Harvey Bradley Dodworth
Play With Music
10 May 2012
“Alteration of Time.” Program now begins at 7:30 pm.
“Niblo’s Garden. Mr. and Mrs. Barney Williams began an engagement at this theatre last evening. There was an immense audience, which filled not only the seats, but the aisles, the lobbies and the staris. The laughter and applause was almost incessant. The play was Gayler’s Connie Soogah, which had a success last season, and which was produced with fine scenery, splendid effects, new songs, plenty of dances, and crowds of supernumeraries. That the Irish drama is exceedingly popular nobody can deny. Why should it be so, is a question that puzzles the critics and the philosophers. The wonder of it is that the same sort of business has been popular for ever so many years. . . .So surely as Barney Williams puts his name upon the bills, so surely the theatre is jammed. People follow each other like sheep to the slaughter, and the newspapers follow the people. Shrewd enough to perceive the additional attractions of the Boucicault style of Irish drama, Mr. Williams has adopted it in the Connie Soogah, and finds it tremendously profitable. How to reconcile his overcrowded audiences with our own convictions of the merits of this sort of plays is a problem. But of the style, such as it is, Mr. Williams now has the monopoly. There is no other actor in the country, whom we can now remember, who adheres strictly to Irish parts. Mrs. Williams plays Yankee and Irish girls alike, and displays her singing and fine dancing in protean pieces, also. We are quite tired of predicting the decline and fall of the Irish drama; for it revives after every blow, as if it has as many lives as a cat. We are content, therefore, with chronicling its successes without explaining them.”
No mention of music. “The house was crowded to its greatest capacity.”
Long review; not much mention of music. “Niblo’s Garden was crowded on Monday evening of last week with a large number of sight seekers, all anxious to welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Barney Williams to the scene of their former triumphs. The lobbies, stalls, dress-circle, upper tier, and gallery were filled to overflowing with admirers of the ‘couple.’ Every one wore a smiling face, and whole families could be seen there, from the child in arms up to the gray-haired grandfather of seventy. The people, though tightly packed together, were not at all disorderly, but good humor was everywhere prevalent. It must be very trying for a stout man to find himself suddenly jammed against the back of a seat, and to have two or three individuals seize him by the arm and, raising themselves on tip-toe, gaze calmly over his shoulders. Yet, we beheld one so situated, and could not help but pity him for ‘he was stirr’d with such an agony, he sweat extremely.’ We hardly think it is right and proper to bring children to places of amusement, for in spite of all coaxing and lavish distribution of candy, they will occasionally howl. Music is at all times preferable to the cry of an infant, and when we go to hear an orchestra under the able direction of Dodworth, we do not care to put up with something inferior. . . . The Irish drama seems to have taken a hold on the hearts of the people of this city.”