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

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ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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THEATRE REVIEWS

10. Storm-Beaten (1883)

 

Storm-Beaten
by Robert Buchanan (adapted from his novel, God and the Man).
London: Adelphi Theatre. 14 March to 8 June, 1883.
Followed by provincial tour.
Other Performances:
Union-Square Theatre, New York. 26 November 1883 to 26 January, 1884 (76th performance). Followed by American tour.
London: The Grand Theatre, Islington. Commencing 14 June, 1886. (Revised ending.)

Film: God and the Man, directed by Edwin J. Collins, 1918 (based on the original novel).

 

The Dundee Courier and Argus (15 January, 1883 - p.3)

     I understand that Mr Robert Buchanan is making a very desperate effort to effect a triumph with the play which he has written for the Adelphi Theatre, and which the Messrs Gatti have determined to produce without regard to cost. Mr Buchanan has failed so often as a dramatist that his present attempt is an affair almost of success or despair. Unfortunately this clever Scotch poet has many enemies on the London press.

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The New York Times (8 February, 1883)

. . .

Mr. Robert Buchanan is to have “a last chance.” A poet of undoubted power and a successful novelist, he has made several conspicuous failures as a dramatist. This would seem to be a recommendation, however, in England, where the more frequently a writer for the stage fails the more he may be said to succeed. Managers and the public have, however, grown tired of Mr. Buchanan, who, judging from much of his literary work, and taking into consideration his many failures, ought at last to know something of the requirements of the stage. He is to have a new work produced at the Adelphi about the middle of next month. One of the strongest scenes in it will be between two men, (the characters by Warner and Barnes,) at the end of which one of them is killed. It is not rash to guess that it will not be Warner who dies, for he is the leading man at the Adelphi. Although Buchanan has made a host of enemies in the press and in literature, he may count upon fair play. Anybody who can give to the English stage an original and wholesome drama will always find a hearty and appreciative welcome at the hands of the public.

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The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (10 February, 1883 - p.6)

     MISS EWERETTA LAWRENCE plays a scene of Romeo and Juliet on Thursday morning with Mr. Bellew for that actor’s benefit. Her success as Pauline gives interest to this bolder effort. This young lady will also play the part originally intended for Miss Harriett Jay in Mr. Buchanan’s play at the Adelphi.

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The Sheffield Independent (24 February, 1883 - p.12)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan’s new romantic drama in preparation at the Adelphi Theatre, London, is an adaptation of the same writer’s novel entitled “God and the Man.” It will be produced on the 10th of March. Miss Eweretta Lawrence, the young lady who made her debut at the Gaiety the other morning as Pauline, in “The Lady of Lyons,” will play a part in the piece. The principal characters are assigned to Mr. Chas. Warner and Miss Amy Roselle.

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The Edinburgh Evening News (1 March, 1883 - p.2)

     THE Lord Chamberlain’s latest exploit is marked by all that superiority to common-sense which is naturally to be expected from an official whose existence and whose functions form a standing practical joke. In the exercise of his power, left to him by a confiding legislature of preventing the production of any play which he dislikes on any ground whatever, this functionary has objected to the title of Mr Robert Buchanan’s new play “God and the Man,” and consequently the play must be produced with a new title or not at all. To realise the full absurdity of the situation it is only necessary to remember that Mr Buchanan’s play is a dramatisation of his own novel with the same title. The title certainly does not impress one as having been chosen by either a wise philosopher or a sensible man of the world; and it need not be contended that the direct loss to dramatic literature would be great if “God and the Man” were suppressed for good and all; though M. Hugo, whose theism is of a similarly crude sort to Mr Buchanan’s, has produced some sufficiently strong plays. But all question as to the permissibility of the title is made idle by the fact that Mr Buchanan has been allowed to put his title on his romance and publish that as he pleases, whether in book form or in popular periodicals. Can anything be more exquisitely absurd than the system of literary regulation which, allowing a writer to print a given title on his book and on every page of his book, steps in to prevent his giving the same title to a dramatised version of his story? It appears that it was not Mr Buchanan’s intention to use his catchpenny phrase for advertising purposes; but nothing, it appears, will satisfy the Lord Chamberlain short of the complete suppression of a title which might possibly disturb the refined nerves of his dear friend Mrs Grundy. Having seen the play, his lordship is, of course, aware that the deity is not made one of the dramatis personæ. It is simply that his fine taste, nourished in the atmosphere of levées and the highest life below stairs, is offended by Mr Buchanan’s unconventional use of a name which, as he must have heard whispered, is used with deplorable frequency, and with much more than Mr Buchanan’s indecorum, by a large section of the patrons of the drama his lordship regulates. And, his lordship being shocked, the author and the British nation must make his taste theirs in so far as regards their theatre-going. They may have Mr Buchanan’s romance on their tables; but when they go to see it dramatised they must have another title on their programmes. It will perhaps occur to the theatre manager concerned that an appropriate substitute for the title of “God and the Man” would be “The Lord Chamberlain and Mr Buchanan;” and it is conceivable that a highly realistic drama might be written to suit, which should be rather more entertaining than Mr Buchanan’s. But then his lordship would not allow it; and his lordship’s power is of an immortal order. His office is the most senseless anomaly in English administration, and that is saying a good deal; but there is not the slightest prospect of the Government taking action to put him down. All nuisances and outrages discoverable by human ingenuity, save this, are brought under the notice of the Government by members of Parliament. No plots are directed against the Lord Chamberlain; no Home Ruler maligns him. It may well be questioned whether British drama can possibly rise to any literary dignity while it is thus controlled by Her Majesty’s major domo.

stormad4march

[Advert in Reynolds’s Newspaper (4 March, 1883 - p.4).]

 

The Stage (9 March, 1883 - p.10)

     Storm Beaten, the new drama to be produced at the Adelphi on the 14th inst., includes in the cast Messrs. Charles Warner, J. H. Barnes, and H. Beerbohm Tree, and Mrs. Billington, Miss Laurence, and Miss Roselle. The original title given to the piece by the author, Mr. Robert Buchanan, viz., God and the Man, was, it seems, rather too strong for the taste of my Lord Chamberlain, hence the alteration.

