Play List:

1. The Rath Boys

2. The Witchfinder

3. A Madcap Prince

4. Corinne

5. The Queen of Connaught

6. The Nine Days’ Queen

7. The Mormons

8. The Shadow of the Sword

9. Lucy Brandon

10. Storm-Beaten

11. Lady Clare

[Flowers of the Forest]

12. A Sailor and His Lass

13. Bachelors

14. Constance

15. Lottie

16. Agnes

17. Alone in London

18. Sophia

19. Fascination

20. The Blue Bells of Scotland

21. Partners

22. Joseph’s Sweetheart

23. That Doctor Cupid

24. Angelina!

25. The Old Home

26. A Man’s Shadow

27. Theodora

28. Man and the Woman

29. Clarissa

30. Miss Tomboy

31. The Bride of Love

32. Sweet Nancy

33. The English Rose

34. The Struggle for Life

35. The Sixth Commandment

36. Marmion

37. The Gifted Lady

38. The Trumpet Call

39. Squire Kate

40. The White Rose

41. The Lights of Home

42. The Black Domino

43. The Piper of Hamelin

44. The Charlatan

45. Dick Sheridan

46. A Society Butterfly

47. Lady Gladys

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown

49. The Romance of the Shopwalker

50. The Wanderer from Venus

51. The Mariners of England

52. Two Little Maids from School

53. When Knights Were Bold

___

Short Plays

Other Plays

Buchanan’s Theatrical Ventures in America

Poetry Readings

ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

Home
Biography
Bibliography

Poetry
Plays
Fiction

Essays
Reviews
Letters

The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

Links
Site Diary
Site Search

THEATRE REVIEWS

11. Lady Clare (1883) - continued

 

The New York Times (14 February, 1884)

AMUSEMENTS.

“LADY CLARE.”

     This play—which is described on the bills as Mr. Robert Buchanan’s exquisite drama in five acts—was given last night at Wallack’s Theatre. The house was full, there was generous applause, and the new play was undoubtedly successful. Mr. Buchanan’s “Lady Clare” had been acted previously in England, and with encouraging effect. Mr. Buchanan—who, at his best, is a strong poet—has not been known here overmuch as a dramatist. His plays have seemed, for the most part, useless and uninteresting. “Storm Beaten,” as an example, was in no way a sound or true work, though it was one of the few tolerably popular plays elucidated for the public mind by Mr. Buchanan. Fortunately, “Storm Beaten” was considerably changed, not to say repressed, before it was launched upon the troublesome seas of the American stage. As to “Lady Clare”—what shall be said of that? M. Georges Ohnet, a bright and inventive French novelist, declared not long ago that Mr. Buchanan had stolen, for the benefit of his drama, a novel written by M. Ohnet and called “Le Maître de Forges.” Mr. Buchanan replied that he had not adapted “Maître de Forges,” he had merely made use of the motive in M. Ohnet’s novel. The distinction is remarkably lucid, especially for a poet. It may be explained that an American arrangement of “Le Maître de Forges” has been prepared already, and that other adaptations of the same work are to be set forward. M. Ohnet’s dramatization of his own novel has been a brilliant success in Paris.
     The French novel is written with thought and spirit. It is sympathetic without being unpleasantly sentimental. It is certainly dramatic. The story which is presented by it is this: Claire de Beaulieu loves her cousin, the young Duc de  Bligny. This lively fellow goes to Russia, forgets his fiancé, and returns to Paris at a moment when he learns that Claire is betrothed to M. Darblay, who is the “maître de forges,” the person without family and with a good amount of culture. Darblay is not loved by his wife at first, and Claire is still inclined to adore M. de Bligny. In the end, however, after the usual vicissitudes of human passion, Claire discovers that her feeling for Darblay is love, and that her feeling for M. de Bligny is contempt. This is, naturally, a very slight sketch of M. Ohnet’s complex and carefully elaborated novel.
     Mr. Buchanan has declared that his play “Lady Clare” is not an adaptation of “Le Maître de Forges.” The story of “Lady Clare” informs us that Lord Ambermere loves Lady Clare Brookfield. Then, in his youthful enthusiasm, he deserts her and flies to pastures new. That is to say, he takes up another woman. Thereupon Lady Clare engages herself to John Middleton, a “self-made man.” But Lady Clare is not devoted to her self-made man. He finds himself tied to a loveless wife. After a while, however, she begins to have an agreeable opinion upon the merits of poor Middleton. Then Ambermere turns up again. He professes deep and Stygian devotion for Clare. There is a duel between the two men. Clare is shot in the shoulder. She rises from her ashes, a passionate Phœnix, and throws her arms about the neck of Middleton, who, having discovered, by judicious eavesdropping, that Clare is in love with her husband, not with Ambermere, rushes to her with theatrical celerity.
     The play is told with a fair amount of ability, and is entertaining. It was, as we have said, successful last night. Yet it is somewhat doubtful—the reader is asked to consider the subject in his own judgment —whether Mr. Buchanan’s drama is not a frank adaptation of “Le Maître de Forges.”
     Some excellent acting was done by Mr. Tearle, Miss Coghlan, Mr. Glenney, Mr. Buckstone, and Miss Measor. But Mr. Glenney might be less explosive in his speech.

___

 

The Boston Daily Globe (14 February, 1884)

A HIT AT LAST AT WALLACK’S.
_____

Buchanan’s “Lady Clare” a Pronounced Success—
Coghlan and Tearle Do Fine Work.

[Special Despatch to The Boston Globe.]

     NEW YORK, February 13.—A new play, “Lady Clare,” by Robert Buchanan, was produced tonight at Wallack’s Theatre with great success. Its success was due mainly to the extreme beauty of the scenery, and the fine acting of Rose Coghlan and Osmond Tearle, the one so intense, the other so passionate and manly, and both so vigorous and brilliant. In itself the play is thin as to plot and rather trite as to incident, and it will be regarded rather as the literary framework of a romantic and fanciful story than as the dramatic reflex of actual or possible social life. Lady Clare in this drama, because she has been jilted by the man whom she loves, and is taunted by her rival, gives her hand to a man whom she does not love, and becomes his wife On their return from the church she tells him this truth, and he is overwhelmed by it. But he insists on like obedience, although he must forego like affections. This makes a strong scene. They are to dwell beneath the same roof, but they are to be strangers. A little later there is a meeting between the wife and the truant lover, and a subsequent quarrel between the two men. This results in a duel, but when this is fought, the wife rushes between the contestants and receives in her shoulder the bullet that else would have sped to her husband’s heart. When she recovers from this wound they are reconciled. But as it is evident before the duel that they love each other, the wife has cast away her earlier passion and imbibed a new one, which seems no adequate reason for this catastrophe. The outcome of it all, however, is a series of situations neither novel nor very striking, in the course of which, however, there is room for strong display of elemental emotion, and pretext for powerful acting. A neat thread of light comedy, domestic in character, is twisted with the darker strand of amatory passion, and misery at last relieved by mutual confession and fond agreement. Miss Coghlan and Mr. Tearle are suited to an extraordinary degree in Lady Clare and John Middleton. The mien and conversation of noble English ladies are considerably caricatured in some of the dialogue, but the topic of the play, the death of one love and the birth of another in a woman’s heart, shown under most dramatic conditions and illustrated with fire and sincerity, will suffice to make “Lady Clare” a success with this public, as it has been with that of London. Miss Coghlan and Mr. Tearle were repeatedly called before the curtain.

___

 

Brooklyn Eagle (17 February, 1884 - p.3)

     MR. WALLACK’S son Arthur and Mr. Wallack’s treasurer, Mr. Theodore Moss, resolved when “the Governor” went South that they would show him he had been mistaken in the policy he was pursuing at Wallack’s Theater, and that they could produce a success there. They have done so. “Lady Claire” is the solitary success at Wallack’s this year. It has caught the public fancy and is doing an immense business. It is a powerful melodrama by Robert Buchanan, and portrays the life of some members of the British aristocracy whose characters are cleanly drawn, well defined and in two instances quite original. Both Miss Coghlan and Mr. Tearle have at least been thoroughly suited. Tearle is doing the best work that he has done since he has been in America, but Miss Coghlan is after all the star of the cast. The story is a simple one, so far as the plot is concerned, but in the delineation of the character of Lady Claire, Miss Coghlan displays extraordinary intelligence and an amount of finesse and care in her work which places the character far above any other that she has essayed of recent years. She marries the man she does not love through pique, and then gradually shows on the stage how the kindness, delicacy and love of her husband in time win her over to him and destroy a foolish passion that she had for a profligate nobleman. The play is well mounted and carefully acted, and it all serves merely to enhance the value and beauty of Miss Coghlan’s performance.

