Mr. J. Webster, as Captain Harcourt, played as well as he could: and so did Mr. Webster as Lieutenant Varley, which was very well indeed, for he cannot perform anything badly, were he to try. An Irish cornet, in the mouth of Mr. F. Vining, was bereft of his proper brogue; but this loss was the less felt, as Mr. Gough personated the English Major with the rale Tipperary tongue. Mrs. Grosdenap was a perfect governess in the hands of Mrs. Clifford, and the hoydens she presided over exhibited true specimens of a finishing school, especially Miss P. Horton;—that careful and pleasing artiste, who stamps character upon everything she does, and individuality upon everything she says. In short, all the parts in the “Boarding School” are so well acted, that one cannot help regretting when it breaks up for the evening. The circulars issued by its proprietors announce that it will be open every night, from ten till eleven, up to the Christmas holidays.
As a subject, this is a perfectly fair, nay, moral one; despite some silly opinions that have stated to the contrary. Satire, when based upon truth, is the highest province of the stage, which enables us to laugh away folly and wickedness, when they cannot be banished by direct exposure. Ladies’ boarding-schools form, in the mass, a gross and fearful evil, to which the Haymarket author has cleverly awakened attention. Why they are an evil, might be easily proved, but a theatrical critique in PUNCH is not precisely the place for a discussion on female education.
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The “Council of the Dramatic Authors’ Theatre” enticed us from home on Monday last, by promising what as yet they have been unable to perform—“Enjoyment.” As usual, they obtained our company under false pretences: for if any “enjoyment” were afforded by their new farce, the actors had it all to themselves.
It is astonishing how vain some authors are of their knowledge of any particular subject. Brewster monopolises that of the polarization of light and kaleidoscopes—poor Davy surfeited us with choke damps and the safety lantern—the author of “Enjoyment” is great on the subject of cook-shops; the whole production being, in fact, a dramatic lecture on the “slap-bang” system. Mr. Bang, the principal character, is the master of an eating-house, to which establishment all the other persons in the piece belong, and all are made to display the author’s practical knowledge of the internal economy of a cook-shop. Endless are the jokes about sausages—roast and boiled beef are cut, and come to again, for a great variety of facetiae—in short, the entire stock of fun is cooked up from the bill of fare. The master gives his instructions to his “cutter” about “working up the stale gravy” with the utmost precision, and the “sarver out” undergoes a course of instruction highly edifying to inexperienced waiters.