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The Morning Post (15 March, 1883 - p.3)

ADELPHI THEATRE.
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     A terrible story of hatred and revenge brought at last to a comfortable arrangement is that of Mr. R. Buchanan’s new drama entitled “Storm Beaten,” which was produced at this theatre last night. The play is founded upon a novel by the same author bearing the strange title “God and the Man.” The scene is laid in a rural district of England. The time is about a century ago. Between the families of the Orchardsons and the Christiansons—the former aristocrats, the latter yeomen—there has raged for generations a desperate feud. Notwithstanding the difference of their social positions, the members of these hostile houses have frequently crossed one another’s paths, and always in a sense the most unfriendly. Richard Orchardson makes perfidious love to Kate Christianson, ruins, and leaves her. Thenceforward her brother Christian Christianson, dedicates his life to one purpose and one only—vengeance on the betrayer of his sister. What complicates the dramatic situation and gives additional fuel to the frenzy of the avenger is that his own sweetheart is solicited in marriage by this same man on whose destruction he is bent. On sea and shore the two men are perpetually together, for the young yeoman follows his victim like his shadow and vows to hunt him down. Their awful adventures are the business of the plot. They are shipwrecked in the Arctic seas, thrown upon ice floes, and at last cast away upon a desert island. There they stand face to face, the only inhabitants. But when it comes to the point and vengeance is within his grasp Christian cannot find it in his heart to slay his enemy. The sense of loneliness and desolation all around unnerves him. He cannot surrender the sound of a human voice, the touch of a human hand. So, when Richard falls ill and seems verging to death, Christian forgives him, attends him through his illness, and saves his life. Presently a ship arrives. The castaways are taken on board and brought back to England, where, of course, the wrongs of the forsaken girl are redressed, Richard turns over a new leaf, Christian is restored to his sweetheart, and all ends happily. The scenery, by Mr. W. R. Beverley, is exceedingly picturesque. It comprises sylvan landscapes, views of parks and mansions, and, above all, some finely painted pictures of icebergs and frozen seas, where ships have come to hopeless ruin. The two principal characters, Orchardson and Christianson, are impersonated by Mr. Charles Warner and Mr. J. H. Barnes respectively in a style which evokes the warm approval of the audience. The silliness and conceit of Jabez Greene, a poor, half-witted shepherd, are depicted with admirable fidelity by Mr. B. Tree. Miss Roselle, as Kate Christianson, acts with touching tenderness, and at times with brilliant passion. Miss E. Lawrence plays Priscilla Sefton, the sweetheart of Christian Christianson, with engaging grace and gentleness, and Miss Clara Jecks is charmingly piquante and vivacious as Sally Marvel, a little village coquette. The play was received with unanimous enthusiasm, and bids fair for a long run.

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The Standard (15 March, 1883 - p.3)

ADELPHI THEATRE.
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     In Storm-Beaten, Mr. Robert Buchanan’s dramatic version of his novel “God and the Man,” a piece admirably adapted for Adelphi audiences has been provided. It is a play of exceptional power. The plot is carried on at least through the greater portion of it by extremely effective incidents; the dialogue is terse and telling, and opportunity is abundantly given for the introduction of those exciting scenes which waken the enthusiasm of impressionable spectators. In some places, it is true, the closeness of the sublime to the ridiculous come perilously near to exemplification. It may be urged against Storm-Beaten also that the horrors are accumulated to such an extent that they cease to horrify and begin to grow tedious, and the drama falls off somewhat in the latter portion. Nevertheless, it does something more than merely answer the main purpose of its production. Claims to be considered a work of art may be asserted on its behalf— claims which will be more readily conceded when a little revision has been bestowed upon it.
     The story opens forcibly at once. The time is the last century; the scene is laid in the Christiansons’ farm-house on an evil day for them. The owner of the property their family has held for many years is a cruel enemy of the house, and young Christian, who lives there with his mother and sister, Kate, has, did he but know it, a new and bitter grievance against the Squire’s son, Richard Orchardson. The latter has won the girl’s heart and basely betrayed her; his love for her has passed, and a stranger in the village, Priscilla Sefton, the daughter of a wandering preacher, who is, however, a man of wealth, has attracted the traitor. Into Christian’s farm Priscilla innocently wanders, having lost her way, and she talks to him in an idyllic fashion which might be credible in a book but is incredible in the simplest of stage ingénues. Christian sees her on her way, taking with him a noble dog that has hitherto followed him about the farm-house, and this animal barks at Richard, who is just leaving the farm to avoid the brother of the girl he has deceived. Richard raises the gun he carries with him and kills the dog, whereupon a violent scene occurs, Kate’s intercession for her lover raising the suspicions of her mother. The old woman, receiving fresh proof of the villainy of these enemies of her house, takes up a Bible and bids her children swear before she dies that they will pursue the feud; but Kate, with an exclamation of distress, refuses. The position is thus distinctly set forth, and sympathy for Kate and her brother, detestation for Richard Orchardson, and interest in Priscilla are aroused. It is a merit of the play that contrast of scene is constantly afforded. The Second Act takes place in a remarkably picturesque glade, where Kate is discovered crowned as the May Queen. Such a character her sin unfits her for, and she implores Richard to marry her as he has promised; but he, now deeply attracted by Priscilla, roughly refuses, and Christian, who loves Priscilla likewise, scarcely notices his sister’s distress, the bitterness of which is unsupportable when the unhappy Kate learns how little she has to expect from her betrayer. She cannot bear to stay and face her brother and friends; but before she puts into execution her plan of leaving the village she confides the truth to Priscilla, making no mention of Richard’s name, however. But Christian suspects, and in course of time suspicion is verified. His sister has vanished, he knows why, and knows, likewise, who is responsible for her shame and anguish. That so foul a wretch should be striving to win Priscilla from him trebles the offence in Christian’s eyes, and he swears an oath to follow the offender (who has taken passage on board a ship in which Priscilla and her father are making a voyage for the benefit of the latter’s failing health) and exact vengeance. On the deck of the ship Miles Standish Priscilla is next seen, and Richard earnestly urges his suit, endeavouring at the same time to blacken his rival’s good repute. A sailor is listening, and, suddenly casting off disguise, the sailor reveals himself as Christian.
     Up to this point, the middle of the Third Act, the story is powerful and dramatic; but here it sinks to melodrama. The recapitulation of the foregoing incidents sounds little and possibly trite in recital, while on the stage, owing to the skill of its construction, they are unquestionably fine. Could the piece have been sustained at this level a play of very exceptional force would have been the result; but henceforth well-trodden ground is reached and traversed. Christian flies at his enemy’s throat, is arrested and put in irons by the captain of the ship; Richard descends to the hold, and seeks the prisoner’s life by the desperate expedient of setting fire to that part of the ship. Before the murder is accomplished the victim is rescued, and at the moment the ship is struck by an iceberg. The coming of the flimsy canvas mass of ice brings with it awakening from the illusion which the ingenious treatment of comparatively fresh episodes has caused, and though probably “God and the Man” was written before the last play seen on the Adelphi stage, the stranding of the two deadly enemies on the Arctic shore strongly suggests the very similar situation in which two equally deadly enemies were imprisoned in the coal mine. This is, of course, purely an unfortunate coincidence, yet it has the effect of destroying the freshness of Mr. Buchanan’s art. On the icy shore much, too much, very painful business takes place. Christian, believing as he does that he is doomed, cannot deny himself the pleasure of gloating over the sufferings of the man he has tracked down. He will not kill him, desiring that eh should die by inches; and all this is insisted on so minutely that, instead of being thrilled, the audience betrayed a disposition to ridicule the situation. The amendment of this is easy, and it is advisable also to modify the prayer in which, when Richard is dying or seems to be so, Christian implores that the man’s life may be spared—on the ground that it will be terribly lonely when he is dead, even the presence of an enemy being better than absolute isolation. It is to be regretted that the author finds no escape from obvious methods of completing his story. Certainly, it is difficult to see what he can do, except send a boat to take off the miserable pair, now at the point of death; but it is in overcoming such difficulties as this—or, at least, by working out inevitable incidents in a plausible manner—than an author shows his skill, that the playwright gains the higher title of dramatist. Mr. Buchanan has nothing new to suggest. A boat, how guided no one can tell, comes to the rescue, and the last act—the fifth, or the sixth, counting the prologue as Act I, which, in fact, it most assuredly is, though authors are shy of confessing to plays in six acts—falls out precisely as any one who has witnessed half a dozen melodramas would guess. Christian comes home to find Priscilla faithful, and the repentant Richard marries Kate.
     The heaviest work falls to Mr. Charles Warner as Christian, and he wins cordial applause throughout. Were his emotion less strongly accentuated at times it would be more truly effective, but in some scenes he was excellent. The passionate delivery of the oath to track down his sister’s betrayer rose to a height of tragic intensity, and the love scenes with Priscilla were very naturally given by Christian, as also by the girl, played by Miss Eweretta Lawrence with singular charm and freshness. This young lady is, without doubt, one of the most valuable of recent acquisitions to the stage, and as Priscilla she amply improved the good impression made some time since as Pauline. Her delicate and graceful performance did much for the success of Storm-Beaten. Mr. Barnes acts so truthfully that the greatest of all compliments for such a part—a sound hissing when he appears before the curtain—is accorded to him. Miss Amy Roselle did the fullest justice to the part of Kate; her bearing was exceedingly sympathetic, and the absence of all affectations, which were formerly deplored in her acting, is a welcome and most commendable feature. Mr. Beerbohm Tree gives a particularly and amusing sketch of a weak-minded shepherd, Jabez Greene, and other parts are ably filled by Messrs. Edgar, Redwood, Proctor, Fitzdavis, Shore, Mrs. Billington, and Miss Clara Jecks. Mr. Beverley’s scenery is painted with his accustomed ability, but the appearance of the artist in the middle of a play is to be deprecated as sadly destructive to stage illusion.