___

 

Pall Mall Gazette (20 February, 1884 - p.4)

     A curious illustration of the perplexity of the law of copyright will be afforded when M. Ohnet’s dramatic version of his “Maître de Forges” is produced at the St. James’s Theatre. The case briefly put is this:—M. Ohnet wrote a novel called “Le Maître de Forges,” and published it in the Figaro, intending, as every one knew, to dramatize his creation for his own use and purpose. But before he could do so, Mr. Robert Buchanan took M. Ohnet’s book and dramatized it as “Lady Clare.” Messrs. Hare and Kendal having purchased M. Ohnet’s play from him, it will no doubt be open to Mr. Buchanan to claim his English rights over a story that he admittedly appropriated without permission from its author, and according to precedent the law would be bound to pronounce in favour of Mr. Buchanan. And how will the case stand in America, where Mr. Wallack has purchased “Lady Clare” from Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Eric Bayley has bought M. Ohnet’s play from its author?

___

 

The Stage (22 February, 1884 - p.13)

     Robert Buchanan has sold Lady Clare to Wallack, and Eric Bayley has bought the rights of Le Maître de Forges from Ohnet for the American Continent. Wallack in his innocence has only just discovered that Lady Clare is taken from Ohnet’s story. At this exact moment Wallack does not precisely love Robert Buchanan—indeed, he desires to “get at him.”

___

 

The London Magpie (1 March, 1884 - p.9)

     A nice complication has arisen out of M. Ohnet’s Maitre de Forges. When he wrote the novel, and published it in the Figaro, he meant to dramatise it for his own purposes. But before he had time to do so, Mr. Robert Buchanan dramatised it as Lady Clare. M. Ohnet having produced his own dramatic version, the American rights of it were recently bought by Eric Bayley. Wallack in the meantime secured Lady Clare from Mr. Buchanan, quite unaware of the real origin of the piece. Messrs. Wallack and Bayley consequently find themselves to all intents and purposes the happy possessors of the same piece.

***

     Mr. Robert Buchanan in the Pall Mall Gazette, disclaims all knowledge of M. Ohnet’s intention to dramatise his own novel. This is an excuse for ever having written Lady Clare, but I doubt if Wallack will accept it as a reason for selling the play to him.

___

 

The Theatre (1 March, 1884)

Our Omnibus-Box.
_____

The moral vision of Mr. Robert Buchanan is temporarily obscured. He defends the indefensible action of helping himself to the story of Georges Ohnet for dramatic purposes on the plea that he did not know that the author of “Le Maitre de Forges” wanted his own property, and was not anxious to make it a present to Mr. Robert Buchanan. He did not know it, because he did not apparently want to be enlightened to the contrary. The expenditure of twopence-halfpenny on a postage stamp for France would have cleared up any doubt on the matter, and assured Mr. Buchanan whether the reports in the Parisian papers were true or false. On the very night that “Lady Clare” was produced at the Globe Theatre it was as well known in London as it was known in Paris that the dramatic version of “Le Maitre de Forges” by Ohnet was not only written but accepted and in rehearsal at the Gymnase Theatre. If there were dramatic critics present who were ignorant of the origin of “Lady Clare,” and ascribed it to Belot and not to Ohnet, the fault rested with Mr. Robert Buchanan, who was bound by every principle of courtesy and good taste to declare where the play came from, and not compel the critics to ferret it out for themselves and lay a bill of indictment against the borrower. The very next morning all London knew that “Lady Clare” was not an original play. The very next morning Mr. Buchanan was challenged to say whether “Lady Clare” was or was not the story of “Le Maitre de Forges,” taken with or without authority but without acknowledgment. It will be for Messrs. Hare and Kendal, in England, and for Mr. Wallack, in America, to say how far they have suffered from the prior production of “Lady Clare.” My own opinion is that they will not suffer in the least, because Ohnet has treated his work like a dramatist. What Ohnet thinks of Mr. Buchanan and his works will be found in The Era, the organ to which Mr. Robert Buchanan is in the habit of appealing when he desires to impeach the honour of his contemporaries. If I were to turn to one of the many excellent novels of Mr. Robert Buchanan and to help myself to one of his plots in order to make a play out of it, as I should have a perfect right to do according to our iniquitous law, I should consider that I had done Mr. Buchanan a great wrong, and so would he! I hold that a man’s literary invention is a man’s absolute property, and the borrowing does not become less shabby because it is perpetrated on a Frenchman whose dramatic work in this country has a marketable value.

___

 

The Edinburgh Courant (11 March, 1884 - p.2)

“LADY CLARE”
AT THE ROYAL LYCEUM THEATRE.

     Mr Augustus Harris’s company, in paying a return visit to this city, elected to appear last night in the new five-act drama “Lady Clare,” written by Mr Robert Buchanan. It is not the first time that this play has been submitted for the approval of the Edinburgh theatre-going public, Miss Genevieve Ward’s company having represented it at the Theatre Royal in the autumn. The company at the Lyceum last night was identically the same as that which gained such high encomiums but the other day for the way in which “Pluck” was enacted on the same boards, and their efforts last night only tended to increase the admiration at the manner in which one and all sustained their parts. Mrs Digby Willoughby as “Lady Clare” is the principal character in the drama—a trying rôle from beginning to end, and one which never finds her at a loss adequately to interpret. She was no less effective in the scene where, immediately after her marriage, she repents the steps she has taken, and tells her husband that she does not love him, than in that where, although she yearns to ask her husband’s forgiveness for the attitude she has taken, yet maintains an unbending demeanour because her husband has twitted her with a lingering love for her cousin, Lord Ambermere, who threw her off for a monied marriage. Miss May Howard’s rendering of Melissa Smale, the millionaire’s daughter—a cool, calculating woman, full of passionless hatred, who marries Lady Clare’s lover simply for the purpose of gloating over the lady’s disappointment, and then does her best to put harm between her and her husband, John Middleton—is a perfect study of dramatic power. Mr W. R. Sutherland takes the part of the highly virtuous John Middleton, who has married Lady Clare from sincere love, but who, when he finds his love unrequited, shows to her a cold demeanour, and exacts from her implicit obedience. His acting was marked by a studied carefulness, which suited the character well. Mr Augustus Cook as Lord Ambermere made a successful example of the aristocratic fast young man, and Miss Daisy England as the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, and Miss Carmen Barker as Mary Middleton infused a good deal of liveliness into the play. Mr A. C. Lilly was also most successful as Mr Gould Smale, the Yankee millionaire. The play was exceedingly well mounted. “Lady Clare” will be withdrawn at the end of the present week.

___

 

The Edinburgh Evening News (11 March, 1884 - p.2)

“LADY CLARE” AT THE ROYAL LYCEUM THEATRE.

     It must be confessed, in view of the reception given last night by an Edinburgh audience to Mr Robert Buchanan’s “Lady Clare,” that that poet is not altogether unjustified in turning his powers, as he has done in his more recent plays, to the manufacture of the cheapest type of sensational drama. The latter is apparently the article chiefly in demand among his countrymen. “Lady Clare,” it is true, will not stand being tried by the highest standard. The motive certainly is strong, and the construction really effective; but almost every character is to some extent overdrawn. The heroine is at first impossibly haughty, her husband is quite impossibly naïf, her mother impossibly full of caste-pride; and the American father and daughter are just as impossible, both in their stage Yankeeism and the latter in her vulgarity and heartlessness. But, melodrama as it is made under the management of Mr Augustus Harris, “Lady Clare” is yet on an altogether higher plane than the two compositions of Mr Buchanan already presented to Edinburgh playgoers, and if he had never stooped to lower work he would have deserved well of the lovers of art. As before remarked, however, he has no great encouragement. A singularly tasteless audience not only gave a dull reception to the strongest situations in “Lady Clare,” but was utterly blind to the merit of a piece of acting of the very highest order. Mrs Digby Willoughby’s playing as Lady Clare is the finest performance that has been seen in an Edinburgh theatre for many a day. That lady, it may be remembered, appeared in an unusually good cast in “The Cynic” at the Edinburgh princess’ Theatre in the summer of ’82. Her performance then, though noticeably good, could hardly be said to indicate the gifts and powers she now displays. Those competent to judge who heard her last night realised that she possesses a voice unequalled on the British stage for purity and delicately sympathetic quality. Merely to hear such a voice on the stage is a unique satisfaction; to find it along with remarkable powers of facial expression is a further pleasure; and to find it employed with the rarest artistic instinct and skill is an experience especially enjoyable. It is hardly possible to overrate the promise of this actress. Somewhat unpromisingly insouciant last night in the opening scene—in which, indeed, she gave an impression of physical weakness—she began, though still in a rather subdued fashion, to show an uncommonly true conception of natural expression on the first occasion for an exhibition of feeling; and before the first act was closed the impression of her powers was decisive. Still, however, it was impossible to anticipate what was to come; and it may be said, in brief, that her rendering of widely-varying passion and emotion in the second, third, fourth, and fifth acts was of a kind which no living English actress could have excelled. It is casting no slight on Mrs Kendal’s splendid and manifold powers to say that even she could hardly have achieved the exquisitely poignant pathos, or rivalled the noiseless intensity of Mrs Willoughby’s tones. In the last act, in which her slight physique accorded specially well with the situation, Lady Clare now being just convalescent from a pistol wound, her rendering of tremulous yearning and hopeless grief was above all praise—some of her “business” being quite indescribably moving; and her delivery of an impassioned repudiation of the scoundrelly lover’s solicitations was no less keenly effective, admirably free as it was from the least suggestion of theatrical loudness. The only positive fault discoverable in Mrs Willoughby’s performance is an occasional slight indistinctness in articulation. It will be to the discredit of Edinburgh culture if such work does not during the week attract more intelligent audiences than that of last night, portions of which giggled over serious situations, and which as a whole were chiefly demonstrative in hissing the villain and applauding hackneyed touches in the rhetoric. It is hardly necessary to say that Mrs Willoughby’s acting stands quite out from that of her coadjutors. Miss Carmen Barker, indeed, put some very clever work into her part of Mary Middleton; Mr Pemberton was a surprisingly good family solicitor; Miss Daisy England played with spirit as Cecil Brookfield; and Miss Claremont as the Countess was very satisfactory in the last act; but there was more or less room for improvement in all these performances; and on the other hand Miss Mary Howard did little towards redeeming the thankless and crudely conceived part of Melissa Smale, while Mr Lilly did even less than justice to that of the father; and Miss Thompson showed a somewhat plentiful lack of judgment as the housekeeper. The villain, too, was over-loudly though not ineffectively played by Mr Augustus Cook; and Mr W. R. Sutherland’s gentlemanly but characterless impersonation of the hero at times created a sensation as of sounding brass beside the delicate work of Mrs Willoughby. The management of the orchestra, it should be said, does little credit at present to the theatre.

