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"THE NATIVE BOKiN."
.The Bort Bailey dramatic combination, fri from a highly satisfactory season in Melbour: returned ' to the Palace Theatre on Saturt evening, and was welcomed' with enthusia by ' a bumper house. A now piece, entltl "The Native Born," was submitted for si proval, and tho Initial success promises w for tho future of tho látese effort In pur* Australian stagecraft by two leading mernhi of tho company, who modestly pose under t name of Albert Edmunds. One novelty of t Play, In which comedy, smart dialogue, n dramatic effect aro judiciously interwoven,
tho presentation in an outback selection of "Hall of Mystery," by Charles Spinifox, "ni gician, hypnotist, and wonder-worker." fi Bert Balley, who plays tho rolo, is well knov in tho profession as .a clever amateur ill sloniat, and his tricks, while perplexing tl audience, gàvo ample food for amusement. Tl front of tho hull is surrounded hy brillia electric lights, but tho Interior is in sein darkness, and Spinifox causes animato ai inanimate ojjects to appear and dlsappoi Instanter lu most bewildering fashion. Tl whole thing proved au enjoyable porformani in itself, but - it is really subsidiary to tt plot, and intended to confound evildoers, at I bring them abjectly to their knees.
Neal Blackmore, who;may appropriately t described'n's a land-grabber, covets the selei lion, pf-John Hillgrove, his main reason bein that he has secretly discovered the oxistom o£i a gold reef on tho laud. Kosciusko Joe,
fossicker and dummy, accidentally stumble upon tho same And, and at the instance ( Blaokraorc a confederate named Solly Ste< kills tho old man with a loaded whip, and th pilr of villains then conspiro together to trans for the responsibility for tho crlmo to Jae Hillgrove, sou of tue selector. Young Hill grove ls in love with Lily Armidale, and Black more, having designs In tho samo direction, I all tho moro eager for tho removal ol hi
Tho hero, of course, eventually finds hlinsc: In a very tight corner, but hero tho llluslonie comes upon tho scene, and not only enable Jack on several occasions to accomplish th disappearing trick when hard pressed, but af terwards so plays upon tho superstitious fear of one Barcoo-another creature of Blacknior -that ho gives Solly Steel away as tho mur dor of Kosciusko Joe. On this incident hang one of tho most sensational scenes of thi drama. Barcoo, fearing reprisals from tin mate whom he has betrayed, startB in a wintr; storm across Mount Kosciusko, aud is los' amid the snowclad rocks, /lere Solly Steel who has gono in pursuit, overtakes him, ant is about to annex his horse and leave hil quondam associate to his fate when Lily ap- pears. Sho has dared the cold solitude ci Kosciusko peaks in order to ovado tho per- sistent attentions of Blackmore, and finds her- self at tho mercy of his desperate accomplice. Jack, however, reaches tho scene at this criti- car juncture, savoB his fiancee, and ultimately brings Solly and tho principal instigator ol dil the wrongdoing within tho linn-grip of
? Mr. Bert Bailoy as Spinifex bears the bur- don of tho work, and tho smart epigram- matic remarks of tho Illusionist gave the audi- ence plenty of entertainment. It is a difficult rolo to play, but Mr. Balley never faltered for a moment in quick roparteo and alertness of movement. Miss Ada Oakley, too, ' played capably as tho hermine, Lily Armidale, and Miss Lilias Adeson acted admirably as tho unscrupulous Alma Blackmore, who pursues boro and herolno with the bato of a "woman scorned." Miss Laura Roberts furnished a piquant study of Closio Hillgrove, and Miss Altrod Bevan, as tho aged spinster, Evange- line Wilberforce! Cruickshank, who boasts of her pedigree and her hatred of more man, also did oxcellent work. Mr. Kdmund Duggan was quiet but forceful ns tho selector. John Hill- grove, and, as Jack Hillgrove, Mr. Guy Hast- ings had a congenial role, of which ho made tho most. As tho prime villain, Neal Black- more, Mr. Richard Bellaire did well, with tho material at his disposal, and Mr. Alfred Har- ford brought out all tho «tüsurdities of tho serio-comic stago policeman, Finnegan, who falls to realiso his responsibilities as a re- presentative of tho law. The minor charac- ters were also In capable hands. Ia "Tho Na- tive Born" there 1B a good opening for scenic offoct and local colour, and "Hillgrovo's se- lection" and "Mount Kosciusko" wore settings that reflected much credit upon Messrs. Vaughan and Robins. Tho play was produced under tho supervision of Mr. Bailoy, with Mr
Harford as stage manager.