This burletta helps to develop the plan which it is the intention of the “council” to follow up in their agonising efforts to resuscitate the expiring drama. They, it is clear, mean to make the stage a vehicle for instruction.
Miss Martineau wrote a novel called “Berkeley the Banker,” to teach political economy—the “council” have produced “Enjoyment” as an eating-house keepers’ manual, complete in one act. This mode of dramatising the various guides to “trade” and to “service” is, however, to our taste, more edifying than amusing; for much of the author’s learning is thrown away upon the mass of audiences, who are only waiters between the acts. They cannot appreciate the nice distinctions between “buttocks and rounds,” neither does everybody perceive the wit of Joey’s elegant toast, “Cheap beef and two-pence for the waiter!” This kind of erudition—like that expended upon Chinese literature and the arrow-headed hieroglyphics of Asia Minor—is confined to too small a class of the public for extensive popularity, though it may be highly amusing to the table-d’hote and ham-and-beef interest.
The chief beauty of the plot is its extreme simplicity; a half-dozen words will describe it:—Mr. Bang goes out for a day’s “Enjoyment,” and is disappointed! This is the head and front of the farceur’s offending—no more. Any person eminently gifted with patience, and anxious to give it a fair trial, cannot have a better opportunity of testing it than by spending a couple of hours in seeing that single incident drag its slow length along, and witnessing a new comedian, named Bass, roll his heavy breadth about in hard-working attempts to be droll. As a specimen of manual labour in comedy, we never saw the acting of this debutant equalled.
We are happy to find that, determined to give “living English dramatists a clear stage and fair play,” the “Council” are bringing forward a series of stale translations from the French in rapid succession. The “Married Rake,” and “Perfection,”—one by an author no longer “living,” both loans from the Magasin Theatral—have already appeared.
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The members of this institution have, with their usual liberality, given the use of their Galleries for the exhibition of the pictures selected by the prize-holders of the Art-Union of London of the present year. The works chosen are 133 in number; and as they are the representatives of “charming variety,” it is naturally to be expected that, in most instances, the selection does not proclaim that perfect knowledge of the material from which the 133 jewel-hunters have had each an opportunity of choosing; nevertheless, it is a blessed reflection, and a proof of the philanthropic adaptation of society to societies’ means—a beneficent dovetailing—an union of sympathies—that