___

 

The Stage (28 March, 1884 - p.13)

     At about a week after Easter the public will be summoned to the St. James’s Theatre to see Ohnet’s version of his play Le Maitre de Forges, which has obtained an enormous success at the Gymnase Theatre in Paris. Prior to the production of the authorised play a dramatic version of Ohnet’s story was given at the Globe by Robert Buchanan, called Lady Clare. But this fact will scarcely interfere with the success of A Midnight Marriage, in which the locale, character, and incidents of a story essentially French are faithfully preserved. The cast will be as follows:—Claire, Mrs. Kendal; La Marquise de Beaupré, Mrs. Gaston Murray; Athenaïs, Miss Vane; La Baronne, Miss Linda Dietz; Le Duc de Bligny,  Mr. Henley; Le Marquis de Beaupré, Mr. George Alexander; Moulenet, Mr. J. F. Young; Bechelin, Mr. Maclean; Le Baron de Préfont, Mr. Waring; Philippe Darblay, Mr. W. H. Kendal.

___

 

[Arthur Wing Pinero’s authorised adaptation of Georges Ohnet’s play, Le Maître de Forges, with the title The Ironmaster, opened on 17th April, 1884 at the St. James’s Theatre, starring Mr. and Mrs. Kendal. Reviews of the first night of The Ironmaster are available on a separate page, for purposes of comparison. However, I thought the following extract from the review in The Era, should be included here.]

 

The Era (19 April, 1884)

. . .

We pass by the Lady Clare of Mr Robert Buchanan, because that gentleman, rightly or wrongly, claims for his piece the merit of almost entire originality; but we shall not pass it without saying that he did improve on the original, and that his impertinence—if impertinence it was—had good excuse. Admirable construction, vigorous dialogue without a shadow of coarseness, strong characterisation, sustained interest have all been claimed for Ohnet’s work; but we did not find them. The Ironmaster seemed to us a very gloomy and a very uninteresting piece, with sentiment that was strained and with situations that were unnatural, and that, but for the skill of the artists engaged, would have met with very severe condemnation. . . .

___

 

The Stage (25 July, 1884 - p.13)

PRINCE’S.

     On Thursday afternoon, July 11, 1884, Mrs. Digby Willoughby gave a matinée at this house. The principal piece presented was Lady Clare, Mr. Robert Buchanan’s adaptation of Mr. George Ohnet’s Le Maître de Forges, originally acted at the Globe Theatre on April 11 last. Mrs. Willoughby elected to appear as the heroine of the drama, a part not nearly so well suited to her personalities as that of Melissa Smale, the American heiress, which she pourtrayed in the Globe production. Her interpretation presented the character in a hard, cold, crude, and unsympathetic manner. There was little pathos in her acting, and the soft, womanly touches so necessary to enlist sympathy and arouse interest were entirely absent. Mrs. Willoughby was at her best in the more vigorous portions of the play, and her entrance in the duel scene was particularly dramatic. It was a dangerous experiment for a lady of Mrs. Willoughby’s standing in her profession, and of such limited experience, to follow so practised an artiste as Miss Ada Cavendish in a leading part, for in such a case comparisons are inevitable, and obviously must be a disadvantage to the least successful actress. On this occasion Mr. Alfred Bucklaw, as John Middleton, and Miss Carlotta Leclercq, as the Countess of Broadsmeads, resumed their original characters. Mr. Bucklaw, although suffering from a severe sprain to his ankle, played well, and gave a manly, earnest performance. Mr. Gould Smale, the American millionaire, was acted by Mr. W. Farren, jun., who gave a capital, well-considered sketch of character. Melissa Smale was represented by Miss Gladys Homfrey, who was scarcely successful in hitting off the peculiarities of the part. Mr. Fred Terry displayed considerable skill and rescource as Lord Ambermere. The two young people, the Hon. Cecil Brookfield and Mary Middleton, were represented by Miss J. Deby and Miss Carmen Barker respectively. Miss Deby was slow, dull, and monotonous when she should have been quick, bright, and animated, and she drawled her words in a most irritating manner. On the other hand, Miss Carmen Barker was singularly spirited as Mary Middleton, and she acted the part with a freshness and ingenuousness that were delightful. The minor parts were adequately filled. The drama was preceded by a new one-act comic opera, written by Mr. E. H. Gomm, with music by Mr. W. Fullerton. It was entitled The Miser, and, it was stated on the programmes, was produced under the direction of Mr. George Grossmith. It proved a weak and uninteresting piece of work. It related how a pair of lovers, being separated by a miserly father, are united by the aid of a good-natured aunt, who dresses as a  ghost, and so frightens the old man into consenting to his daughter’s marriage. The piece does not excite much laughter, and the dialogue is by no means witty. Some of the music is pretty, and we noticed in particular a charming melody to the words “Storms may come and go,” sung by the daughter, who was pleasantly interpreted by Miss Victoria La Coste.  Mr. W. Gregory appeared as the lover, and sang well, but his acting was indifferent. Mr. Fred Cape was the miser, and Miss Gladys Homfrey the aunt. Madame Sarah Bernhardt, together with her sister Jeanne and Mrs. Bernard-Beere, occupied a private box on the occasion, but the house presented an almost empty appearance.

___

 

The St. Paul Sunday Globe (27 July, 1884 - p.5)

AMUSEMENTS.
_____

The Wallack Engagement—“Lady Clare” and
“Moths” to be Given This Week.

_____

     The Wallack Theater company open a week’s engagement at the Grand to-morrow night, presenting for the first time in St. Paul the drama “Lady Clare” and “Moths,” the latter being an adaptation from Ouida’s powerful novel of that name. Both plays will be presented with the original castes and scenery, and no doubt the appearance of so celebrated a company will prove the dramatic event of the season in this city.
     Robert Buchanan has given to the world several charming novels, such as “God and the Man,” “The New Abelard,” and others well known, but it has been acknowledged that his best literary effort is the charming domestic story “Lady Clare,” which has been on the boards of Wallack’s theatre for some time past in a dramatic form. The story of how Lady Clara Brookfield marries John Middleton, to spite her fiance Lord Ambermere, is told in an exquisite and interesting manner. The proud lady does not love her husband, who is only “A self-made man,” and acknowledges the fact to Middleton almost as soon as the marriage ceremony has been completed. He, smarting under the wrong, compels the high born Lady Clare to render him the obedience of a wife, and refuses to allow her to return to her former home. Middleton treats her with kindness and affection, but resolutely turns from any attempt to gain her love. He meets his rival at Dieppe, and after a quarrel provoked by Ambermere, consents to fight, and determines to allow his antagonist to kill him, but Clare frustrates his intention by rushing on the field, and receiving the shot from Lord Ambermere’s weapon. The play is brought to a happy ending by the union of man and wife. Lady Clare found that a true heart was worth more than all the happiness that wealth could purchase. The drama will be presented in this city with the entire Wallack company and scenery, under the management of Gustave and Charles Frohman, as played at Wallack’s theatre in New York for nearly one hundred nights.

