The ready pens of Messrs. Mark Lemon and Gilbert à Beckett, have furnished a very admirable burlesque to this theatre, "founded," as they assure us, "on a polite request from Madame Celeste," but taken from the old English chivalric legend of "St. George and the Dragon." Putting aside the clever notion worked out with great tact in the plot--that of making the dragon the impersonation of humbug--as well as the sparkling dialogue, which is crammed with jokes, puns, and allusions, the piece has been produced in the most gorgeous style: all the appliances are of first-rate excellence, and the extravaganza, good as it is in itself, has certainly received every adventitious aid from the spirited management.
St. George is performed by Miss Woolgar, a valuable actress in burlesque, where intelligence and perception of humour are required. Mr. Wright is Almidor, a black monarch, paying court to the Princess Sabra (Miss Ellen Chaplin); Mr. Paul Bedford is "great" in all senses as the Dragon, and wears a dress, which is an ingenious compromise between a scaly monster's and a Newmarket "cut-away;" and Mr. Selby is a magnificent Ptolemy.
St. George undertakes the crusade against the Dragon, to win the hand of Sabra, and finally vanquishes him by the Press, which changes to the Spirit of Truth, ingeniously working out the notion above alluded to.
There are so many good things in this burlesque that it is very difficult to select some. Possibly those which follow are amongst the best.
Cuimoth is dressing the hair of Kabyla, the enchantress:--
Cui. (brushing KABYLA'S hair)
A marriage contract:--
Kab. Yon living charger I design for thee
The miseries of royalty:--
Pto. Silence! What! can't my majesty
St. Geo. Is this the office? yes, I'm pretty
sure it is--
The Portland Vase affair:--
Pto. Off with the Dragon's head, its proper
The piece entirely successful, and reflects great credit upon all parties concerned in its production. The applause, when the curtain fell, was genuine and continuous; and Miss Woolgar, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Paul Bedford, were called for, and loudly welcomed by the audience.
Our illustration will be best accompanied by a quotation from the libretto:--
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|Copyright © 1988, 1992, 2013 by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.|
|Originally published by Greenwood Press as The Sans Pareil Theatre 1806-1819, Adelphi Theatre 1819-1850: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers, 1988, and The Adelphi Theatre 1850-1900: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers and Management, 1992.|
|The Adelphi Theatre Calendar revised, reconstructed and amplified. Copyright © 2013, by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License, with the exception of graphics from The Clip Art Book, edited by Gerard Quinn and published by Crescent in 1990. These images are reproduced in accord with the publisher’s note, which states "The Clip Art Book is a new compilation of illustrations that are in the public domain. The individual illustrations are copyright free and may be reproduced without permission or payment. However, the selection of illustrations and their layout is the copyright of the publisher, so that one page or more may not be photocopied or reproduced without first contacting the publishers."|