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Nebraska State Journal

January 10, 1894
page 6


[Editorial note: Cather's review is preceded by another review of "Gloriana," signed "S.J.P."]

Even the Servants Were Ideal.

It is hard to say anything about "Gloriana" until one has got over the effects of laughing at it, and unfortunately one doesn't get over the effects of laughing at it until it is entirely too late to say anything. In this age of the world no playwright has audacity enough to attempt tragedies; everyone writes comedies. The author of "Gloriana" seems to have been more successful than most of his contemporaries because he has been more modest. He has made his cast a small one, but he has made every character unique. There are no parts written to fill up space or to set other parts off to advantage. Every character was created, developed and acted for itself. Mr. Mortimer has put some of his best work on the servants.

The conventional stage ladies' maid has become so trite that in these days she is taken for granted to possess remarkable personal charms or a make up box of the first quality; it is seldom that an opera glass is raised in her direction. Certainly Miss Barnum as Kitty overthrew all one's ideas of ladies' maids. She resorted to neither personal charms nor bewitching grace, she had recourse alone to art and costume. Her realism was relentless, often cruel. That realism which calls up the shuddering memories of one's old housemaids is infinitely more brutal than that which recalls the sobs of old sweethearts or the pangs of one's first love.

Mr. Alf Hampton as Spinks lingers in one's memory. His lower jaw is, if natural, a gift from heaven, if artificial, an achievement of genius. His English dialect was a revelation. "Never man spake like this man before," especially the "Ow-w-w!" There is no reason why the heavy valet should not be as great a figure as the heavy father or the heavy villian.

The pleasant sense of novelty that one gets from the play is largely due to the character of Count Evetoff . The Russian has been introduced into English novels with great success, but this is his first appearance in English comedy and it is a new thing under the sun, or, what is infinitely rarer, a new thing behind the footlights. The Russian type is largely exaggerated, of course, but one goes to the theater to see exaggerations if only they are neatly done. Moreover, the character of the count presents a new kind of dialect, and an altogether new shade of complexion and necktie, which are advantages that cannot be overestimated.

W. C.
At the Funke

Quite a crowded house filled the Funke last evening to see The Hall-Crowell company present "Satan's Foot Ball." The play is a rather pleasing one, interspersed with many specialties in singing and dancing of a pleasing character. Miss Crowell was given an opportunity to show her powers and fully demonstrated her ability to hold her own.