___

 

The St. Paul Daily Globe (29 July, 1884 - p.4)

AMUSEMENTS.
_____
Opening Night of the Wallack Theater Company.

     The engagement of the Wallack Theater company opened at the Grand Opera house last night in Robert Buchanan’s domestic drama of “Lady Clare.” Several versions, it is understood, of the same drama are being performed by as many different companies, but as presented last night, the drama was originally performed by the Wallack company in New York, the cast being materially the same. The story of the play was furnished the readers of the GLOBE last Sunday, and it may be said imprimis that the version now being performed in this city is by all odds the most entertaining and superior representation.
     It was the inaugural night of the Wallack engagement in St. Paul, and while the audience was quite large and appreciative to the verge of enthusiasm, there was observed a notable absence of many of the constant habitutes and amusement patrons of the house. The fact that the season is at its height at the lakes may have partially accounted for this, and as good things should never go a begging, especially in the dramatic line, the attendance will no doubt increase to the limit of managerial expectation, which indeed the play is well worthy of.
     “Lady Clare” has been universally commended as a charming drama by the eastern press and public, and the phrase is not a misnomer. It rounds out the measure of anticipation both as to the plot and the finished manner of its presentation. There is a subdued harmony about the play, a freedom from rant, an artistic symmetry, fulfilment of details and beauty of arrangement that go to make up the complete artistic impersonation.
     Opinions may differ as to the style an actor or artist assumes in expressing a thought or delineating an action, passion or sentiment. Sometimes the power is conveyed in a gesture, or a loud or finely modulated tone; sometimes it is conveyed by the glance of the eye or the curve of the lips, but perfect acting comes only with the blending of all these into repose. The works of nature are all easy, paradoxical as it may seem, and the thunderbolt falls as easily from the frowning face of Jove as falls the snowflake or the dewdrop.
     The acting of Oscar Teazle, as John Middleton, is easy, graceful and marked by dramatic force and fervor. The role of Lady Clare by Mrs. Eyre is a difficult one to enact. The force required is powerful but subdued and intense. Her impersonation was finished and pleasing. Her voice is not always impassioned but this may come from the stony requirements of the part. Her face also, it seems, is too round at times, to acutely depict the poignant pangs of anguish and sorrow. But in watching her one loses these first impressions and the quiet face lights up and the tones quiver with passion. The delightfully refreshing roles are taken by Mr. Buckstone and Adele Mearor. Both are juvenile parts and they are taken with an archness and naivetie that always captivates. Mr. Glenny, as the degenerate nobleman and roue was clever and the roles taken by Gleason, Gwynette, Germon and Edwin were all well enacted. Mrs. Sol Smith was splendid as the countess, and Melissa Small, who ruins Lord Ambermere with her money and then gloats over the discomfiture of Lady Clare, by Miss Livingston, is superbly done. In short the cast is finished and fine throughout.
     There were several re-calls last evening, and the audience manifested their pleasure by bestowing liberal applause.
     In this version the duel scene is really enacted, and the juncture where Lady Clare rushes in and received the shot intended for her estranged husband, is very affecting.
     The same programme to-night.

___

 

The Nottingham Evening Post (6 September, 1884 - p.2)

THEATRE ROYAL.

     Miss Ada Cavendish last night took the leading part in the first representation in Nottingham of Mr. Robert Buchanan’s drama “Lady Clare,” which is founded on “Le Mâitre des Forges,” a work that has also been successfully dramatised under the title of “The Ironmaster.” There was a full house to witness this important performance, and the utmost interest was manifested in this new part of Miss Cavendish’s. The play, like its French original, abounds in highly dramatic situations, and the plot is of a very romantic kind. The Lady Clare (Miss Cavendish) is practically, though not formally, engaged to her cousin, Lord Ambermere, whom she loves intensely. The nobleman, however, having ruined himself by betting, seeks to retrieve his fortune by an alliance with Melissa Smale, the daughter of an American millionaire. From pique at this act Lady Clare consents to marry John Middleton, a wealthy manufacturer, whose hand she had previously rejected. After marriage, however, she finds and confesses that she cannot love him, and that her heart is still her cousin’s. Middleton behaves with forbearance and generosity, only asking of the lady that she stay in his house as its nominal mistress, to save public scandal. The scene then shifts to a French watering-place, where the parties are staying. Lord Ambermere, after gaining an interview with his cousin against her will, insults her husband, with a view of forcing him to a duel. The young nobleman is an accomplished duellist, whilst the manufacturer is utterly inexperienced with weapons. His life is saved by Lady Clare flinging herself between the combatants and receiving in her shoulder the shot intended for her husband’s heart. The husband, however, believes that his wife’s purpose was to save her cousin’s life, until, in a very powerful final scene, the Lady Clare tells her cousin, who follows her to her husband’s house, that her object was to save Mr. Middleton, which expression the latter overhears, and a suitable climax is reached. The dramatic powers of Miss Ada Cavendish are seen to great advantage in the development of so romantic a plot, and neither in breadth of handling nor gentleness of touch does the part lack aught in her hands. She is perhaps hardly so well supported on the whole as in “The New Magdalen.” Mr. C. P. Forester’s Ambermere is not altogether satisfactory. The Middleton of Mr. Mark Quinton is a studied performance, but the Mr. Gould Smale of Mr. W. Guise is a mere parody of Yankee manners, and the other characters are very sketchy. Mr. W. T. Elworthy as the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, and Miss Marion Forbes as Mary Middleton supply an agreeable relief to the sombre colours of the chief plot, in the character of a pair of young lovers; while Miss Gladys Homfrey displays much talent as Melissa Smale, and Miss Rose Roberts sufficiently represents the Countess of Broadmeads. The play is to be repeated to-night, and all who desire another opportunity of witnessing Miss Cavendish’s skill in the delineation of human passions should not miss this performance. Next week, we may add, the boards will be occupied by Miss Kate Vaughan and an able company, when The Country Girl and one or two burlesques will be produced.

___

 

Otago Daily Times (New Zealand) (27 December, 1884 - p.2)

THE DRAMA IN AUSTRALIA
NOTES BY SCALFAX
MELBOURNE, December 8

. . .

     A well-filled house greeted Miss Marie de Grey and her company on their appearance on Saturday night in Robert Buchanan’s adaptation of Georges Ohnet’s well-known story, “Le Maitre de Forges,” known as “Lady Clare.” This “new drama of modern society” was first produced at the Globe Theatre, London, on Wednesday, April 11, 1883, and a storm of indignant protests against the adaptation soon came upon the distinguished author. Mr Buchanan, like the late Charles Reade, wields a very cudgel of a pen, and some very severe things were said on both sides. The chief complaint was that Mr Buchanan had not acknowledged the source of his play, and had made the adaptation, knowing full well that the original author was then engaged in preparing a dramatic version of his novel. On Thursday, April 17, 1884, the Kendals produced at St. James’s Theatre, an authorised adaptation by Mr A. W. Pinero of M. Ohnet’s drama, “Le Maitre de Forges,” under the name of “The Ironmaster,” which was, and is, as successful as “Lady Clare” was unfortunate.
     The plot cannot boast of any great originality, and may be summarised thus:—Lady Clare Brookfield is in love with a certain Lord Ambermere, and her love is returned. John Middleton, a wealthy manufacturer, also loves Lady Clare, but is refused by her. Lord Ambermere loses his fortune and marries a wealthy American girl, Melissa Small. Lady Clare, in a moment of pique, marries Middleton. The second act proves that the marriage was unfortunate, and Lady Clare and Middleton agree to live as man and wife in appearance only. In the third act we are at Dieppe, and find Lord Ambermere, who does not love his wife, making love to Lady Clare. Middleton interrupts an interview, takes in the situation, and arranges a duel. The fourth act shows first, how Lady Clare finds that her husband is going to fight Lord Ambermere; and secondly, the duel, when Lady Clare rushes between the combatants, to save Middleton, whom she finds she loves, and gets wounded in the shoulder. The last act shows how Lady Clare suffers for love of her husband, how the wicked lord again avows his love, which is met with scorn, how Middleton overhears the interview, runs the wicked lord off the premises, and how husband and wife are once more united. Miss Marie de Grey tries hard to make a success of the part of Lady Clare, and must be credited with much enthusiastic appreciation on the part of the audience. She has to suffer from the inadequate representation of some of the other parts, but makes a decided and clever bid for success. Miss Florence Cowell, as Melissa Small, is as capable and satisfactory as this lady generally is. Mr Alex.  Mayne, who was only known here as a reader, but who, I told you, played some time ago in Dublin, with Miss De Grey, makes a fair Middleton. He speaks well but acts badly. Mr Morton Salten was an unequal and unsatisfactory Lord Ambermere; and Mr Brodie was a laughable Hon. Cecil Brookfield. He can read that any way he likes. “Lady Clare” is promised for the whole of next week.