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Glasgow Herald (15 March, 1883)

MR BUCHANAN’S NEW DRAMA.
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(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
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                                                                                                                                 London, Wednesday Night.
     The plot of Mr Robert Buchanan’s new drama “Storm Beaten,” produced before a large audience at that Adelphi Theatre to-night, and of the author’s romance “God and the Man,” published in 1881, are practically identical. It matters not whether the play was adapted from the novel, or, as the play-bill to-night would seem to suggest the romance from the drama. The story Mr Buchanan has told us was written “with a particular purpose,” and he adds, “it descends to what some critics call the heresy of instruction.” The special purpose in the present case is “a study of the vanity and folly of individual hate.” The hatred which Christian Christianson, the hero of the drama, has nurtured and cultivated is decidedly both foolish and vain. Richard Orchardson is his hereditary enemy only in so far as that his family, thanks to the extravagance and stupidity of the Christiansons, have acquired a goodly portion of the Christiansons’ estate. Subsequently Richard Orchardson has seduced Christian’s sister Kate, who in the drama occupies a far more prominent position than in the novel. The scoundrel has abandoned Kate when she is about to become a mother, and generally has behaved in a heartless and utterly reckless manner. But it is evident these wrongs have less to do with Christian’s hatred than the fact that Richard now has pretensions to the hands of the gentle Wesleyan maid Priscilla, the daughter of the blind preacher Mr Sefton. Christian loves Priscilla with all the ardour of a southern nature, and when she emigrates with her father to America he follows her in the disguise of a deck hand, the villain Richard Orchardson, being likewise a passenger by the ship. It is unnecessary to follow the fortunes of the little party through a variety of adventures (which include a ship on fire and the wreck of the vessel) until the villain and the hero find themselves alone and face to face on an iceberg. At last Providence seems to have given a victim into the avenger’s hand, but he will not slay him, although he leaves him for dead. The scene in the desert land in Artic regions, where Christian builds himself a hut and discovers that the robber of his provisions is his old enemy, the gradual growth of a better nature, the expected death and confession of the villain, whom the hero has now learned to lament as a Christian man should, are all features, which, simple enough in a novel are not by any means easy to portray on the stage. Luckily, however, Mr Buchanan had the advantage of a splendid caste. Had it been otherwise it is difficult to say what might have been the result of the melo-dramatically unlikely situation of the fight on the ice, and of the tedious and long drawn-out scene of the villain’s death. Singularly inadequate stage arrangements at our time imperilled the drama. The iceberg which crushes the ship was pushed on in a manner which inevitably recalled the stage carpenter. The aurora borealis, which should have played an important part in the fourth act, more nearly resembled a 5th of November display of fireworks, and later in the act the curtain had to be lowered for a few moments while defects were rectified. The story of the drama is, however, a strong one, and the principal part of the revengeful hero is happily in the hands of Mr Charles Warner, who gives one of those powerful character sketches for which he is celebrated. Mr J. H. Barnes, though somewhat robust as Richard Orchardson (who in the drama recovers and eventually marries the woman he has wronged), played a difficult part with much force. Miss Amy Roselle is a tearful Kate, Miss Clara Jecks an admirable representative of the character of the Croyden dairymaid; while if Miss E. Lawrence hardly grasped the author’s idea of the prim Priscilla, she played with considerable power. Indeed, “Storm Beaten” bids fair to be a pit and gallery success, and so far as the public were concerned the drama was to-night received with real enthusiasm.

