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2-176 (Text)

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addressee author,male,True Colonist,un
Newspaper Article
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Public Written
Newspapers & Broadsides
Webby, 1989
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On Monday night we went to see the opening of the New Theatre, but we were prevented from getting there until the performance had commenced. We understand that Mr Cameron spoke an address, of which we have not, at the period of this writing, been able to obtain a copy. He also apologised for the absence of four of the performers who had been announced in the bills. The upper boxes were quite full, as also was the gallery, and there was very little spare room in the pit or in the lower boxes, which last were all occupied by respectable people. The whole appearance of the house will be very elegant when properly lighted. The scenery is equal to any in any theatre in Britain Out of London. The drop scene is particularly beautiful; it is copied from a print (in one of the Annuals) of Byron's Dream, and looks really like a highly-finished oil painting. The scenery was not well worked, which in some parts spoiled the effect. The audience part of the house was very badly lighted by a temporary affair, composed of several concentric rings of iron in the shape of something like an inverted cone with the apex cut off; these rings being stuck over with tin lamps and glass chimneys, but no globes. This house can never be properly lighted without bracket lamps all around the box circle. We would here suggest to the proprietors whether it would not be to their advantage even in a pecuniary point of view to light the house with gas - the convenience of such an arrangement, especially for the stage lights cannot, we apprehend, be questioned. The apparatus could be furnished by an ingenious artisan of Hobart Town at a reasonable cost.  The pillars of the proscenium are tastefully gilt, and the whole surmounted with an escutcheon of the Royal Arms. Opposite the proscenium is a motto in Latin, "mores mollir" which our "Little Particular" translates "mollify your morals", for which purpose the managers and moral protecting magistrates have very considerately licensed the "Shades below", where all sorts of stimulants, the use of which is so well adapted for "mollifying" any rigidity of "morals" the play-going youth may possess, are to be had in abundance. The saloons being also part and parcel of the licensed house, all the means necessary in the shape of liquors for inflaming the passions and destroying the reason are to be found there. We believe that this is the only theatre in the British dominions that has attached to the same building a licence to sell spirits. Now it was generally understood that the object of the proprietors of the new theatre was to soften the manners, and to render more rigid, not to "mollify" the morals. We question much whether this grog selling in the Theatre will not have an effect directly opposed to that which the shareholders professed to have in view. We would recommend the managers to place lights in the passage at the back of the lower tier of boxes; we have heard some very equivocal remarks about the purpose for which this passage was (said to be avowedly) kept in darkness. Smoking in the saloon ought not to be permitted - let this indulgence be entirely confined to the "shades below"; we like our cigar as well as any of the swaggering smokers, but we could never think of indulging in it where the fumes must annoy one person, much less when they annoy some hundreds.
The acting was on the whole decidedly below mediocrity; but the novelty and beauty of the house kept the audience in good humour throughout the evening. Mrs THOMPSON, the star of the night is, we understand, a newcomer, but very respectably connected in the Colony. We understand that in her early youth she was a favourite performer on the London boards, and at the period she would no doubt have made a very pretty interesting "Little Pickle," but when she tried that character here on Monday night, she must have forgot that she is not now so young as she was twelve years ago.. . . We make every allowance for the first performance in a new house, and as we have said before the beauty of the house, scenery, and decorations will for a time take attention off the failings of the players, but the Committee must get Meredith, or they cannot get on while he keeps his little theatre open, for any person who likes to laugh at a play must enjoy one hour of Meredith's acting more than all the vapid entertainment of seeing and hearing his substitutes at the new theatre, with all the advantages of a really elegant house and excellent scenery.
We would recommend gentlemen to walk in the box doors in place of jumping over the back partition, and wiping their dirty boots on ladies' silk dresses. The public expect some regard to decency and good manners in persons who occupy the dress circle, they must learn to behave themselves or seek associates of a more congenial habit, in the "dark corners" of the house.  The press will soon drive them out of the dress circle if they cannot behave themselves.