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ROYAL STANDARD THEATRE.
The 8tanJard Theatre was well filled on Saturday evening
with an enthusiastic audience, that thoroughly appreciated |
Mr. Alfred Damplor's new drama in five aots, " An Eng- i lish Lass." Tho last play at this theatre is of the police
van order, and as theatrical audiences havo of reoent years | been subject to periodical attacks of drainatia gaol fever, the production of "An English Lass" at this theatre should prove as successful as its popular predecessor, "lho Term of His Natural Life," which had a run of six weeks. The particular cause cèlçbre whioh the author has unearthed is that of Margaret Catch- pole, a bygono notoriety who, according to the Novvgate calendar, was very properly punished by .transportation for life, but who in the colonies redeemed the past. Mr. Dampier, however, actuated by a laudable desire for Btago effect rather than strict fidelity to faot, has etherialiefd his heroine into a sinned agau»t and suffering woman, and her firt>t offence against tho law into a deed of supromo Belf-abnega tion. The first two acts of the new fablo take place ut Nagton, Suffolk, England. Margarot Catohpolo, the motherless daughter of a homoly old-world farmor, is botrothed and deeply attached to a smuggler, Captain Will Laud. When "the scene opens she is just gently dismissing a true ndmiror of her'», John Barry, who, failing to win nor, means to seek fortune in a
now world. Will Laud then arrives on the scene with bete
noir John Luff. Land is gladly welcomed by Margarot, and at lost, touched by (ruo love and tender counsels, he promisos to give up his evil courses and seitlo down to a peaceful married lifo with hor in their native villairo. John Luff is dismayed at this, bocause Land's pluck and audacity are absolutely essential to tho success of their hazardous enterprises, and ho weaves a plot which shall " enmesh them nil." By means of a letter purporting to come from Laud, ho persuades Margaret that her lover is ill and in danger in London, and that his dying wish is to see her. Margarot has no monoy to pay for tho mail to the metropolis. Luff pretends that he is also penni- less, and induces hor to borrow a horse from a neighbouring squiro aud ride the distance. Margaret does so, but beforo she reaches her destination is arrested for horso-stcaling. Tho noxt act takes place at Ipswich Gaol, where Margarot, having beon tried for her crimo, so innocently committod, is lying under sentence of death. After a pathotio interview with her sorrow-strioken father, Land, who has discovered Luff's treachery, manages by bribery, to obtain admission to tho prison, and with tho assistance of Bob the Boson and some friendly warders, 'effeots her escape. They aro hotly pursued, and take refuge in the ruined castle of ^Vulton, a place of refuge known only to the smugglers. But John Luff, who has recovered from the wounds inflicted on him by Laud, loads the autho- rities to the hiding-place, which he is as familiar with as Laud. A desperate struggle enseos, and, in his offerts to protect Margarot, Laud is shot dead. The noxt two aots take place in Australia, and we loam from the characters that during the lapso of time Margaret has been again tried and condemned to death, but that the sentence has been commuted to trans- portation for life. The station near Sydney, vvhero the scene opens, belongs to John Barry, Margaret's old lover, who has prospored exceedingly in the new country; and it is also made known that the villain John Luff, who caused all Margaret's troubles, is now a very notorious bushranger.
Barry bus app.ied to a friend (Mrs. Palmor) for a
convict servant, and this servant arrives soon aftor the opening of the scone, and turns out to be Margaret. John Barry has nevor loved woman save Margarot, and har passion for Will Land has died a natural death. Maigarot has displayed great heroism in s pi ovious situation on the Hawkesbury, and Barry, after making her promise to marry him, departs for Sydney, where ho has great influence, to obtain for her a free pardon. As soon as he han donor ted the house is attacked bv bushrangers, headed by Luff, but, ohiefiy through her pluck and heroism, they aro beaten off. Luff, how- ever, aided by a cunning aboriginal, entices the malo protoetors away from the station, and catches Mar- garet alone. Ho is about to murder her when he is shot down by Bob the Boson. John Barry arrives a moment afterwards, and with a freo pardon for Margaret, the our tain descends upon a picture of future domestic happiness mid peace. The noting all round was excellent ; and Mr. Dampier's adaptation of Margaret Catchpolo's careor to stage purposes is exceedingly well suited to tho dramatic resources of the Standard company. Miss Lilly Dampier's creation of the heioine is the best thing we have as yet seen this young artiste produce, bho was pathotio and foro-ble, and at tho same time natural and unstnpy. Miss Katherine Russell appeared to amuse the audience aB Cherry Cracknell ; and Miss Julia Merton was quite efficient as Mrs. Palmor. Mr. Alfred Dampier as Bob the Boson had one of those half humorous, half pathetic chaiactcrs which ho plays so well. Mr. Alfred Boothman as Will Land, Mr. Baker as John Luff, Mr. Leston as Joe Jubbins, Mr. Stark as an aboriginal, und the company generally thoroughly deserved tho applause which was most generously bestowed upon their efforts by the andience. The drama passed off without a hitch, and the scenery was of tbo most artistio description. No better picture of rural England has been seen upon the colonial stage than the ono which is used m the nrnt and second acts of " An English LasB." " The RuinB of Walton Castle" is a beautiful set, anti the Australian scenes aro in their way equally good. Both Mr. Dampier and the scenio artist who adopts the norn de Jantasie Alta are to be warmly congratulated for the really beautiful stage pio turos which illustrate " A_. English Lass."