14 NOVEMBER 1840, Page 12


PEOPLE flock to the Adelphi to see the figures of " Humphrey's Clock" that tell the tale of the Old Cariosity-Shop animated on the stage : and, so far as their appearance and grouping in the cuts are concerned, no- thing can be better ; but the action and dialogue convey a very faint and imperfect idea of the incidents and characters as depicted by Boz himself : no one unacquainted with the original story could form an idea of the interest of the scenes from the dramatic version the story, moreover, is mutilated, and brought to a premature and most propos. terous conclusion. The opening tableau represents Master Humphrey and his confriTes seated in the chock' room ; and as the host is proceed- ing to read his narrative, the scene changes to " the Old Curiosity. Shop " : Humphrey enters with little Nell, whom he has brought home to her grandfather : the profligate grandson, and his pot-companion Dick Swiveller, with his ends of verse and sentimental flourishes of the " Glorious Apollers," are next introduced ; and then the malignant dwarf Quilp silently steals in like a &mon of mischief, and perches himself on the chair, grinning with fiendish delight at the idea of having the old man and Nell in his power. The scene where Quilp and his myrmidons take possession of the old man's property, and the monster throws himself on the white bed of little Nell, like sonic obscene bird filling the nest of a dove, is made effective by the extraordinary perso- nation by YATES of the hideous monster Quilp. Indeed, this is the chid attraction of the piece; so complete is the metamorphosis in form, ex- pression, and manner—the shambling gait of the bent-legged dwarf— the grim look of malicious spite—the chuckling delight with which he rubs his hands as his schemes succeed—and the vicious affectation of playfulness with which be administers his ferocious pinches—are re- presented in the spirit of the author's conception. Airs. KEELED', as little Nell, looks singularly girlish notwithstanding her plumpness ; but she has nothing to do but seem the guardian angel of the infatuated old man. Mr. I.voN personates him admirably ; vividly depicting the mad- ness of the inveterate gambler, who clings more fondly to the hope of gain as the chances of success fail, and is most sure of winning when all is lost. Mr. Wittoirr, as Dick Swiveller, gives rather too squalid a notion of the " Perpetual Grand "; whose hilarity is so unquenchable, that even in the extremity of drink his maudlin fit is transient, and his philo- sophy more than a match for the frowns of Fortune: Swiveller is always cock-a-hoop and in high feather—Mr. WRIGHT presents him to us moulting. 13Envonn and WIELAND, as the two Punch-and-Judy- men, make us wish for more of their company ; which, during the little time the audience are favoured with it, is most entertaining : the yelp- ing, mewing, and Punch-gibbering chorus of WiELAND to BEnroan's carol is capital ; and his dress and manner are in true keeping with the peripatetic showman : we wish he would treat us to a performance of Punch. WILKINSON, as Kit, is a genuine specimen of hearty, uncouth good, nature ; looking like an overgrown boy, so young is the spirit of his acting. Such a cast of characters merits a more effective drama; and when the story is completed, instead of a second part, as was im- plied, a better version of the whole would be preferable. On the second night, one or two malecontents hissed ; whereat YATES came forward, and told the audience that it rested with them to put a stop to any in- terruption to their enjoyment : which significant hint was responded to by cries of " Turn hint out 1" No one knows how to put down opposi- tion better than YATES.