« AnteriorContinuar »
THOUGH General PiCHEGRU, 'tis said,
With General PANIC struck their Nation;
January 26, NAPT. Wathen made his first appearance at Drury-lane Theatre as Sadi in the
Mountaineers. It is intended that Mr. Wathen shall act as a double to Mr. John Bannister, who is subject to frequent indisposition; and we think Mr. Wathen better qualified to supply his place than any other person at present known to
31. Was performed at Covent-garden Theatre, for the first time, a new.play, entitled, “ The Mysteries OF THE Castle,” from the pen of Mr. Miles Peter Andrews; the plot and characters are as follow : Count Montoni,
THE PLOT. Carlos from his infancy is attached to Julia, the daughter of Fractioso, a magistrate of Messina, who, contrary to her inclination, is wedded to Count Montoni, whose wealth and power induce her father to make this sacrifice.Her love to Carlos is such (though imposed on by a false account of his marriage), as to cause her to shun the embraces of her husband; in revenge for which he confines her in an old castle, and imposes on her relatives by a false account of her death, and a sham funera!,
Carlos, on her marriage, had quitted Messina, but returns to revenge her supposed death on his rival.-An interview between them occurs, but he is prevented from executing his purpose by the intervention of Bernardo, the sworn creature of the Count.
Carlos and his friend Hilario (the lover of Julia's sister, Constantia) procure admittance into the Castle by means of a subterraneous pass, where, from the engraved characters of a broken shield, they discover Julia had been there confined, and, imagining her murdered, are determined to search for her remains.
On Carlos's arrival, jealousy induces the Count to revenge his insulted love, by attempting the death of Julia, to the consummation of which he is urged by Bernardo's information of strangers having found their way into the Castle; but Carlos arrives in time to save Julia from the dagger of Montoni, who flies.Hilario having secured Bernardo, to avoid an accusation from the Count of Julia's infidelity, which her father's partiality for him might credit, she is entrusted to the care of Hilario, to convey her to Fractioso's house, Carlos determining to pursue Montoni.
The Count meanwhile flies to Fractioso's, and imposes on him with a tale of Carlos' having invented the story of Julia's funeral, and his parțiality for her inducing him to accede to a voluntary confinement in the Castle, and prevails on him to provide a guard to apprehend them. Julia and Hilario are seized, and the latter is condemned by Fractioso to be a galley-slave, Bernardo prevaricating, and accusing them of murdering Montoni.
Hilario, by Montauban's interest, being released on condition of becoming a soldier, learns from Cloddy that there is a quarrel between Fractioso and the Count, and the former's determination of quitting Messina, with his daughter Julia, clandestinely, Hilario contrives to lock Fractioso in a sentrybox, and with Julia and the old magistrate's moveables sets sail in the vessel prepared by Fractioso.
The Count, fearful of Bernardo's impeaching him, attempts his death, but fails, and flies the country. Bernardo, irritated, proclaims his infamy, and Fractioso, released from his confinement, hires a vessel to follow the fugitives,
Carlos, in consequence of a letter from Julia, which her father compels her 'to write, intimating her resolution never to see him, quits Messina, and meets the Count-they fight, and Carlos is left for dead.
A fisherman gives him an asylum in his cottage, and distracted with the idea, of Julia's supposed falsehood, he engraves, as he slowly recovers, his epitaph, on a decayed monument by the sea-side, intimating his affection for Julią to the last. She with Hilario arrive at the spot, and while Carlos and his servant Valoury are within ear-shot among the ruins, pathetically bemoans his loss, and she avows her continued affection. An explanation between the lovers takes place : Fractioso fallows, and, convinced by Bernardo of the Count's villainy, informs them of his being married to a wife then living, previous to his being wedded to Julia--gives his consent to the union of Carlos with Julia, and bestows the hand of Constantia on Hilario.
The plot is avowedly taken from Mrs. Radcliffe's Sicilian Romance, with such variations and addenda as are more immediately calculated for the modern Stage. Thus, as the Prologue promised, we have Tragedy, Comedy, and Pantomime, all struggling in the same scene, for the production of EFFECT.
Criticism is weary of complaining against that ridiculous melange which composes most of the Dramas of the present day. It is now become nearly obligatory on an author to sacrifice his own taste to that of the Public— they like incongruities, and of course they must have them-it is the false taste of the age, and therefore must be gratified. In adaptation to that taste is the Mysteries of the Castle written ; there are alternately scenes of terror, levity, and farce, with accasionally a Song and Chorus, to make the compound complete.
