Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

'TRILBY'

Haymarket Theatre, 30 October 1895

To readers of Mr. Du Maurier's novel, the most striking feature of the play Trilby (brought last night to the Haymarket Theatre by Mr. Tree from the provinces) is the fidelity with which the leading characters of the story are reproduced on the stage-- a result seldom attained in the case of adaptations. Trilby and Svengali, in particular, live again. For the former character the management have had the good fortune to find an admirable exponent in Miss Dorothea Baird, a young provincial actress, who so far as face and bust go might have been cut out by Nature herself for the now famous heroine of the Latin Quarter. Trilby, by dint of Mr. Du Maurier's graphic portraiture, may almost be said to have become a living acquaintance, and in Miss Dorothea Baird she will be recognized at a glance. Not that the figure here shown is absolutely perfect. The famous Trilby foot is still to seek. In its place we have a fair English substitute, of which due exhibition is made when Trilby, released from her labours as a model, visits the studio of the 'trois Anglisch', Taffy, the Laird, and Little Billee, and kicks off the slippers from her naked feet in token of her return to freedom. The detail is, perhaps, of less importance on the stage than readers of the novel would suppose, since the Trilby foot is at the best indistinctly seen from the auditorium. Even a daub on the wall of the studio passes muster for Little Billee's inspired sketch of that member. Of much greater moment is the faithful reproduction of the Trilby face and physique

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