The Theatre : a monthly review of the drama, music, and the fine arts ; edited by Clement Scott
Four short items published in 1880

1. AMUSEMENTS IN AMERICA. The Theatre 1880 February New [3rd] series 1: 98 [unsigned review]

[the following review forms the first paragraph, on page 98, of a three-page survey of theatrical events in New York]

NEW YORK, January, 1880
THE past month has witnessed the production of several novelties at the various theatres of this metropolis, decidedly the most important of which has been Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's new opera comique "Pirates of Penzance." It was first presented on Wednesday, December 31st, at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, before an exceedingly brilliant audience. A great success. If you compare it with "Pinafore," you will discover that, as far as plot goes, it is vastly its superior, and that its language and humour are of a higher and more subtle order. The music, too, is much more elaborate and better orchestrated, but then it is not so catching and mirthful. The humour of the piece consists in the gravity of the music, applied to the most ridiculous situations imaginable. The acting and singing were capital. I cannot say I admired Mr. Ryley's Major-General as much as I did Tom Whiffen's Admiral [sic] Porter, one of the very funniest and most intelligent performances I ever beheld. But still, Mr. Ryley's acting and singing were excellent. Capital also was Mr. Broccolini as Richard, the Pirate Chief. Mr. Hugh Talbot was clever as the Apprentice; and Mr. Furneaux Cook made us roar as the Lieutenant Samuel. The ladies were charming. Miss Blanche Roosevelt availed herself of every opportunity to achieve success, and succeeded in obtaining it; and Miss Alice Barnett was so excellent as Ruth, "the pirating maid of all work," that she may be fairly pronounced to have "created" a part as distinct as any seen on the stage here in some time. It was an original and delightful performance. Need I add that everything went, as it always does at the Fifth Avenue, on "oiled wheels," and that the applause was boisterous, and that the encores prolonged the entertainment at least an hour beyond the limit originally fixed for it? Of course, Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan had to appear again and again before the curtain, and bow their thanks to the amused and delighted audience. Although, for my part, I prefer the "Pinafore," I think there will be found many in England who will willingly give the palm to the "Pirates."


2. Our Omnibus-Box. The Theatre 1880 April 1 New [3rd.] series 1: 252 [unsigned]

[the complete "Our Omnibus-Box" section occupies pp. 249-254 of this issue]

    Mr. W. S. Gilbert and Mr. Arthur Sullivan have arrived in England, flushed with their American victory. On landing it was discovered that the score of the famous "Pirates of Penzance" was missing, and great was the consternation at the Opéra Comique Theatre, where George Grossmith and Rutland Barrington were awaiting a taste of the delectable music, and a read of the inimitable libretto. Luckily the missing packet "turned up," having travelled twice across the Atlantic, and the play which we all anticipate with so much eagerness has been for some time in active rehearsal.


3. Our Omnibus-Box. The Theatre 1880 June 1 New [3rd.] series 1: 373 [unsigned]

[the complete "Our Omnibus-Box" section occupies pp. 370-374 of this issue]

    "The 'Penzance' is mightier than mere words," said Mr. Gilbert to Mr. Sullivan, after reading an unfavourable criticism in an American paper on their latest production.


4. Our Omnibus-Box. The Theatre 1880 December 1 New [3rd.] series 2: 373 [unsigned review]

[the complete "Our Omnibus-Box" section occupies pp. 371-378 of this issue]

    The first of the two companies formed by Mr. D'Oyley [sic] Carte for the production of "The Pirates of Penzance" in the provinces has begun its tour. It started in October at Bristol, where it remained a fortnight, going thence to Brighton, Nottingham, and other places. It is not quite up to the standard of the troupe which introduced "The Sorcerer" and "H.M.S. Pinafore" to provincial audiences; but it gives a fairly effective and very popular performance of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's latest work. The chorus has been well trained, and does its duty excellently, both in the vocal portions and in that automatic species of histrionics which Mr. Gilbert cultivates in the minor actors of his pieces. The part of Mabel is undertaken by a young lady Miss Laura Clement who adds to an attractive appearance the possession of a light soprano, which is clear and tolerably flexible, though thin. Miss Augusta Roche is the representative of Ruth, and sings and acts acceptably. Mr. Gerard Coventry, the Frederick, and Mr. G. W. Marnock, the Pirate King, both play appropriately; but the former is as weak vocally as the latter is exuberant. The most successful impersonation is certainly that of Mr. David Fisher, jun., whose performance of the Major-General, both as regards acting and vocalisation, will, no doubt, be regarded by some as superior even to that of the London holder of the part. It should be added that Mr. Marler realises the humours of the Sergeant of Police, and that his principal song, like the patter ditty of the Major-General, is, of necessity, invariably encored. Mr. D'Oyley [sic] Carte's second company starts, it is understood, at Christmas. There can be no doubt that "The Pirates" is destined to have a very successful career out of London.


transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 13 and 27 November 2000