Those who have read the delightful Romances of Mrs. Radcliffe, need not be reminded of the ingenuity with which her incidents are blended, and the strong interest her descriptions excite. A recital of adventures, where the fancy of the Teader is in aid of the grand purpose of interest, will perhaps more readily ex
tite it, than a strict representation, where nothing is left for the spectator to ima. gine. The difficulty of transferring incident from a Novel to the Stage is therefore obvious; the interest must infallibly be weakened by the conveyance. Mr. Andrews, however, has very successfully executed the task. The whole business in the interior of the Castle, and the scene before it with Cloddy, are excellently contrived for effect. The deep-toned bell, the light in the turret, and afterwards, in the gallery, have their proper interest. The interview between Julia and the Count is finely wrought; and the interruption of Carlos at a very critical moment, is a considerable improvement.
On the whole, The Mysteries of the Castle is a very creditable production-the serious writing is uniformly good—the incidents, allowing for their diversity, and the many sacrifices necessary to be made to Music, Scenery, and Public Taste, are tolerably connected. The whole is got up with great attention and exactness, and we have no doubt the Manager will be amply repaid for his liberality.
The new Music is by Shield. Incledon has a fine Hawking Song in the first Act, written by Capt. Topham, and a delightful little Ballad in the third.—The Finale is a most charming composition, and does credit to the taste of Shield.
Feb. 12. The long-expected heroic Pantomime of D’EGVILLE's-“ ALEXANDER THE GREAT, or, The CONQUEST OF PERSIA," made its entre at Drury-lane Theatre.
In this Ballet, which certainly exceeds every thing of the kind ever exhibited on an English Theatre, the magnificent splendour of scenery and decorations are happily and ingeniously blended with all that strength of interest which fine action must ever excite. The characters are as follow :
Mr. J. D'EGVILLE,
Mr. G. D'EGVILLE,
Miss J. HILLISBERG,
Priests and Persian Army,
The various scenes are thus conducted :
ACT I.-SCENE I.
THE CAMP OF ALEXANDER, The victorious Macedonians, dispirited by the prospect of the hardships which yet lie before them in their way through Asja, complain that Alexander allows no respite to their labours, and unanimously resolve upon returning to enjoy af home the blessings of repose. The whole army, except the Grecian troop, is infected with sedition, when Hephestion brings the command to march; the soldiers openly declare their determination to proceed no farther; they answer the remonstrances of Hephestion by tumultuary clamours, and meet his threats with contempt.-Alexander enters surrounded by his guards; being informed of the revolt, he ascends the tribunal in order to appease the commotion; the two leaders of the mutiny furiously clash their shields and javelins in defiance of his authority; he springs upon the foremost, and in an instant hurls him to the guards, commands the other to be seized, and delivers them to instant death.The rebels are disconcerted, and dismayed; the king reproaches their effeminacy, tears away their standard, and disdainfully retires among the Greeks, whom he destines from henceforth to be the only partners of his glory. The Macedonians, struck with compunction and awe, and unable to support the disgrace they have incurred, rush towards the Grecian tents, where the king is seated, cast their weapons on the ground in token of repentance, and, throwing themselves on their knees, implore his forgiveness; Alexander relents, restores their standard, and enters their ranks amidst shouts of univeral triumph. Pre. parations are now joyfully making for the march against Darius, when an officer announces the arrival of Thalestris queen of the Amazons, who comes eagerly desirous of seeing a hero, whose renown has extended itself even to her remote dominions ; Hephestion is deputed to attend the queen; she appears accompanied by a band of female warriors, avows the motives of her visit, re. quests the honour of partaking in the dangers of the expedition against Persia, and presents her girdle to Alexander as the certain pledge of her faith; the king receives his fair ally with transport, and leads her into the royal tent to view the raising of the camp, as the army files off to form the siege of Gaza.
THE CITY OF GAZA.
