Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

BETTERTON'S BENEFIT

Will's Coffee-House, April 8

ON Thursday last was acted, for the benefit of Mr. Betterton, the celebrated Comedy call'd Love for Love. Those excellent Players Mrs. Barry, Mrs. Bracegirdle, and Mr. Dogget, though not at present concerned in the House, acted on that Occasion. There has not been known so great a Concourse of Persons of Distinction as at that Time; the Stage it self was cover'd with Gentlemen and Ladies, and when the Curtain was drawn, it discovered even there a very splendid Audience. This unusual Encouragement, which was given to a Play for the Advantage of so great an Actor, gives an undeniable Instance, that the true Relish for manly Entertainments and rational Pleasures is not wholly lost. All the Parts were acted to Perfection: The Actors were careful of their Carriage, and no one was Guilty of the Affectation to insert Witticisms of his own, but a due Respect was had to the Audience, for encouraging this accomplished Player. It is not now doubted but Plays will revive, and take their usual Place in the Opinion of Persons of Wit and Merit, notwithstanding their late Apostacy in favour of Dress and Sound. This Place is very much altered since Mr. Dryden frequented it; where you used to see Songs, Epigrams and Satires, in the Hands of every Man you met, you have now only a Pack of Cards; and instead of the Cavils about the Turn of the Expression, the Elegance of the Stile, and the like, the Learned now dispute only about the Truth of the Game. But however the Company is alter'd; all have shewn a great Respect for Mr.

-44-

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