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The Edinburgh Evening News (15 March, 1883 - p.4)

MR BUCHANAN’S NEW DRAMA.

     Mr Robert Buchanan’s new drama “Storm Beaten,” produced before a large audience at the Adelphi Theatre, London, last night, is an adaptation of the story of the author’s romance “God and the Man.” The story, Mr Buchanan has intimated, was written “with a particular purpose,” and he adds, “it descends to what some critics call the heresy of instruction.” The special purpose in the present case is “a study of the vanity and folly of individual hate.” The hero, Christian Christianson, nurtures against the villian, Richard Orchardson, a hereditary hate, aggravated by Orchardson’s conduct in seducing and deserting Christian’s sister Kate, and in attempting to win the girl whom Christian loves. This hate is fanned by a variety of circumstances, but at length gradually dies out when the two men are wrecked together on an ice-floe, and the villian comes to the point of death and repents. In the novel he dies, but in the play he recovers to marry Kate Christianson. It is doubtful (says a London correspondent) whether Mr Buchanan has rightly judged the taste of a popular audience in thus abandoning his original conception. The play went well last night, with every symptom of appreciation from the house, until the fourth act (there are five acts and a prologue) when the interest began to flag with the reconciliation of the two foes, and the final issues of the drama became too obvious. Viewing the production as a whole, Mr Buchanan can be congratulated on having scored a success which will keep the stage of the Adelphi for many days. He has found a most admirable exponent of his leading character, Christian Christianson, in Mr Charles Warner. The part requires no delicate artistic shading, but is just that boldly-sketched, highly-toned portraiture in which Mr Warner is seen at his best. The cast includes Miss Amy Roselle, Mr J. H. Barnes, Mr J. G. Shore, Mrs Billington, and other well-known names. The scenic effects also do justice to the play. One of them (the breaking up of the ship by icebergs) roused the audience to considerable excitement, and must have recalled to some the old Adelphi sensation of the “Sea of Ice.” The audience gave hearty recalls at the close of every act to the leading artistes, and, when the curtain fell, their warm acclamations to the author, who duly bowed an acknowledgment.

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The Evening Telegram (New York) (15 March, 1883)

“STORM BEATEN.”
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First Performance of Robert Buchanan’s New Play.
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A SUCCESS AT THE LONDON ADELPHI.
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Hate and Vengeance Ending in Reconciliation.
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A WONDERFUL ICE SCENE.
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VIA FRENCH ATLANTIC CABLE TO THE EVENING TELEGRAM.

     LONDON, March 15.—The much anticipated drama by Robert Buchanan, entitled “Storm Beaten,” founded upon his romance, “God and the Man,” was produced last night at the Adelphi Theatre. It is a play in a prologue and five acts, and its strong cast and elaborate scenic effects, added to its story of thrilling interest, combined to make the first performance exceptionally interesting. It attracted a large and brilliant audience who extended an enthusiastic welcome to it.

THE CAST.

     The cast was as follows:—

Squire Orchardson............................Mr. Edgar
Richard Orchardson, his son..............Mr. Barnes
Dame Christianson.............................Mrs. Billington
Christian Christianson, her son............Mr. Warner
Kate Christianson, her daughter..........Amy Roselle
Mr. Sefton, a wandering preacher.......Mr. Shore
Priscilla Sefton, his daughter................Eweretta Lawrence
Jacob Marvel, a cobbler.....................Mr. Redwood
Sally Marvel, his daughter...................Clara Jecks
Jabez Green, a shepherd.....................Mr. Beerbohmtree
Johnnie Downs, a sailor.......................Mr. Proctor
Captain Higginbotham, of the brig Miles Standish,
                                                           Mr. Fitzdavis

PURPOSE OF THE PLAY.

     Hate and vengeance form the purpose of the play, which is mellowed by the wholesome moral of the impotence of human revenge. The hate in question exists between two families, and has been handed down for years from father to son on both sides. In the prologue the cause of the hatred is forcibly depicted. The bullying Squire Orchardson forecloses a mortgage on the farm belonging to the widow of an old tenant, Farmer Christianson. The pitiless act of the Squire is aggravated by his expression of pleasure when he sees the family begging for bread. The widow swears Kate to vengeance, and this brings the prologue to a close.

THE FIRST ACT.

     The first act opens on the May Day revels. Richard Orchardson and Christian Christianson becomes unconsciously worse enemies than the wildest dreams of their forefathers could have foretold. Both love Priscilla Sefton, the daughter of a blind Wesleyan Methodist preacher. Unknown to either Christian or his mother, who dies of a broken heart, Richard has secretly loved Kate Christianson, whom he has betrayed under a promise of marriage. The charming scene of the crowning of the May queen is here introduced, with a pastoral ballet and the May pole brought in. By a grim satire of  fate, Kate, who had been cast aside by her faithless lover in favor of Priscilla, is crowned queen. The story of the heartless betrayal is divulged to Christian by Priscilla, who has been Kate’s confidant. The name of the betrayer, however, is not disclosed.

THE SECOND ACT.

     This leads to the second act, where Sefton, who has been the guest of the Squire, is on the eve of going on a sea voyage for the benefit of his health, accompanied by his daughter. The Squire learning that the preacher is rich urges his son to press his suit, ultimately deciding that Richard should take passage on the same ship as the Seftons. This intention on the part of Richard coming to the ears of Kate, who has given birth to a child, she implores him to keep his promise and not forsake her. Ruthlessly flinging her aside he flees, leaving Kate in a swoon, in which state she is found by Christian, who learns for the first time that his sister’s betrayer is his old, hated rival. At this point the play is intensely dramatic and effective. With hand uplifted to heaven, Christian calls upon God to deliver into his hands the villain who wrought so much sorrow and calamity in his family. This curse delivered with desperate earnestness, mingled with the hysterical shrieks of Kate, who apprehends the possible dreadful fate of the man she loves, is a most powerful situation in the piece and brings down the curtain on the second act amid loud and ringing cheers.

THE THIRD ACT.