The walls of Gaza are surrounded by the troops of Alexander, who summons the city to surrender; the Persian governor, faithful to Darius his sovereign, refuses to yield the town but with his life ; the attack commences; the Macedonians are driven back; the scaling ladders are fixed; the assailants are again repulsed; Alexander enraged plants a ladder himself against the towers, and is mounting, when it breaks, and leaves him clinging to the walls; he gains the battlements, in spite of all opposition, and, regardless of the entreaties of his officers, desperately precipitates himself unattended into the midst of the hostile garrison. Hephestion implores the Gods to protect the king.–The battering rams are brought up, the fortifications are levelled with the earth, and Alexander is seen singly engaged in the town with whole troops of the enemy; at the moment the breach is made, the king, exhausted with fatigue, receives a dangerous wound; Thalestris, the generals, and soldiers, rush to his assist. ance; the city is stormed, and Alexander is borne off by his disconsolate ata tendants.
THE MACEDONIAN OUT-POSTS.
Alexander, stretched upon a litter, and accompanied by Thalestris, Hephese tion, and all the officers, is met by Philip, his principal physician, who, having examined the wound, encourages the dejected army, and promises to prepare a medicine whose virtues will infallibly restore the spirits and health of their beloved leader. At this instant arrives a letter from Parmenio, accusing Philip of being bribed by Darius to poison the king; the attendants are struck with horror, and beseech their sovereign not to trust his life to so vile a traitor. Philip appears with the draught which he has prepared; Alexander magnanimously drinks it, and, fixing his eyes on Philip's countenance, gives him Parmenio's letter, which he reads without the smallest sign of confusion; but, filled with honest anger at such an accusation, he puts himself into the hands of the enraged soldiers, offering to atone with his own life whatever evil befals the king from his prescription.-Alexander perceiving the gradual return of his strength, embraces Philip, receives the congratulations of his troops, and without pause continues his expedition against Persia.
ACT II.--SCENE I.
THE PALACE OF THE KINGS OF PERSIA.
Darius, seated on his throne, surrounded by his family, and his nobles, and indulging in the soft pleasures of the eastern court, is surprised by the abrupt entrance of a messenger, who informs him that Alexander of Macedon has invaded the Persian territory. The sports are interrupted; fear and confusion are visible in every face. Darius calmly orders a detachment of his army to repel the invader, and commands thụ amusements to be continued; they are hardiy resumed, before the High Priest of the Sun rushes into the royal presence, and announces all the dangers to be apprehended from the immediate approach of Alexander at the head of his resistless army. A tempest rises, the statue of Darius is struck with lightning, and falls to pieces from its pedestal. The king, filled with apprehension, consults the chief of the Magi on this illboding omen, who reluctantly informs him, that it portends the most lamentable disasters to the state. The Persian monarch, resuming all his spirit, orders the High Priest to dismiss his terrors, consoles the women, encourages the men, represents the injustice of this unprovoked aggression, and is joined by his whole court in an address to the Sun, which they conclude with a solemn vow to perish with their king and country, rather than submit to the ignominy of a foreign yoke ; in this resolution Darius, the royal family, and the Persian army, depart to take the field against Alexander.
THE PLAINS OF ARBELA.
The battle of Arbela :-desperate conflict on the bridge, Darius is totally den feated, his family made captive, and the Persian empire finally overthrown.
THE TENT OF DARIUS.
Sysigambis, Statira, Parisatis, and their attendants, enter the tent, distracted by their fears of what may befal them from the rage of the conquerors, and overwhelmed with grief at the report of the death of Darius.-Alexander, accompanied only by Hephestion, visits his royal captives, who salute Hephestion for the king. Alexander excuses the mistake, raises them from their knees, assures them that Darius is still living, beg's them to believe that the most inviolable respect and honour shall be paid them, and, casting his eyes upon Statira, ins:antly becomes the slave of her beauty. Darius is brought into the tent, followed by Bessus, the wretch who has betrayed and assassinated his gracious master; the murdered prince expires in the arms of his fallen family, having bequeathed his empire to the generous victor, who condemns Bessus to death, in punishment of his treason, decrees all funeral honours to the remains of Darius, which are borne away by his mourning kindred, continues lost in fixed contemplation on Statira's charms, till, roused by Hephestion, he recollects himself, and is persuaded to proceed, and receive the honours which whole nations are assembled to pay him in the city of Babylon.
THE CITY OF BABYLON.
ORDER OF ALEXANDER'S ENTRY. Mazeus, Governor of Babylon Babylonian Infantry-Officers bearing Standa ards--Babylonian Infantry Babylonian Musicians--Slaves carrying perfumes Vol. IV,