Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

IRVING IN SHAKESPEARE

Hamlet: Lyceum Theatre, November 1874

ALTHOUGH Mr. Irving has on several occasions played Hamlet in the provinces, he has now assumed the part for the first time in London. His performance attracted a very large audience, and, it may be said at once, secured every evidence of complete success. Mr. Irving was applauded as though he were another Garrick; he was recalled at every opportunity, and rewarded with as many crowns of laurel wreaths and bouquets of flowers as though he had been Mdme. Patti herself. This enthusiasm was no doubt excessive, but it may not be condemned as spurious, although certainly containing a suspicious element. Mr. Irving's Hamlet is the conscientious effort of an intelligent and experienced player, and presents just claims to respectful consideration and a fair measure of approval. It seemed, however, that the audience were predisposed to form an exaggerated estimate of the merits of the performance. In truth, the difficulty of winning favour in such a part as Hamlet is less great than is generally supposed. The character is well known among players to be secure of applause to any representative possessed of certain physical qualifications, some knowledge of the stage, and thorough acquaintance with the words of the play. Indeed, it is difficult to call to mind any representation of Hamlet which did not elicit abundance of applause for its leading player: the actor of Hamlet is so helped by the nature

____________________
1
Extracts from Dutton Cook's extended notices of these productions.

-162-

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Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • London Theatres in the 1660s 21
  • Betterton's Benefit 44
  • Thomas Betterton 46
  • Garrick's First Performance in London 60
  • Mr. Partridge Sees Garrick 63
  • 'the Beggar's Opera': 18th Century 69
  • Mrs. Siddons 84
  • Others--And Mrs. Siddons 89
  • 'the Beggar's Opera': 19th Century 93
  • Kean as Richard the Third 96
  • On Actors and Acting 101
  • On the Artificial Comedy of The Last Century 112
  • Phelps at Sadler's Wells 123
  • At the Pantomime 130
  • 'Caste' 132
  • On Natural Acting 142
  • Ellen Terry 154
  • Ellen Terry 159
  • Irving in Shakespeare 162
  • 'Ghosts' 182
  • 'Arms and the Man' 190
  • 'trilby' 198
  • Donkey Races 203
  • Forbes Robertson's Hamlet 208
  • 'trelawny of the "Wells"' 218
  • F. R. Benson's Richard II 222
  • Dan Leno 231
  • The Wild Duck' 237
  • 'the Playboy of the Western World'1 248
  • P. D. Kenny 254
  • Granville Barker's Production Of 'twelfth Night' 260
  • 'the Pretenders' 264
  • 'A Bill of Divorcement' 282
  • The Search for the Masterpiece 290
  • 'Peer Gynt' at the Old Vic 294
  • Marie Lloyd 297
  • 'the Way of the World' 302
  • 'Hamlet' in Modern Dress 307
  • A Creator 312
  • Biblical 'tobias and the Angel' 316
  • 'twelfth Night' at the Old Vic 321
  • 'Murder in the Cathedral' 326
  • 'As You like It' at the Old Vic 329
  • Editor's Note 331
  • Descriptive Index 333
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