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The entertainment at tho Victoria Theatre on Saturday night consisted of a reproduction of "One o'clock, or the Knight and the Wood Demon," and a comic drama. Tho first of these was excellent in oharacter and fairly played, but the second was only commendablo from the fact of Mr. Edmund Holloway successfully undertaking in it the impersonation of one of his favourite characters-that of a sailor. The audience was large and some sections of it so enthusiastic in expressing their approval or disapproval of some of the actors' efforts that tho success of tho perform- ances was considerably and unfavourably affected. The first piece hero referred to is an effort of the late Mark Lemon's, atone timo editor of London Punch, and it is tho result of such efforts as it would have pleased that gentle- man's genial mind to exercise/ It is a fabrication in which legend, romance, sentiment, and humour are so cleverly and subtly blended that neither element appears ^predominant, it would bo difficult to determine
whether Mr. Lemon wrote this melodrama in a humourous or a serious vein, or whether he intended it for a comedy or a drama ; but ccViain it is that it would provide excellent material for a pautomime. the moral of which might be that evil proceedings invariably recoil ou those who conceive thom. The story of the play is to the effect that a certain human being, disfavoured by'birth and disfigured b)'nature, undertakes to provide a human sacrifice at ono o'clock on a fixed day every year for a wood demon, who gives him riches and power for doing so. There is, of course, a hor- rible penalty attached to this agreement, and it is to tho effect that unless tho sacrifice is punctually provided, tho knight not only resumes his former ugliness, but is to be appropriated to infernal purposes. It will thus be seen that there is a mixture of Faust, Don Giovanni, Der Freischutz, and the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan in tho drama, tho punishment of the evil genius of tho play being very similar to those awarded in the instances referred to, but arising from somewhat different causes. The first act of tho play is devoted almost exclu- sively to an iutroduction of the personages whoso actions go to make up the plot. Tho victim of the Knight, iu his last effort to propitiate the demon, is a dumb boy, a relative of Una, the Knight's affianced bride. Una is unaware of the Knight's truo character, but Clotilda, her sister, has heard of it, and discovers tho plot against the boy. A scheme is elaborated for getting the boy Leolyn out of harm's way, but the Knight becomes cognisant of it and locks the boy in tho secret cavern his former victims were sacrificed in. Una releases tho boy just as the Knight enters to kill him. The Knight thereupon informs Una that sho must bo sacrificed instead of the escaped Leolyn, but the boy, whoso quick perception has taken in all the circumstances of the scenes enacted around him, pushes for- ward the hands of tho clock the Knight is taking his time by ; tho clock strikes one, and as there has been no sacrifico, the inexorablo wood demon seteos tifo Knight and descends with him to regions better imagined than described. These interesting details were set forth in a compre- hensible manner, and the audience in all parts of the theatre applauded most of them with much fervour. Mr. E. Holloway took tho part of the wicked knight, Miss Anstead that of the unfortunate Una, Miss Holloway that of Clotilda, Miss Daniels that of Paulina, and Miss B. Murray that of Leolyn. Mr. Bland Holt undertook tho role of"" Willikind," the humorous individual of tho plot; and the remaining characters were apportioned as tho strength of tho company would permit. All the actors played with evenness and manifest care, but the efforts of lioueofthem call for special commendation. Tho second piece, entitled " A Middy on Shore," was completely marred by interruptions, having their origin amongst the " gods ;!*' and, therefore, it is impossible to say whether it
would havo been a success or no.
That excellent specimen of a melodrama of the good old school " Jonathan Bradford, or tho Murder at the Roadside Inn," was produced at the Queen's Theatre on Saturday ovening. Mr. Booth, as- Jonathan Bradford, and Miss Kato Douglass, as Anno Bradford, performed the parts allotted them to the satisfaction of the numerous audience; whilst Mr. Russell, as the villain of the piece, Macraisy, added another to his list of successful delineations. The scenic effects were well prepared, the quadrupled rooms sceno in particular being a triumph of stage mechanism. This evening " Uncle Tom's Cabin" will once more bo pro- duced, aud it is announced that it will hold possession of
the boards for the remainder of the week.
All over the world balloon ascents aro events which greatly exercise tho public mind, and it is no wonder that the attempt made by Mr. L'Estrange on Saturday afternoon attracted as much attention as it did. Mr. L'Estrange was tho first man in Australia who successfully imitated if he did not equal tho original Blondín, and this circumstance tended to render the publio confidence greater than it otherwise would have been. Ho has never attempted anything that ho has not accomplished, and this served to inoreaso tho impression that balloon-ascent failures in Sydney would be relieved by ono success. Early in tho afternoon crowds of people assembled in tho vicinity of Prince Alfred Park. Many paid for admission to enter the grounds, but very manv moro occu- pied vantage grounds outsido, from which ftcv could see what was going on within the enclosure. Tho "inflation of the balloon had beca commenced at six o'clock, undera con- tract with tho Gas Company to supply 50,000 feet of gas. Early in tho day's proceedings it was rendered evident by the "slack" Bides of tho intended aerial voyagant that there had been a hitch somewhere, and this was con- firmed by what subsequently happened. Tho balloon which should assumo a spherical shape when filled with gas presented up to after four o'clock moro the appearanco of a top-heavy pillar than anything else, and even after that the upper portion of it did not seem to swell to a:iy material extent. Those who were present were exceedingly orderly until shortly after five o'clock, when tho larrikin element commenced to riso to the surface. Whether tho Gas Company did not supply sufficient gas of good quality or what, it is difficult to say. One thing is certain-the balloon ascent was a failure." Mr. L'Estrange, more perhaps to satisfy the public that ho was honest than anything else, entered tho car when thero was only sufficient gas in the baloon to ekim tho ground, and a ridge in tho contour of the park mado him effectually kiss mother earth. The balloon was again brought back to a starting point, and after a little delay Mr. L'Estrango started away without the car and hanging on to tho ring alone on what most people there considered a very foolish errand. Tho wind underneath the voyagant caught the parachute and raised it high enough to encouroge Mr. L'Estrange to make the at- tempt which ho did, and when the wind failed he landed in a sort of obtuse anglo position on. a railwav truck, where the people from the Park quiokly followed him and assisted In helping him through his difficulties. The attempt to go, under the circumstances, ought never to have been made. He had no hope of avoidmg chimnova and church steeples, and in that case ought certainly to havo been stopped from tempting Providence ia the way ho did. As it was Mr. L'Estrango landed safelv on the truck, and with great presence of mind opened'the valvo to allow tho gas to escape, at tho same tirae that, he clutched hold of the side of the truck wi'Ji both logs. Mr. Evans, the station master, happened to be close to the place at the time, and lent Mr, L'Estiaago very generous aid not only in holding back the balloon, but also in securing its safe custody. As it is it is considerably injured, but the injuries aro not of such a nature as to necessitate a long delay in their being made good. As Mr L'Estrange returned into the Exhibition building he wiw carried shoulder high in honour of what was generallv considered u plucky attempt, which it cer- tainly was, and the excitement was so great that ho was obliged to appear at the door of tho build- ing and address the assembled spectators. In a few words he stated that ha had endeavoured, as. far as ho could to moke the affair a success, that the failure was owing to the Gas Company, and that those who had obtained ttob&ts of admission would be allowed in free on the next occasion when he intended to essay an ascent. The pipe that was laid on to tho balloon was only throe inches in ammeter and not only is this not considered sufflolont, but it is'said that the gas was very dense, and that tho pressure, owintr to faulty reticulation and leakage of the pipes was-very f slight. It is likely that nest Saturday another attempt to i rise will be made hy Mr. L'Estrange. '