This unexpected hot weather has visited the public with many a “Midsummer night’s dream,” although it is—and Covent Garden has opened because it is September; Sheridan’s “Critic” has been very busy there, though PUNCH’S has had nothing to do. “London Assurance” is still seen to much advantage, and so is Madame Vestris.
The Haymarket manager continues to wade knee-deep in tragedy, in spite of the state of the weather. The fare is, however, too good for any change in the carte. “Werner” forms a substantial standing dish. The “Boarding School” makes a most palpable entree; while “Bob Short,” and “My Friend the Captain,” serve as excellent after-courses. The promises recorded in the Haymarket bills are, a new tragedy by a new author, and an old comedy called “Riches;” a certain hit, if the continued success of “Money” be any criterion.
It is with feelings of the most rabid indignation that we approach the Strand Theatre, and the ruthless threat its announcements put forth of the future destruction of the only legitimate drama that is now left amongst us; that is to say, “PUNCH.” When Thespis and his pupil Phynicus “came out” at the feasts of Bacchus; when “Roscius was an actor in Rome;” when Scaramouch turned the Materia Medica into a farce, and became a quack doctor in Italy; when Richardson set up his show in England—all these geniuses were peregrinate, peripatetic—their scenes were really moving ones, their tragic woes went upon wheels, their comedies were run through at the rate of so many miles per hour; the entire drama was, in fact, a travelling concern. Punch, the concentrated essence of all these, has, up to this date, preserved the pristine purity of his peripatetic fame; he still remains on circuit, he still retains his legitimacy. But, alas! ere this sheet has passed through the press, while its ink is yet as wet as our dear Judy’s eyes, he will have fallen from his high estate: Hall will have housed him! Punch will have taken a stationary stand at the Strand Theatre!! The last stroke will have been given to the only ancient drama remaining, except the tragedies of Sophocles, and “Gammer Gurton’s Needle.”
With feelings of both sorrow and anger, we turn from the pedestrian to the equestrian drama. The Surrey has again, as of yore, become the Circus; she has been joined to Ducrow and his stud by the usual symbol of union—a ring. “Mazeppa” is ridden by Mr. Cartlitch, with great success, and the wild horse performed by an animal so highly trained, that it is as tame as a lap-dog—has galloped through a score or so of nights, to the delight of some thousands of spectators. The scenes in the circle exhibit the usual round of entertainment, and the Merryman delivers those reliques of antique facetiae which have descended to the clowns of the ring from generation to generation, without the smallest innovation. Thus the Surrey shows symptoms of high prosperity, and properly declines to fly in Fortune’s face by attempting novelty.