|Title:||A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
|Description:||Amateur Performance at the Adelphi Theatre: Scene from A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing (by Tom Taylor).
|1st Performance:||Oct 1, 1866
|Source:||The Illustrated London News, May 18, 1867, p. 501
|See Source:||Go to Source Images (9.3 MB)
|Review:||The Illustrated London News, May 18, 1867, p. 502
SCENE FROM "A SHEEP IN WOLF'S CLOTHING,"
PERFORMED AT THE ADELPHI, MAY 11.
Our engraving represents the crisis in the play of "A Sheep in Wolf's
Clothing," which was performed at the Adelphi Theatre, in the afternoon of
last Saturday, in aid of the fund for the benefit of the family of the late
Mr. C. H. Bennett, the eminent artist. The "situation" is this.
The date of the play is the time when, Monmouth's rebellion having been suppressed,
Colonel Kirke was sent into the west to inflict savage retribution. A
friend of Monmouth's, Jasper Carew, who escaped from Sedgemoor, has been
secreted in his own house, with the knowledge of his faithful and loving wife alone,
and Colonel Kirke, supposing her to be a rich widow, has been courting her. To
save her husband, the wife, Anne Carew, has pretended not only to be an enemy of the
rebels but to hate the memory of her husband, and has sent away their child for fear
of her detecting the presence of her father. But, for the purpose of the drama, a situation
is contrived in
which the three indulge their affection and are suddenly surprised by the deceived
and vengeful Kirke. "So, a very pretty family group!" is his
exclamation, and he proceeds to threats of execution, when Lord Churchill enters to
supersede him and make all happy. The figures are those of the odious Kirke
(Mr. Mark Lemon), of Jasper Carew (Mr. Tom Taylor), his wife (Miss Kate Terry), and
the child (Florence Terry), and the closet behind is the place where Carew had been concealed.
The play was part of the entertainment for the excellent purpose we have
mentioned. It was necessary to raise the fund on account of Mr. Bennett's
premature death and the fragility of his health having precluded life assurance.
His colleagues in the production of Punch determined upon making a strong
effort on the occasion, and they arranged a most attractive afternoon. Mr. Arthur Sullivan, the most talented
of our younger composers had, in conjunction with Mr. Burnand, converted the
favourite piece of "Box and Cox" into an operetta of the most ludicrous
description, and this was the opening performance, Mr. Sullivan conducting, and
the piece being played by Mr. Du Maurier, Mr. Quinten, and Mr. Arthur Blunt. It
went with enormous éclat, and the performers were called before the
curtain. The celebrated amateurs known as the Moray Minstrels (from their
chiefly performing as Moray Lodge, the
Mr. Arthur Lewis) then gave a number of delicious part-songs and madrigals,
executed in a style seldom heard in a theatre. Between the two portions
of this music, Mr. Shirley Brooks came on and delivered an address, written by
himself, and it was enthusiastically received. We extract a few lines which
describe the object of the effort and the character of Mr. Bennett:--
Only, some friends of a lost friend, whose name
Is all the inheritance his children claim
(Save memory of his goodness), think it due
To make some brief acknowledgment to you.
Brief, but not cold--some thanks that you have come
And helped us to secure that saddened home
Where eight young mourners round a mother weep
A fond and dear-loved father's early sleep.
Take it from us--and with this word we end
All sad allusion to our parted friend,
That for a better purpose generous hearts
Ne'er prompted liberal hands to do their parts.
You knew his power, his satire keen but fair,
And the rich fancy served by skill as rare.
You did not know, except some friendly few,
That he was earnest, gentle, patient, true.
A better soldier doth Life's battle lack,
And he has died with harness on his back.
The music was succeeded by the performance of the play whence our illustration
is taken, and in which, in addition to the performers we have named, Mr. Tenniel,
Mr. Burnand, Mr. Silver, Mr. Pritchett, Mrs Watts (Miss Terry's sister), Mrs. Stoker,
Mr. Horace Mayhew and Mr. Shirley Brooks acted. Mr. Lemon is a skilled
actor, and acquitted himself better than the majority of professionals could have
done; but all his coadjutors threw themselves earnestly into the work and would not have
been taken for amateurs. After the play, came Offenbach's famous bit of fun
with the two blind French beggars (Messrs. Du Maurier and Harold Power), and this
was acted to perfection. And then one of the most remarkable and brilliant
audiences ever collected dispersed, just in time to leave the theatre (kindly given,
free of other expense than the servants' wages, by Mr. Benjamin Webster) to the ordinary
British public. A large sum was obtained by the performance, but we understand that much more
is wanted; and
we end this account, therefore, by again recommending the cause to the attention of our readers.