     The third act introduces Priscilla on the deck of the Miles Standish, Richard earnestly pressing his suit and blackening his rival’s character. A sailor, who has closely observed the whole scene, suddenly throws off his disguise and reveals Christian. He instantly flies at the throat of his enemy, but is put in irons for insubordination. Priscilla now knows the infamy of the man who followed her, and declares before him her love for Christian. Richard determines to take the life of his rival by burning the part of the ship in which he is confined. A fine scenic effect is now brought to the support of the play representing the ship on fire. Christian is rescued from the hold just as the vessel strikes an iceberg which enfolds her in huge masses of ice and crushes her. Amid the crash of falling masts and splitting timbers the two enemies are seen on an ice-floe locked in a deadly embrace, each endeavouring to force the other under the water. Richard is struggling in the midst of the broken ice as the curtain falls.

THE FOURTH ACT.

     The weakest portion of the play commences in the fourth act. The incidents are undramatic, tedious and painful. Two hungry and gaunt men are seen to meet each other on a desolate, sterile island. These are Richard and Christian, who have miraculously escaped death from drowning. Christian, seeing the man he hates doomed to die of starvation, cannot deny himself the pleasure of gloating over the sufferings of his enemy. This desire is reversed when Richard is at the point of death. Then Christian implores heaven to save his life on the ground of loneliness. Scarcely has the prayer been uttered when the sound of cannon is heard, and a boat appears. No one knows whether it rescues both or not.

THE FIFTH ACT.

     The curtain rises on the last act to the sound of the church bells ringing an Easter peal. The villagers, with the old squire bringing up the rear, enter the church to celebrate Easterday. Two ladies dressed in deep mourning are seen standing at the door of a cottage opposite. A stranger, roughly clad, appears, evincing considerable emotion when he hears the singing of the Easter hymn. He is addressed by one of the ladies and immediately recognizes Kate. He then discloses himself as her brother. “Where is Richard?” tearfully asks Kate, at the same time recoiling from the embrace of the man she fears is her lover’s murderer. The answer to her question is the immediate entrance of Richard, sound and hearty. He tells her how her brother saved his life and promises to amend the past by redeeming his promise of marrying her. Christian then folds Priscilla in his arms and love is established on all sides, while guilt is, to the detriment of the piece, too easily condoned. So the curtain finally falls on a most unnatural and improbable termination of the story. Such a quarrel should only end—as it does in the novel—in the death of one, instead of both returning as boon companions to the home of their childhood, apparently without the shadow of the memory of the wretched past.
     All the actors did their best. Mr. Warner was especially energetic. The scenery was admirable, and the painter, Mr. Beaverly, was summoned to receive hearty applause after the ice scene. The author was also called at the close of the play, which is likely to have a long run, being fully up to the standard of the Adelphi melodrama.

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The Stage (16 March, 1883 - p.7)

ADELPHI.

     On Wednesday, March 14, 1883, was produced here a new and original drama in a prologue in five acts written by Robert Buchanan, entitled

Storm-Beaten.

Squire Orchardson    ...    ...    ...    Mr. E. F. Edgar
Richard Orchardson   ...     ...     ...     Mr. J. H. Barnes
Dame Christianson    ...    ...    ...    Mrs. Billington
Christian Christianson ...     ...     ...     Mr. Charles Warner
Kate Christianson      ...    ...    ...    Miss Amy Roselle
Mr. Sefton                 ...     ...     ...     Mr. J. G. Shore
Priscilla Sefton           ...     ...     ...     Miss Eweretta Lawrence
Jacob Marvel             ...     ...     ...     Mr. A. Redwood
Sally Marvel               ...     ...     ...     Miss Clara Jecks
Jabez Green              ...    ...    ...    Mr. Beerbohm Tree
Johnnie Downs          ...    ...    ...    Mr. H. Proctor
Captain E. S. Higginbotham...    ...    Mr. E. R. Fitzdavis

     Storm-Beaten is designed to depict the folly of individual hate. It is a rugged, picturesque story, and the drama has served the author for the foundation of his novel called “God and the Man,” which was published at the close of the year 1881. The story set forth is briefly this:—From time out of mind a feud has existed between the Christiansons and the Orchardsons. The two families hate each other with an undisguised and uncontrollable passion. The Christiansons are strong of limb but of poor means, whilst the Orchardsons are of a gentler race, and are rich in worldly goods. So that when Christian Christianson and Richard Orchardson both fall in love with Priscilla Sefton, the sweet daughter of a worthy preacher, the family hatred is increased a hundredfold. But the peace and quietude of the village home of the Christiansons is further disturbed by Squire Orchardson’s heir, Richard, who has betrayed Kate Christianson. Dame Christianson dies of grief at her daughter’s shame, and Christian resolves to have the life of the seducer, Richard. Priscilla and her father leave England on board ship, and are followed by Richard, who takes a passage in the same vessel. But Christian also sails in the same boat, as a seaman, and his identity being discovered by a violent attack upon Richard, he is cast into irons. The vessel becomes ice-bound, and Christianson is obliged to give assistance to his fellows. Taking advantage of a blinding snowstorm, he seizes Richard and carries him away from the vessel with the intention of killing him. Christian is the cause, as he thinks, of Richard’s death, but he has had his revenge, and returns to join the ship. But the vessel is out of sight, and he is left alone on an island! Yet not alone, for Richard has miraculously escaped from  death. Then ensues the most powerful scene in the play. The two are alone, face to face. Sick almost to death, Richard implores Christian to kill him and end his misery. But Christian spares his life. He is eventually rescued, and returning to England, he finds his sister well and hearty, and Priscilla, who has loved him from the first, is ready to become his wife.
     This story is told with considerable ingenuity, and some of the scenes are remarkably strong. But the play loses through repetition. Scene after scene is given again and again. Thus, in the first act Kate implores Richard to marry her; in the second act she repeats her request; and in the third act she again makes the same appeal to the heartless scoundrel. Then Christian is for ever vowing vengeance against the Orchardsons. An oath is always on his lips, and at every turn he implores Heaven to aid him in his pursuit of revenge. The fourth act is entirely devoted to a scene in which Richard and Christian are left alone together, but it is so unnatural and repulsive that it fails entirely in arousing any interest. But the worst fault of the play, and that which completely ruins its purport, is the fatal mistake made by the dramatist in bringing Richard to life, and allowing him to return to England and be received with open arms. The woman whom he had basely deceived is overjoyed at his sight, and the repentant scoundrel apparently renews his first love and forgets all about Priscilla Sefton. In his novel Mr. Buchanan has judiciously allowed Richard to die on the ocean island, and it is a mystery that he should make such an error in the drama when he has avoided it in the book. In a novel one can do and say things which are not advantageous for the stage, and it is difficult to understand this curious arrangement. The dialogue of the drama is very stilted and preachy, and some of the scenes would be none the worse for a little compression. However, despite its faults—and there are many—Storm-Beaten will no doubt prove successful. It was received with much applause, and the author, as a matter of course, was called for at the conclusion of the play. The most onerous task of the acting falls to Mr. Charles Warner, who plays Christian. He plays in a bold style, but his impersonation is greatly marred by a slow, monotonous delivery. He ponders over his words as though he dreaded to part with them, and a short sentence is spread out to an inordinate length. Beyond this there is, however, much to praise in his performance. He never lets his passion overstep proper limits—he does not rant and rave. In the scene on the island he was particularly impressive. Miss Amy Roselle acts Kate with a genuine touch of pathos, and Mr. Beerbohm Tree, in the small part of a crack-brained shepherd, gives an exceedingly clever character sketch. Priscilla is represented by Miss Eweretta Lawrence, whose personation of the gentle girl is one of the prettiest pieces of acting which we have seen. Miss Lawrence is pretty and she knows hoe to dress simply but effectively. She has a sweet voice and a winning manner. Unfortunately, she is scarcely strong enough as yet for such a large theatre as the Adelphi, but her acting shows real talent, thought, and earnestness. Mr. J. H. Barnes is Richard Orchardson, and he plays in a good broad fashion. Squire Orchardson is effectively rendered by Mr. E. F. Edgar, and the other characters are well filled. The scenery, by Mr. W. Beverley, is excellent; and the costumes, which have been designed by Mr. E. W. Godwin are becoming. It may be noted that the action of the play passes in an English village during the reign of George the Fourth. A capital song is given in the third act of the play by Mr. Harry Proctor.