___

 

The New York Times (4 January, 1885)

     The little difficulty between Mr. Mallory, of the Madison-Square, and Mr. H. M. Pitt, whose salary it was sought to reduce, has been amicably adjusted, and the actor retains his post in the company. This week Mr. Pitt is loaned to Mr. Frohman for the “Lady Clare” engagement at Niblo’s, and he will for the first time undertake to be sentimental in a leading and lachrymose rôle. Mr. Pitt has hitherto flourished chiefly as a performer of characters of the sluggish and lackadaisical kind. The other item of interest in connection with the “Lady Clare” production is in the statement that Miss Harriet Jay will appear in masculine attire in the part played at Mr. Wallack’s theatre by young Mr. Buckstone. It is reported that when it was decided Miss Jay was to play the part she immediately sent all the way to London for the raiment in which she originally appeared in this character. It has hitherto been supposed that there were plenty of clothes in America.

___

 

The New York Times (6 January, 1885)

A company of competent actors and actresses appeared at Niblo’s Garden last night in “Lady Clare,” Robert Buchanan’s version of “Le Maitre des Forges.” Miss Cora Tanner, as Lady Clare, acted with grace, dignity, and earnestness. Mr. H. M. Pitt, as John Middleton, proved that, while he was not as much at home in a serious rôle as in a “character” part, he had sufficient power to hold the interest of the audience and in some scenes to awaken their hearty admiration. Lord Ambermere was played by Mr. Henry Aveling, an actor well qualified for the part. Miss Harriet Jay appeared as the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, originally played by her in London, and gave a charming performance. Mr. Max Freeman displayed his eccentric humor as Mr. Gould Smale, and Miss Louise Dillon was a petite and piquant Mary Middleton. The other parts were in good hands and the play moved with smoothness and good effect. The audience was large and the applause frequent. On Wednesday afternoon what is known as a “professional” matinée of “Lady Clare” will be given, to which all the members of the dramatic profession in town will be invited that they may witness Miss Jay’s performance of the Eton boy.

___

 

New-York Daily Tribune (6 January, 1885 - p.5)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan’s play of “Lady Clare,” which the public received with considerable favor last season at Wallack’s Theatre, was revived last evening at Niblo’s Garden, and there represented with a good cast and good scenery—the principal characters being represented by Cora Tanner, Louisa Dillon, Flora Livingston, Kate Desin, Ellen Blaisdell, Harriet Jay, H. M. Pitt, Max Freeman, Robert Frazer, Henry Aveling and Frederick Cobett. Miss Harriet Jay played a boy, Hon. Cecil Brookfield. She was the original of this part when “Lady Clare” was first acted in London, and on account of much alleged professional interest in her performance of it the managers of Niblo’s Garden have invited the members of the dramatic profession to attend the matinée at their theatre on Wednesday.

___

 

The Daily Graphic (New York) (6 January, 1885)

“LADY CLARE” AT NIBLO’S GARDEN.

     Niblo’s Garden was well filled last night by an appreciative audience. Mr. Robert Buchanan’s exquisite drama, “Lady Clare,” was presented under the management of Mr. Charles Frohman. The piece is one which has been seen several times in this city and had an extended run at Wallack’s Theatre some time since. The cast was not a particularly strong one, but some individual members gave effective impersonations. Miss Harriet Jay was admirable as the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, a character in which she achieved considerable success on “Lady Clare’s” original production in London. She dressed the part in excellent taste, and her acting showed her to be possessed of rare comedy talents. Miss Louise Dillon was charming as Mary Middleton and shared the honors with Miss Jay. Miss Cora Tanner was satisfactory as Lady Clare, although somewhat nervous at times. Mr. H. H. Pitt’s John Middleton was uninteresting and lacked force, Mr. Harry Avling failed to make anything of Lord Ambermere, and Mr. Max Freeman presented a Yorkshire gentleman with a German accent. The piece is booked for this week only.

___

 

The Evening Telegram (New York) (6 January, 1885 - p.2)

Niblo’s Garden—“Lady Clare.”

     Mr. Robert Buchanan’s domestic drama, “Lady Clare,” was presented at Niblo’s Garden last evening, and, although there were occasional bits of good acting, the performance, as a whole, was uninteresting. It showed clearly that the success of the play when first produced at Wallack’s Theatre almost a year ago, was at least as much due to the excellence of the acting as to the merit of the drama. The interest of the play centres almost entirely in the two principal characters, John Middleton and Lady Clare, and requires that they should be impersonated by artists of strong emotional power. Mr. H. M. Pitt strove hard and conscientiously for success as John Middleton, but his extreme nervousness and odd manner of gesticulation rendered his impersonation barely endurable. Miss Cora Tanner made very little of the several strong situations which fall to the part of Lady Clare. Miss Harriet Jay appeared as Hon. Cecil Brookfield, which part was played by her at the presentation of the play in London. She made a good impression, and was recalled during the third act. Mr. Max Freeman excited some laughter as Mr. Gould Smale, and Miss Louise Dillon was well received as Mary Middleton.

___

 

New York Herald (6 January, 1885 - p.7)

nyheraldjaylegs

New York Herald (7 January, 1885 - p.7)

     What is called a professional matinée of “Lady Clare” will be given at Niblo’s this afternoon. It has been arranged, so Manager Frohman says, for the convenience of professionals who have expressed a desire to see Miss Harriet Jay in knickerbockers.

___

 

The World (New York) (8 January, 1885)

     The common impression that Mr. Robert Buchanan or Miss Harriet Jay or both of them were responsible for the professional matinee given at Niblo’s Garden yesterday is erroneous. Miss Jay plays only a minor part in “Lady Clare” and has common sense enough to know that very little importance attaches to her performance. Mr. Buchanan probably has a higher opinion of Miss Jay’s abilities and accomplishments than any one else in America, but even he would hesitate to make his sister-in-law ridiculous by claiming for her present work enough prominence to warrant a general invitation to the profession to witness that work.
     The fact of the matter is that neither Miss Jay nor Mr. Buchanan had anything to do with this matinee. The idea eminated from the active brain of Mr. Charles Frohman, who thought that such a move would materially increase the receipts. That he was mistaken may be judged from Manager John Poole’s declaration to me that “though there were a great many people in the auditorium there was precious little money in the box-office.” As a consequence Mr. Poole was not particularly enthusiastic over Mr. Frohman’s brilliant scheme.

___

 

The Spirit of the Times (New York) (10 January, 1885)

     WE were puzzled as to why Miss Harriet Jay should be introduced to the profession at a special matinee of Lady Clancarty. Now we are puzzled as to why a professional matinee should be given, today, to display that lady as Cecil Brookfield in Lady Clare. There is nothing in Miss Jay’s acting to call for this extraordinary prominence. By no effort of genius can Cecil Brookfield be made a star part in Buchanan’s dramatization. The fact that Miss Jay is the sister-in-law of the dramatist can have nothing to do with it; for other dramatists have sisters-in-law who are not thus pushed upon an indifferent public. Poor Sothern used to get out posters starring unimportant members of his company, and representing them as humbly supported by Lord Dundreary; but he considered this a joke. It was a joke that hurt, and so those who are managing Miss Jay will find if they continue it. With all respect for a lady who is probably very nice and very clever in her way, we must say that Miss Harriet Jay is being rendered ridiculous—although we cannot excuse the unchivalric allusions of the Herald to her limbs and her knickerbockers.

___

 

The World (New York) (12 January, 1885 - p.5)

MISS HARRIETT JAY RISES.
_____

An English Actress and Her Opinion of
“Herald” Criticism.

