Scene from the pantomine of “Harlequin and Good Queen Bess," at Drury-lane Theatre. Source: The Illustrated London News. Click on image to enlarge it.

“The most important event of boxing-night was the re-opening of this theatre, under the management of Mr. James Anderson; and the public, evidently entertaining this view, crowded to it in extraordinary numbers. Much confusion was the consequence of the inconvenience accordingly felt; and the lessee had to address his audience four times in the course of the evening — now expressing his gratification, now exhibiting his anger, now threatening the gallery with a rise of prices, and finally winding up (after the fall of the curtain) with a speech in a better temper. The play was the ‘Merchant of Venice,’ Shyksck being performed by the manager, who naturally wished to be heard in his first eesay in such a character before a London audience. Miss Laura Addison wes Portia; Miss Clara Tailed, Nerissa; and Miss Hnddart, Jessica.

“The pantomime, attractively entitled ‘Harlequin and good Queen Bess,’ introduced to the Christmas audience at this theatre the Messrs Deulin as Harlequin and Pantaloon, and Mr. C. Stilt as Clown. The introduction travesties the story of Amy Robart and the Earl of Leicester; wherein Queen Elisabeth is absurdly caricatured in costume and person by Mr. R Romer. The inventor of pantomimes is also called into the field, the The Spirit John Rich (Mr. Derde), who contends with the The Spirit of High Tragedy (Mr. J. Parry), and succeeds In redeeming Amy and the Earl from a tragic fate, converting them into Harlequin and Columbine. The latter wee elegantly personated by Mdlle. Théodore. The tricks of the pantomime contain some good hits, those at the Smithfleld nuisance and the Peace Society being the most palpable. It concludes with a diorama, presenting the Queen’s visit to Ireland. Though exceedingly long, the whole went off with spirit; and it may be justly conceded that Mr. Anderson has commenced his experiment with a fair amount of encouragement, and that the public are ready to believe that it is the lessee’s intention to deserve success At any rate, they gave him on this occasion, what Improperly acknowledged as a ‘noble house-warming.”

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“Christmas Pantomimes and Extravaganzas.” Illustrated London News. 15 (29 December 1849): 436. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 26 December 2015.

Last modified 27 December 2015