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The Times (17 March, 1883 - p.5)

ADELPHI THEATRE.

     Mr. Robert Buchanan desires his novel “God and the Man” to be regarded as a “monument of the folly and vanity of human hate,” and with characteristic indulgence for human weakness, he has dedicated it to “an enemy” of his own. As produced at the Adelphi Theatre, under the fantastic title of Storm Beaten, it may equally well serve as a monument of the self-abnegation which a professional moralist may see fit to exercise when he has to subject his doctrines to certain fancied necessities of the stage. The moral of the novel disappears altogether in the play, and in its stead we find the lesson very strongly inculcated that villainy of the deepest dye may, in certain circumstances, become a passport to the highest esteem and consideration. It seems scarcely worth while for an author to preach morality so ostentatiously on one platform only to subvert it so completely on another. The condition of things known in nursery literature as “living happily ever afterwards” is no doubt acceptable as a rule to lovers of the sensational drama, and desirable in itself. But the sacrifice of art and of common sense is a heavy price to pay for it on the stage, and Mr. Robert Buchanan seriously compromises both in the dramatic sequel he has given to the family feud of the Christiansons and Orchardsons. No villany could well surpass that of Richard Orchardson as practised upon Christian Christianson. Besides being instrumental in having him and his turned out of their home, Orchardson shoots Christianson’s favourite dog, seduces his sister, seeks to rob him of his sweetheart, and, on board the “Miles Standish.” not only causes him to be put in irons, but endeavours to suffocate him under hatches. It is not surprising that Christianson, in  such circumstances, should owe Orchardson a grudge. The story of their mutual hatred is a powerful one, though set forth at somewhat too great length, and, conducted to the dénouement provided in the novel, it may be regarded as pointing the moral that the author there insists upon. A shipwreck in the Arctic Seas throws both men together upon an ice-floe, where their common suffering, as the only human beings in that dreary waste, thaws the winter in their hearts. Christianson tends Orchardson in an illness, and when his enemy dies he closes his eyes and buries him in the snow with Christian-like charity. Thenceforward Christianson is an altered man. The vanity of human hate, which has had so pathetic and tragic an ending, forces itself upon the imagination; and Christianson’s return to the scenes of his boyhood marks, we can well believe, the close of the family feud. Very different is the turn given to this story in the play. Mr. Robert Buchanan has thought fit to sacrifice his ethical theories for the sake of providing the deserted heroine with a husband, who cannot by any stretch of charity be deemed to be worth having. After some trying experiences on the ice the two men return home as bosom friends, and the only conclusion to be drawn is that Orchardson, by means of his unmitigated wrong-doing, has secured a place in the affections of his friend which he would never have gained as a peaceable and Christianlike neighbour. The public, it must be said to their credit, did not quite relish this sudden conversion of an utterly unworthy scoundrel into an Arctic hero. Orchardson’s return to the arms of the girl he had so basely deserted, and his cheerful resigning of Priscilla Sefton in favour of his friend, called forth on Wednesday night something like a murmur of disapproval; so that the author’s unhesitating renunciation of his own especial doctrines for the sake of a trivial and inartistic stage effect can hardly be said to have had the success he reckoned upon.
     The setting of this play recalls the best traditions of the Adelphi. There is nothing particularly impressive in the rustic scenes amid which the feud of the Christiansons and Orchardsons has sprung up. The crowning of the May Queen, who has just been entreating her seducer to legitimize their unborn child, jars rather with the poetic character of the surroundings. It is an unlooked for outcome of a poet’s fancy, and does not even serve the purpose of the realistic dramatist. But when we come to the deck of the “Miles Standish,” bound for the New World with Priscilla Sefton and Orchardson as passengers and Christianson disguised as a common seaman on board, we get into the path of true Adelphi sensation. The ineffectual firing of the ship by Orchardson is only a prelude to still greater excitement. Towering icebergs drift in upon the doomed vessel, and the curtain falls on the creaking and wrenching of her timbers under the strain and the shrieking of the passengers and crew. The next scene shows the ice-floe, upon which the unfortunate people have debarked and where they disport themselves with pretty much the same good nature as the wrecked passengers of Mr. Tom Taylor’s P. and O. liner on the Mazaffa Reef. Suddenly there is an ominous boom; the whole scene is shaken as if by an earthquake, gigantic masses of ice are seen toppling into the sea, and the vessel, hitherto firmly “nipped,” heaves and groans. The ice-floe is breaking up. There is a sudden scare among the passengers and crew, and all make for the vessel. Christianson and Orchardson alone are left clinging to the broken ice. When next we discover these two men, they are the solitary occupants of an icy desert, and the strange process of reconciliation is carried out amid all the rigours of an Arctic winter. It is not clear that Orchardson when he is howling and shivering with cold at the sight of Christianson’s fire is any more estimable a character than before, but his misery and Christianson’s bitter resolve to save his life for the purpose of torturing him at leisure, furnish a scene calculated to thrill the nerves of even an Adelphi audience. A poetic touch is added by the presence of a beautiful aurora borealis, which waxes and wanes in the northern sky, and which seems to reach its brightest as Christianson gives utterance to his most uncharitable sentiments. Snow and other commonplace effects of an Arctic winter are, of course, not wanting. The author’s fancy also conceives a dream of Christianson’s, while he is tending his prostrate enemy, in which he hears the Christmas bells of his native village conveying their message of peace and good will to men, and this marks very prettily and poetically, though not very intelligibly perhaps to the bulk of the audience, Christianson’s change of feeling. A play so freely charged with sensation is pretty sure of success at the Adelphi. Startling as its principal scenes look, however, they will be found to leave no great impression upon the mind. The reason is that they do not properly appertain to, or grow out of, the action, but are dragged in for sensation purposes. Told without such adventitious aids, the story would be found intolerably wearisome. The relations of two individuals towards each other form too thin a subject for five acts and a prologue, and indeed, as it stands, the play induces in the end a sense of fatigue, due to its want of accumulating interest. Mr. Charles Warner’s portrait of Christian Christianson has all the manliness which usually distinguishes his heroes of melodrama, and attracts a degree of sympathy not altogether due, perhaps, to a character capable of cherishing an implacable hatred. Orchardson also, villain as he is, inspires a certain amount of interest from the frankness and robustness with which Mr. Barnes invests him. The womanly element is singularly weak. Miss Amy Roselle, as Kate Christianson, necessarily plays in a uniformly wobegone key, until the author restores to her arms her worthless betrayer; and Priscilla Sefton, to whom we despairingly turn, is a female preacher or revivalist for whom Miss Eweretta Lawrence fails to awaken anything like sympathy. The other characters tend only to retard the action, never too rapid at the best. While there is the semblance of a great drama on the stage, we never seem to travel beyond one limited though ever-changing situation.

