There are few sensations more agreeable than that experienced on going into a theatre prepared to witness a very bad performance and seeing a comparatively good one. The Fowler company presented "Married for Money" at the New Funke last night in a manner that would have been creditable to a company of larger pretensions. Their first night was rather unfortunate, as the actors were not thoroughly familiar with their parts, and the play was of too serious a nature to suit the capacities of the company. The entire company is best fitted for comedy, and in it they make no mean showing. Last night they presented a comedy and presented it very well: While some of the specialties were a little tiresome, there were several members of the company that amply repaid the patience of the audience. The stage settings also deserve especial mention, as they were both elaborate and artistic.
Mr. Hal W. Brown is really a comedian of considerable promise. Talent, thank heaven, is independent of surroundings: it is just as genuine and just as hopeful in a repertoire company as it is in the Empire theatre. Surroundings cannot add or detract an inch from its stature. Undoubtedly Mr. Brown has some talent for comedy; his acting is quiet, free from violent gesture, and has somewhere in it the real element of comedy. He needs to cultivate quick play of facial expression and to introduce more little tricks of stage business, and he is content to be altogether too conventional in his reading, but there are plenty of men in the upper walks of comedy who were once no whit better comedians than Mr. Brown.
Mr. Joseph Bennett played a difficult part with intelligent consistency. His representation of the gouty, weak-chested old earl who assumes the young lover at seventy was really very good. Mrs. J. H. Casey as Mrs. Mopus showed knowledge of the best methods of comedy, and she must have acted in better companies than this one pretends to be. Though her Mrs. Jennie Kimbal physique would be a drawback to her in many roles, in this one it only emphasized her clever acting. For some reason it is always inexpressibly funny to see 275 large, liberal, florid pounds faint away calling pitifully upon the object of their affection. Two hundred and seventy-five pounds can do things on such a large scale. Miss Maggie Miller as Simpkins was much more pleasing as a soubrette than as the erring wife the night before. Once a soubrette, always a soubrette. It is a fatal mistake to transpose her into the serious, and a clever soubrette is worth twenty erring wives anyway.