventures assigned in the stories to separate individuals. Thus the Riquet with the Tuft of one act was the lover of Cinderella in another, and the deliverer of the Sleeping Beauty in a third ; and so on through the whole treasury of " Mother Goose " literature. Mr. Selby's version is consider- ably altered from the original, and is altogether on a much smaller scale ; for the piece at the Ambigu was one of those unwieldy works which, abounding with all possible means of excitement, are peculiar to Paris alone, and are produced at long intervals, when the interest in ordinary drama seems to be exhausted. Such a piece would be intolerable on the London stage; but Mr. Selby, while he has judiciously adopted the diminishing process, has retained the tales of the Three Wishes, Little Red-Riding-hood, Cinderella, and the Sleeping Beauty : prefacing them all with the introduction to the English pantomime of Mother Goose, which was, of course, unknown to his French predecessors. Even with- in its limited compass, the piece comprises an immense variety of in- cidents; and amusement without weariness is the result. The tales, it should be observed, are seriously told as far as the action is concerned ; and it is only in certain exuberances of the dialogue, which might be ad- vantageously pruned, that we find that surface of burlesque to which we have alluded.

Even an apparent connexion with burlesque is shunned at the Prin- cess's ; where the libretto written by M. Dennery for M. Adam's Muletier de Tolede, (recently produced at the Theatre Lyrique,) is turned into a drama that has nothing of the holiday character about it. A young Spanish queen, who wants to retain her crown, and a designing kinsman, who hopes to snatch it from her head, are the motive powers that set in action a complicated machine of court intrigue, such as Parisians have so often admired. M. Dennery, in conducting his story, has displayed the well-known French talent of making familiar expedients appear new by novelty of combination ; and while the incidents are amusing in them- selves, the scene is rendered additionally attractive by the exquisite taste shown in the style of production. For a specimen of the fairy burlesque, such as used to rule our Easter, we must look to the long-lived Yellow Dwarf; who, though produced as far back as Boxing-day, still flourishes at the Olympic. For a specimen of that burlesque which takes a serious drama for its basis, we must visit the tiny New Strand ; where King Lear is called " King Queer," and the holiest of human sentiments'are couched in a language which would be unintelligible beyond the precincts of London, but a command of which is nevertheless regarded by Cockney rakes as the surest index of worldly experience and wisdom. Mr. If alford, who has written the piece, and also plays the part of King Queer, shows that his feeling as an actor is of a far higher order than his taste as an author. While be fills his own mouth with the wearisome slang of the modern " gent," he shows in his enunciation and his gestures a tragic power that might be more worthily employed. The New Strand Theatre is strong in the item of female vocalists. Miss Rebecca Isaacs, (the lessee,) Miss Somers, and Miss F. Beaumont, have all the talent to revive by a lively air the spirits of an audience when they have begun to flag under a weight of " fast " dialogue.

Mr. W. Cooke, ceasing to chronicle the present war, and likewise clos- ing the book of early history, takes for his Easter drama a turf subject, called The Field against the Favourite ; which delights the Astley's audi- ence, as The High-mettled Racer delighted their fathers in the days of old. Mr. Wright, who has never had a fixed abode for any length of time since he quitted the Adelphi, stars at the Surrey, Sadler's Wells is honoured by a visit of the Lyceum company minus Mr. C. Mathews ; who, on the closing of their own establishment, deem it expedient to pitch a tent in a region they would once have considered repulsively out of-the-way.