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The Era (17 March, 1883)

THE LONDON THEATRES.
_____

     Formerly little activity in the theatrical world was apparent on the eve of Easter, but, possibly in view of the presence of many visitors to the metropolis attracted by the University Boat Race, several managers have varied their programmes, while morning performances have been unusually numerous during the week. Mr Buchanan’s new elaborate drama called Storm Beaten was produced at the ADELPHI on Wednesday night, the house being closed on Monday and Tuesday evenings for night rehearsals. At the PRINCESS’S the very successful drama of The Silver King passed on Thursday night its hundredth representation. The GAIETY achieved a triumph on Monday evening, when Mr Burnand’s merry burlesque- drama of Blue Beard commenced what promises to be a lengthy career. The LYCEUM, the COURT, and TOOLE’S THEATRE will be closed during next week, to reopen on Easter Monday. The last nights of Mr John S. Clarke and The Comedy of Errors are announced at the STRAND. The Rivals at the VAUDEVILLE continues to draw, though the revived old comedy has been played consecutively one hundred and seven times. Olivette closes its career at the AVENUE THEATRE this week. At the BRITANNIA The Shaughraun has been repeated, followed by Scarlet Dick. SADLER’S WELLS has been furnished with a new drama called The Weaver’s Daughter. The PAVILION has remained in possession of the Royal English opera company. At the MARYLEBONE has been produced the emotional drama of Faith, Hope, and Charity, followed by The Two Prisoners of Lyons.
     The morning performances this day comprise Blue Beard at the GAIETY, Mr Hamilton Aidé’s new comedy of A Great Catch at the OLYMPIC, The Rivals at the VAUDEVILLE, Iolanthe at the SAVOY, and My Wife’s Second Floor, Robert Macaire, and Ici on Parle Français at TOOLE’S THEATRE.

THE ADELPHI.
On Wednesday, March 14th, a New and Original Drama, in a
Prologue and Five Acts, by Robert Buchanan, called
“STORM-BEATEN.”

Squire Orchardson    ...    ...    ...    Mr E. F. EDGAR
Richard Orchardson   ...     ...     ...     Mr J. H. BARNES
Dame Christianson    ...    ...    ...    Mrs B
ILLINGTON

Christian Christianson ...     ...     ...     Mr CHARLES WARNER
Kate Christianson      ...    ...    ...    Miss AMY ROSELLE
Mr. Sefton                 ...     ...     ...     Mr J. G. SHORE
Priscilla Sefton           ...     ...     ...     Miss EWERETTA LAWRENCE
Jacob Marvel             ...     ...     ...     Mr A. REDWOOD
Sally Marvel               ...     ...     ...     Miss CLARA JECKS
Jabez Greene             ...    ...    ...    Mr BEERBOHM TREE
Johnnie Downs          ...    ...    ...    Mr HARRY PROCTOR
Captain E. S. Higginbotham...    ...    Mr E. R. FITZDAVIS

     Mr Robert Buchanan has had to suffer not a few dramatic defeats. We think the time has now come when he may be complimented and congratulated on a genuine triumph. He has furnished the stage with a powerful drama, christened as above, and he has given novel readers a powerful story called “God and the Man,” the latter being avowedly based upon the former. Those who read the one and see the other will doubtless be disposed to admit that the merits of the story are considerably in advance of those of the play, but at the same time will be compelled to acknowledge that dramatic literature has a decided gain in the contribution of so thoroughly interesting and so vigorously written a piece as Storm-Beaten undoubtedly is. The play begins with such vigorous and exciting work that a suspicion at once enters the mind of the habitual theatre-goer that it cannot be kept up; but astonishment, not unmixed with delight, follows when it is discovered that in at least two succeeding divisions of the piece there is no falling off, but rather a heightening of the fever of interest which has set in with the rising of the curtain. It may be objected that when the story is half told the author calls in the assistance of the stage carpenter, and begins to depend on realism and sensational “effects,” but