To the Editor of The World:

     In the New York Herald of Tuesday last appeared a notice of my performance of the Hon. Cecil Brookfield in “Lady Clare,” written in a strain with which the readers of that newspaper are rapidly becoming familiar and revealing a kind of humor which, I hope for the honor of humanity, is not widely appreciated in America. The writer is a curious sample of a new system of journalism, and he deserves in that character an attention to which his personal insignificance gives him no pretense or claim.
     In a moment of inspiration, Mr. Bennett, of the Herald, conceived the idea of revolutionizing dramatic criticism. Instead of intrusting its discussion to grave and grown up critics, he determined to view the drama from the point of view of unclean-minded adolescence. With this view he selected from his staff the youngest, the most incompetent, and the most impudent of the office boys—cousin-german in age, experience, and spiteful propensities, to the printer’s devil; bought him a suit of clothes, gave him the entree to the theatres, and told him to “go ahead.” He did go ahead with a vengeance. He danced a “break-down” on Shakespeare’s grave; he voted Hamlet a “bore,” recommending Mr. Irving to expunge it from his repertoire. He threw mud at Mr. Wallack and the other reputable managers in New York. He filled the air with slang and cat-calls; he ridiculed every decent entertainment; but when the nude ladies of burlesque appeared before him he became loud in rapture, and in lieu of his derisive abuse proclaimed his lewd and boisterous admiration. Now, while a loose-tongued man is an offense to decent society, a dirty-minded and obscene boy is a nuisance—either in the gallery or on a newspaper. The obscene boy sees the Venus of Milo or the Venus of Titian, and cried, “Hullo, she’s got no clothes on! Here’s a lark!” There his notion of art begins and ends. The obscene boy sees me play the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, a performance which satisfied London for a whole season, and exclaims, “Look at her legs! Hang her acting: look at her legs!” That is his notion of the drama. He would discover only salacious suggestion in Mrs. Kendal’s Rosalind, and would perceive no difference of motive between the Viola of Miss Neilson and the nudities of the “Adamless Eden.”
     Now please conceive the situation. A lady, respected in England for her work in literature, who, whether as woman, authoress or actress, has received the respect and sympathy of all honest and pure-minded men, appears in an American theatre and is immediately placed at the mercy of a fledgling critic, who has neither knowledge, experience, talent nor respect for common decency, and whose sole aim is to select such expressions as may shock one who is as much his superior morally and intellectually as George Eliot was the superior of a shoe-black. Instead of seeing in her performance an attempt at least to achieve an artistic creation, he keeps his little, lewd, spiteful eyes on the “legs” of the actress, and writes a criticism about them. With the cunning of a street urchin he gathers up filth out of the gutter and flings it at his victim, shrieking all the time with delight at what he thinks a “jolly lark.”
     In England such a performance would insure the obscene boy sharp treatment from the reformatory of prison birch. Am I to understand that it is tolerated and approved of in America? I cannot believe it—nay, I am certain that the American public in general execrates the system which consigns dramatic criticism to the care of a Yankee “Gavroche,” or a transatlantic “Bailey Junior.” I am, &c.,                                                                   HARRIETT JAY.
Authoress of “The Queen of Connaught,” “The Dark Colleen,” “The Priest’s Blessing,” &c.
     Niblo’s Garden, Jan. 10.

___

 

The Era (24 January, 1885)

     MR BUCHANAN’S Lady Clare was played at Niblo’s Garden this week, and his sister-in-law, Miss Harriet Jay, has been assuming the rôle of the Hon. Cecil Brookfield. Miss Jay is a few inches taller and considerably heavier than Lord Ambermere, and when she cries defiantly “Hit one of ‘your size’” she brings down the house.

___

 

The Daily Republican (Omaha, Nebraska) (8 March, 1885 - p.3)

     A New York letter says: The dramatic critic of The Herald is again the subject of attack on the part of the dramatic papers and such daily papers as are always glad to find an excuse for pitching into The Herald. The trouble this time is Miss Harriet Jay’s legs. Miss Harriet Jay is the sister-in-law of Robert Buchanan, with whom she is paying a visit to this country. Miss Jay has acted in burlesque in England, but never with any great success. She has distinguished herself more as a novelist (for she has written some very pretty stories) than as an actress; but she has an ambition to distinguish herself upon the boards, and Mr. Buchanan does all in his power to assist her. He succeeded in getting her an opportunity to play one afternoon at the Madison Square theater, and he invited the “press” and the “profession” to witness her performance. It was not a very edifying spectacle, but the audience had some amusement out of it. Not satisfied with this, Mr. Buchanan gets Miss Jay an engagement at Niblo’s Garden, where she appeared in a boy’s part. Miss Jay’s figure is not at present adapted to roles of this sort; she is too old and too stout to appear in them successfully; but you seldom find an actress who knows when she is too old or too stout to play any role that she may take a fancy to. The dramatic editor of The Herald sent one of his assistants to see this performance, and when the young man returned to The Herald office he asked him how Miss Jay was. “Very poor,” replied the young man; “I don’t see what I can say about her  acting.” “What was the most conspicuous thing about her performance?” asked the editor. “Her legs,” replied the young man, blushing. “Very well, then,” said the chief, “write about her legs;” and this the young man set to work to do. In a neat paragraph he told the readers of The Herald that Miss Jay’s legs in the first act were incased in silken hose of a certain color, and that their expression was so and so, and he went on to describe them in this light and airy manner in each succeeding act, and then he closed his report of the performance. It was not a very dignified way of noticing a play, but there was some provocation for it, I must admit. The effect upon Miss Jay was electrical, and she, or rather Robert Buchanan, at once sat down and dashed off a circular letter, which was sent to every paper in New York. Only one published it; it was signed Harriet Jay, but it was in Mr. Buchanan’s most characteristic style; in the style that he won his first spurs, when he attacked the “flashly school” of poetry in the columns of The Examiner. He called the representative of The Herald every name that his invention suggested, and was very sarcastic and amusing at the expense of the young man. But The Herald doesn’t mind, and the paragraph about Miss Jay’s legs has advertised her to an extent that she never could have got by any legitimate means.

___

 

The Star (Christchurch, New Zealand) (14 March, 1885 - p.3)

MODERN THEATRICAL CRITICISM.
_____

     The production of “Lady Clare” at Niblo’s Theatre, New York, has brought forth an extraordinary piece of “criticism” (so-called) from the representative of a New York daily. The writer says: “Miss Harriet Jay assumed the rôle of the youth, the Hon Cecil Brookfield. In the first act she wore loose white trousers, and the venerable gentlemen in the front row took very little interest in the play. The rear view of Miss Jay’s legs was certainly very unsatisfactory, for they seemed to be bulky and given to inclining inward at the knees. There was a pleasant surprise in the second act, when Miss Jay’s legs appeared in velvet knickerbockers and black stockings. They were plump, light-comedy sort of legs, but very vague in the region of the knickerbockers, where the general appearance was that of decided stoutness. Miss Jay is two inches taller and a few pounds heavier than Lord Abercrombie, and when she cried defiantly, ‘Hit one of your size,’ she made a fine comedy hit. Throughout the last act her legs were clad in tight grey stockings and shooting breeches. In this she made her best points tell.”
     The above is the entire notice of “Lady Clare,” which appeared the following morning (Jan. 6) in the New York Herald. And this is the sort of thing which in America passes for dignified journalism.

erabuckstoneclarerevs

[American press notices for John C. Buckstone in the role of Cecil Brookfield from The Era (4 July, 1885).]

claread

[Advert for a revival of Lady Clare (with Harriett Jay) from The Stage (28 August, 1885 - p.12).]

 

The Era (29 August, 1885 - p.14)

THE PAVILION.
On Monday, August 24th, Revival of the Drama, in Five Acts,
by Robert Buchanan, entitled
“LADY CLARE.”

John Middleton             ..............   Mr HENRY NEVILLE
Lord Ambermere           ..............  Mr R. C. LYONS
Gould Smale                  ..............  Mr A. CHUDLEIGH
Major O’Connor           ..............  Mr W. MORGAN
Count Legrange             ..............   Mr H. ELMORE
Woosnam                      ..............   Mr G. HUNTLEY
Grimes                           ..............   Mr BRUTON ROBINS
Mrs Forster                    ..............  Miss NELLY BENNETT
Countess of Broadmeads   ...........   Miss LIZZIE CLAREMONT
Hon. Cecil Brookfield    ..............   Miss HARRIET JAY
Mary Middleton             ..............  Miss CARMEN BARKER
Melissa Smale                ..............  Miss EDITH BLAND
Lady Clare                     ..............  Miss MARIE ILLINGTON

     Mr Robert Buchanan’s version of Georges Ohnet’s Le Maître de Forges, with the title of Lady Clare, has again been revived during the week at the Pavilion, under the auspices of and with the company engaged by Mr Augustus Harris. Since Lady Clare first attracted Pavilion playgoers some two years ago Madame Jane Hading and M. Damala, the French originals of Ohnet’s hero and heroine, have visited both the Royalty and Gaiety theatres with the author’s own version of his novel that secured such a long run at the Paris Gymnase, and this version has also been rendered into English, but not anglicised, by Mr A. W. Pinero, for Mr and Mrs Kendal, The Ironmaster enjoying a remunerative run at the St. James’s. From the foregoing facts it must be concluded the French novelist’s work has become almost as popular in this country as in his own. The difference between the two principal English adaptations—there have been minor ones produced in the provinces—is that while Mr Pinero has simply been content with a scholarly translation of M. Ohnet’s “play,” Mr Buchanan has endeavoured with considerable success to make the principal characters of the original “novel” English, though of necessity he has to take them a trip across Channel to give the duel situation, the best in the play, an appearance of reality. The motive of the piece, the misery of a mariage de convenance is, unfortunately, quite as much English as French; but perhaps the lesson taught by Lady Clare comes home with greater force to aristocratic audiences than to the more humble frequenters of the Pavilion. For the rôle of John Middleton Mr Henry Neville has been engaged by Mr Harris, and appeared for the first time as the much-wronged ironmaster on Monday evening. We doubt if the part has been better played; but we need make no comparisons. It was in the second act that Mr Neville made his first great effect. In the indignant tones of a scarcely-suppressed passion he uttered the commands of John Middleton to the bride who had so cruelly deceived him. In contrast to this may be quoted the calm, quiet dignity of the man as he leaves the woman who has wrecked his life to go forth and meet, as he thinks, certain death at the hands of a professed duellist. Again, in the final reconciliation with his repentant wife, how well did the actor give expression to the newly-born joy of John Middleton. Mr Neville, of course, became an immense favourite with the audience, as every word he spoke could be distinctly heard, and they never seemed tired of cheering him. Miss Marie Illington as Lady Clare, quietly effective in the earliest scenes, rose to true power in the final act, where Lady Clare opens Lord Ambermere’s eyes to the true state of her feelings regarding him. The actress may also be complimented on her unforced manner of expressing the despair of Lady Clare, and when the wretched wife has to ask pity of the man to whom she had shown none Miss Illington’s heartbroken accents roused the sympathy of the house, and secured hearty applause when the curtain was raised at the conclusion of the second act. Miss Harriet Jay repeated her successful impersonation of the Eton boy, the Hon. Cecil Brookfield. The talented authoress again deported herself in male costume as if she rarely wore anything else. Whether this be so or not is of no moment. Cecil Brookfield, as Miss Jay represents him, is as exhilarating a specimen of the British boy as could be desired, though he commences to make love rather early to Mary Middleton. This character Miss Carmen Barker represented very prettily. Miss Edith Bland looked handsome and played well as Melissa Smale. Gould Smale, the worst drawn character in the piece, was, it will be remembered, played at the Globe by the late Horace Wigan, who was not seen to advantage in the part. Precisely the same may be said of Mr Chudleigh, the present representative of the Yankee at the Pavilion. Mr R. C. Lyons made an incisive and cool Lord Ambermere, showing to considerable advantage in the challenge scene. As the Countess of Broadmeads Miss Lizzie Claremont acted with the requisite “tone,” and we may give a word of praise to the Major O’Connor of Mr W. Morgan. Lady Clare was very well mounted, the scene of the lake and grounds at Broadmeads being both pretty and elaborate. The piece was also well received by a full house, and “curtain” honours were unstintingly bestowed on the principals.

___

 

The Morning Post (4 September 1885 - p.5)

CRYSTAL PALACE.
_____

     “Brock’s Benefit” is always a red-letter day in the annals of the Sydenham establishment, and yesterday, so far from being an exception to the rule, only served to emphasise it. This year is the 20th anniversary of Messrs. Brock’s engagement as pyrotechnists to the Crystal Palace Company, and the firm marked the event by a fête which throws into the shade all their previous benefit days. ... Yesterday, however, no fewer than 48,000 or 50,000 persons passed the turnstiles; and both he building and grounds presented a most animated appearance from a very early hour. Nor was the programme of amusements lacking either in extent or variety. In addition to the standing attractions of the Palace, there was a performance of Robert Buchanan’s drama “Lady Clare,” by Mr. Henry Neville’s company, under the direction of Mr. Augustus Harris, an extraordinary exhibition of shooting prowess by an eleven-year old rifleman whose nom de guerre of “Young Nimrod” conceals the more ordinary pseudonym of “Brown,” and the Blondin-like evolutions, on a lofty wire, of Madlle. Ella Zuila. In addition there were entertainments by Dr. Lynn and performances by the bands of the Grenadier Guards, the Scots Guards, and the London Rifle Brigade. But at a Brock Benefit fireworks and illuminations are the chief attractions, and these were provided on a lavish scale. ...

___

 

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser (3 August, 1886 - p.5)

QUEEN’S THEATRE.
_____

     Those who have seen The Ironmaster, or who have read the novel from which it is taken, will find no difficulty in arriving at the source of Lady Clare, which was produced at the Queen’s Theatre last night before one of the most crowded audiences we have ever seen within the building. Lady Clare is by Robert Buchanan, author of Sophia, Alone in London, &c., and treating it as an original composition, the plot may be described as simple and its unravelling not unnatural. Lady Clare Brookfield (Miss Clifford) is in love with Lord Ambermere (Mr. F. Charles). She is beautiful and virtuous: he is a roué and becomes poor, and to get out of his difficulties marries Melissa Smale (Miss Florence Cowell), the daughter of an American millionaire. Lady Clare, out of pique, after haughtily refusing an offer of marriage from John Middleton (Mr. M. Brodie), a wealthy manufacturer, suddenly gives her hand to him, but on the night of the marriage expresses aversion to her husband, and, by consent, husband and wife occupy the same house in that capacity in name only. Abroad, the chief actors in the drama meet in an hotel, and Lord Ambermere, a crack duellist, purposely insults Middleton. A meeting follows, and as the pistols are fired Lady Clare rushes between the combatants and receives the shot of her first lover, which, however, while it terminates the encounter, does not lead to serious consequences, but rather to the happy union of Lady Clare with her husband. It is in all its details an excellent play; it is in fairly good hands; and the Queen’s should be crowded every night of its presentation. A piece better mounted at this theatre we have never seen. The scenery and dresses are really superb. At the close of every one of the acts the principals were called before the curtain and honoured with storms of well-earned applause.

___

 

The Stage (15 June, 1888 - p.4)

     DUBLIN—GAIETY (Patentee, proprietor, and Director, Mr. Michael Gunn; General Manager, Mr. J. Doyle).— Miss Janetta Steer, supported by Mr. Frederick Mouillot and Co., appeared here on Monday evening in Robert Buchanan’s drama, Lady Clare, and received a generous reception. To the representation of the title rôle Miss Steer lent all that personal attractions and a genuine capacity for portraying emotion could bestow on it, while Mr. Frederick Mouillot, albeit at times inaudible, owing to a peculiar habit of lowering his voice at the termination of a sentence, gave a careful rendering of the character of John Middleton, and in the second act especially may be credited with a really capable piece of playing in his scene with Lady Clare. The Lord Ambermere of Mr. R. T. Lingham was a somewhat spasmodic performance of the part, and Mr. Charles Herberte was only fairly good as Mr. Gould Smale. The small part of Count Legrange was successfully played by Mr. Wilton Heriot, and Mr. J. Edward Wolf, who, under other names, appeared to double some other minor parts, caused some merriment to the gallery by his exposition of the character of Major O’Connor. The brighter side of the story was depicted humorously and cleverly by Miss Dolly Harmer and Miss Dora Goddard, who appeared as Hon. Cecil Brookfield and Mary Middleton respectively, and Miss Leslie Lester rendered the part of Melissa Smale with no inconsiderable amount of success. Mrs. Ernest Clifton represented the Countess of Broadmeads. The drama was fairly well mounted, and the incidental music, which is pretty and was tastefully executed, is by Lady Arthur Hill. The comedietta, A Case for Eviction, preceded the drama, and was capably performed.

___

 

The Stage (24 August, 1888 - p.4)

     BELFAST—ROYAL (Proprietor and Manager, Mr. J. F. Warden; Secretary and Business Manager, Mr. Fred Jarman).—We are fortunate in having Robert Buchanan’s Lady Clare on its first production here, rendered by such a capable young actress as Miss Janette Steer and the capable Co. supporting her. Miss Steer’s portrayal of the haughty Lady Clare is a finished performance, the subtle changes of the character are firmly grasped, and nowhere is there a straining for effect. Mr. F. Mouillot as John Middleton gives a masterly interpretation in keeping with the character. Mr. Charles Herbert is a thorough Yankee, and Mr. F. Seale Lingham as Lord Amblemere gets the villain’s praise—plenty of hisses. The humours of juvenile courtship are well delineated by Miss Naomi Hope as Melissa Smale and Mr. Raymond Capp as Cecil Brookfield. On Thursday Pygmalion and Galatea was to be played with Miss Steer as Galatea. Next week, Mr. and Mrs. Hubert O’Grady and Co. in Emigration.

___

 

The Morning Post (7 December 1888 - p.5)

TERRY’S THEATRE.
_____

     Yesterday afternoon Miss Janette Steer, who is not altogether unknown to the metropolitan stage, appeared as Lady Clare in Mr. Robert Buchanan’s drama of that name, in which Miss Ada Cavendish played a few years ago at the Globe Theatre, prior to the production of “The Ironmaster”—based upon the same French theme—at the St. James’s Theatre, by Mr. and Mrs. Kendal. Miss Steer has grace, feeling, and the power of interesting her audience, no mean recommendations for the profession in which she is endeavouring to obtain distinction. There was much in her performance yesterday that was entitled to high praise, more especially in the concluding acts, when the plot runs in a somewhat melodramatic current. Mr. Frederick Mouillot was a manly representative of John Middleton, and Miss Dora Goddard was appropriately simple in style as the manufacturer’s youthful sister. In other respects the cast was the reverse of strong.

___

 

The Era (8 December 1888)

MISS JANETTE STEER’S MATINEE.
_____

     Though the late Lord Beaconsfield, according to his own account, was “born in a library,” we were not aware that Mr Augustus Harris’s entry into this world was made in a place of amusement until the fact was conveyed to us by the programme of Miss Janette Steer’s matinée at Terry’s Theatre on Thursday afternoon last. It was stated on this bill that Lady Clare was played by arrangement with “Augustus Harris, Esq., originally produced at the Globe Theatre.” The cast of the piece on Thursday was as follows:—

Countess Broadmeads  ..............   Mrs ERNEST CLIFTON
Lady Clare Brookfield    ..............  Miss JANETTE STEER
Hon. Cecil Brookfield    ..............   Mr ARTHUR WALCOTT
Lord Ambermere           ..............  Mr F. TEALE LINGHAM
Count Legrange             ..............  Mr C. HOWITT
John Middleton             ..............   Mr FREDERICK MOUILLOT
Mary Middleton             ..............  Miss DORA GODDARD
Major O’Connor           ..............  Mr ASPINALL
Mr Gould Smale           ..............   Mr CHARLES HERBERTE
Melissa Smale                ..............  Miss NAOMI HOPE
Woosnam                      ..............   Mr J. E. WOLFE
Mrs Forster                    ..............  Miss CAROLINE ADAMS
Montgomery                   ..............  Mr E. SINCLAIR
Grimes                           ..............   Mr JAMES SINCLAIR
French Waiter                .............. Mr MAURICE DEVINE
French Surgeon             ...............  Mr E. CASTLE

Mr Robert Buchanan’s adaptation of Mr George Ohnet’s novel, “Le Maitre de Forges,” was first played at the Globe Theatre, on April 11th, 1883, with Miss Ada Cavendish in the part of Lady Clare Brookfield, Mr Philip Beck as Lord Ambermere, Mr Alfred Bucklaw as John Middleton, Mr Horace Wigan as Mr Gould Smale, Miss Carlotta Leclercq as the Countess of Broadmeads, Miss Harriett Jay as the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, and Miss Lydia Cowell as Mary Middleton—a very strong and interesting cast. The story of the piece has also been made familiar to English audiences by the performances of The Ironmaster at the St. James’s Theatre, Mr Buchanan’s work being somewhat crude and commonplace, though a fairly effective version of the French novel. Miss Janette Steer’s nervous and emotional personality does not unfit her for the representation of the proud and sensitive aristocrate, and she appeared to considerable advantage in the part. It cannot, however, truly be said that Miss Steer or her companions made us forget previous performances of the title-rôle or of the piece. There was a vast amount of honest work done by the cast, but in hardly any case did it pass the limits of the second-rate. With this deduction from the sum of perfect praise, we may say that Mrs Ernest Clifton was ladylike and easy as the Countess Broadmeads, and that Miss Dora Goddard was a sprightly and agreeable Mary Middleton. Mr Arthur Walcott, who played the Hon. Cecil Brookfield, did not sufficiently disguise his real age, and a certain griminess of his upper lip and other facial details made his impersonation of youth somewhat transparent. Mr F. Teale Lingham looked Lord Ambermere fairly well. Mr Frederick Mouillot threw a great amount of feeling and earnestness into his representation of John Middleton, and Mr C. Howitt and Mr Aspinall gave characteristic portrayals of the parts of Count Legrange and Major O’Connor respectively. Mr Charles Herberte made Mr Gould Smale a typical Yankee papa. Miss Naomi Hope as Melissa looked far too comfortable a personage to be capable of much vindictive villainy; Mr James Sinclair spoke Grimes’s oration eloquently enough; and the other parts in the play were fairly well filled. A rather thin audience watched the progress of the performance with amiable apathy.

clarelongton

[Advert from The Staffordshire Sentinel (23 February, 1889 - p.1).]

 

The York Herald (22 October, 1889)

MISS JANETTE STEER AT
YORK THEATRE ROYAL.

     Last night the rising and talented actress, Miss Janette Steer, began an engagement at the York Theatre, in Robert Buchanan’s drama “Lady Clare.” Miss Steer’s representation of the title rôle is worthy of the highest praise. The part is undoubtedly a most trying one, but it would be impossible to concur how it could be improved. Miss Steer’s acting, when she hears of her lover’s ruin and his duplicity, the scene with her husband on the wedding day, and her reconciliation with her husband in the last act being simply perfect. It is seldom we see a “star” assisted by such an excellent company as the one under notice. Mr. F. Mouillot as John Middleton, acts his part like the true artist he is, the wedding scene above mentioned being worthy of special mention. Mr. H. A. Forde’s representation of Lord Ambermere left nothing to be desired. The part is a very unthankful one, but was admirably acted. Mr. Frank Irish played the part of the wealthy American, Gould Smale, in a most efficient manner. Mr. Irish is a comedian of well- known ability, and seems admirably suited to his part. As Mary Middleton Miss Blanche Barry was highly amusing, and her acting found great favour with the audience, and a similar compliment must be paid to the highly finished manner in which Mr. Belkan played the character of Cecil Brookfield. Miss May Protheroe had a most unthankful part as Melissa Smale, but it was well represented. The various minor parts were also satisfactorily filled. The mounting of the piece was very good, and music by Lady Arthur Hill was very appropriate. The audience frequently by their loud applause to their approval of the acting. Lady Clare will be only played once more during the week, namely, to-night, and we would strongly recommend playgoers not to miss the opportunity of seeing one of the best dramas of the present time, acted by a company of the highest merit. On Wednesday, “School for Scandal” will be substituted, with Miss Steer as Lady Teazle; on Thursday, “The Lady of Lyons”; Friday, which is under the patronage of the Sheriff and Mrs. Matthews, is set apart for “Pygmalion and Galatea”; and on Saturday night, a play by Mr. F. Mouillot, entitled “Gentleman Jack,” will be produced. The drama was preceded by a very amusing comedietta, “A Case for Eviction,” which was well played, and caused much laughter.

___

 

The Theatre (1 May, 1894)

[From the section ‘Some Amateur Performances.’]

“LADY CLARE,” BY THE ROMANY CLUB.

     Buchanan’s version of “The Ironmaster” has never stood high in favour amongst amateurs, and in steering wide of it they have shown their good sense. Tackling the leading parts means, for the majority of amateurs, courting disaster. There are just three or four I could lay my hand upon who might be trusted to render a fair account of Middleton, and Miss Olive Kennett, I fancy, could reveal to us something of the tragedy of that second act; but save and excepting these it were best to leave the play on the shelf, “in the odour of camphor.” It’s too tough a nut for them. Mr. and Mrs. Hallward have stronger teeth than most, and even they do not get to the kernel of their characters, though the actress (at her best in the first and last acts) comes uncommonly near it—so near, indeed, that with a stronger note of pathos it would be actually within her grasp. As it stands, however, it is a performance to be equalled by few amateurs, and beaten only by the one exception I have named. Compared with the difficulties with which the principals are compassed about, the path of the remainder seems singularly free from obstacle, and such trifling ones as present themselves are dismissed with enviable ease by the capable cast the Romany put forward. Mrs. Sim, alone amongst amateurs in her capacity for character of a boldly-marked kind, was exactly the actress required for Melissa Smale; Mr. Auckland Bramwell’s realistic Ambermere aroused the strongest interest in a new actor; Mrs. Coplestone, with the merest corner to fill, filled it to perfection; Mr. Tulloh gave a graphic sketch of the American millionaire; Mr. Birch Reynardson exercised marked discretion as the Count; a couple of minutes sufficed Mr. Montgomerie for an excellent bit of work; Mr. Jeaffreson’s boyish spirits enlivened the wearisome comic relief; Miss Annesley was lively if somewhat self- conscious as Mary—curiously enough, in little Miss Allen, the dainty little actress who made her début at the last Romany performance, the Club had the very actress to their hand.

_____

 

Next: Robert Buchanan’s production of J. B. Buckstone’s The Flowers of the Forest (1883)

Back to the Bibliography or the Plays or Harriett Jay Theatre Reviews

 

Home
Biography
Bibliography

 

Poetry
Plays
Fiction

 

Essays
Reviews
Letters

 

The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

 

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

 

Links
Site Diary
Site Search