The drama’s laws the drama’s patrons give,
And those who live to please must please to live,

and the author who failed to supply something sensational would also fail to please Adelphi patrons. It may be objected with more force and with more reason that Mr Buchanan despises the laws of dramatic justice, and makes the villainous at the end equally happy with the virtuous; but we shall repeat that the merits of the play are far in excess of the defects, and shall not hesitate to assert that, if Storm-Beaten fail to secure a large share of public patronage, it will be the author’s misfortune rather than his fault. The scene of the prologue is the Fen Farm, the home of Dame Christianson, her son Christian, and her daughter Kate. There is trouble in the house, for the dwellers therein are deeply indebted to Squire Orchardson, who threatens to seize their goods and lands, and from him they expect no mercy, for there has long been a feud between the families—a feud so bitter that the dame’s son affirms it can only be wiped out with blood. The daughter is secretly in love with the Squire’s son Richard, hoping that their love and their future union may end the feud. But it is not to be. The Squire comes to demand his money; in the meantime the two young men meet; Richard Orchardson shoots Christian Christianson’s handsome dog, and fierce and furious they struggle through the door of the farmhouse. Bitter are the words and angry that pass. The Squire, in his rage that a hand should have been raised against his son by one who is dependent on his leniency, turns upon the farm people, threatens to grind them down until they have to beg not only for mercy but for bread. The scene gives so great a shock to the dame that her life is despaired of, but, taking the holy book, she causes her son to swear to have no intercourse with the Squire or his family—her daughter out of her great love for Richard shrinking from the task. Minor incidents in the prologue, which was productive of great enthusiasm, are the interview between Christian and Priscilla, the daughter of a wandering preacher, hunted down by a bigoted and ignorant mob, and that preacher’s rescue at his hands. The drama proper opens with a May-day festival. Kate Christianson has been chosen May queen; but she is nevertheless wretched, as we learn, when she encounters her lover, who has excited her suspicions as to his fidelity, for she has marked his attentions to Priscilla, the wandering preacher’s daughter. Kate’s relations with him have been of a too intimate nature, and she now pleads to him to save her from the shame that threatens. He meets her entreaties with a denial of his promise to marry her, and with the taunt that their social positions are not equal. It is not, however, his intention that they shall be seen together by the villagers, and he drags her from the scene, making way for Christian and Priscilla, the former showing plainly that his heart has been won and that he is over head and ears in love. His ardour is somewhat damped when he learns that her father and the Squire are old friends. The merrymakers now assemble again to wish the May queen a long reign and a true lover; but she has tears in her eyes, and is compelled to explain that there are tears of joy as well as sorrow. There she sits, sad and heavy at heart, under her bower of roses and garlands, while her companions, little dreaming of her trouble, sing blithely and dance gaily around her. “Is she not a sister to be proud of?” says Christian to Priscilla when the dancers are gone; but Richard Orchardson interrupts, and the brother, noting the agitation of the sister, demands of her explanation that she cannot give, and with eager and suspicious eyes he watches her go away with a heart nigh to breaking. Priscilla now resents the attentions of Richard, and defends the good name of Christian. His hatred is hereby made the more bitter, and Priscilla begins to question with herself whether it can be true that Christian loves her. To her comes Kate, stripped of her gay garments, to confess her shame, to seek sympathy, and to avow her intention to fly the neighbourhood. The name of her betrayer she will not divulge, for “Christian will kill him” is her cry. Again comes the brother to urge his love, and overwhelmed is he when he learns what has happened. Gently Priscilla breaks the news; but the whole truth must out. “The man,” he cried, “tell me the name of the man!” “Alas! I know it not,” is Priscilla’s answer; and then, even while the voices of the villagers ring merrily out again, Richard Orchardson stands before him, and, as the curtain falls, his uplifted arm and horror-stricken face reveal the thought that in this Richard Orchardson he may, perhaps, find his sister’s betrayer. Up to this point the play has proved very powerful; the interest of the audience has gradually increased, and everybody is hopeful and confident of a signal success. The second act opens on the exterior of the Squire’s house, where there is going on some amusing rivalry between Jabez Greene, a shepherd, and Johnnie Downs, a sailor, for the love of Sally Marvel, a dairymaid. The Squire has discovered that Priscilla, who, with her father, is about to travel, will, on that father’s death, be a great heiress, and he urges his son to overcome all obstacles to secure her hand. Christian has been following his sister, has learnt that she has become a mother, but has not been able to discover her and to assure her of his pardon and protection from further harm. Again he urges his love to Priscilla, whose answer is “It is impossible.” She fears the extremity to which his hate may lead him, but she comforts him with the assurance that, when far away, she will think of him and will hope for the day when they may meet again. Richard Orchardson, who is to accompany the travellers, thinking how much better will be his chances of success when Priscilla is away from the influence of Christian, is confronted by Kate. Her child is dead, but once more she pleads to him, and is repulsed. She sees his scheme: she would stay his progress, and he throws her swooning to the ground, where she is found by her brother, who, from her lips gets confirmation, strong as holy writ, of his suspicions. And then Christian Christianson utters a fearful curse, and calls on God to keep his enemy’s life for his vengeance. The third act takes us on board the “Miles Standish.” Richard has taken passage with Priscilla and her father, and Christian, too, is on board, disguised, and serving as a common sailor. He listens to Richard slandering his mother and sister; he throws off his disguise and seizes his enemy by the throat. He vows before captain and crew to kill him, and is put in irons. Priscilla, left alone with him, asks him to abandon his scheme of vengeance. Upon her he heaps reproaches, and then for the first time she confesses her love for him, and brings him to his knees. He is, however, presently placed below, and Richard, scorned, comes to the conclusion that there is no hope for him while Christian lives. He, too, goes below to seek his manacled rival, and presumably to kill him. We find, however, that he has fired the ship. He is denounced by Christian, who is rescued, and the flames are extinguished. The vessel escapes the fire, only, however, to be wrecked by icebergs, and in a few moments we see her frozen in and crew and passengers making themselves as comfortable as possible in their icy home. But suddenly the ice begins to move; the ship is free from its bondage; Priscilla is carried on board; the vessel sails away; Richard Orchardson and Christian Christianson are left face to face; there is a fight for life; Richard is thrust beneath the billows; and as the act-drop comes down we see his rival and his enemy clinging for dear life to a floe of ice. Over this very stirring and realistic scene the audience became wonderfully enthusiastic, and Mr Beverley, the artist, had a tremendous call to the footlights. Act four is labelled by the author “Christmastide. Alone with God.” Christian and Richard are together on a rocky island. The former has saved some ship’s stores. The latter is starving. “Remember my sister” is Christian’s only answer to Richard’s prayer for food. His desire for vengeance has not abated. He will watch his enemy waste, and waste, and waste until the hour of his death shall come. The scene for a time is shut off from view, and we next see the wretched foes sleeping, the dreams of Christian being illustrated by a tableau showing the old home, and Priscilla and Kate standing lovingly side by side. Richard Orchardson dying pleads fervently that there may be peace between them, and then falls back apparently lifeless. Christian’s tone now changes. He realises his awful loneliness; he repents him of his oath. The voice of Richard sends joy to his heart; so, too, does the sound of a gun and the sight of a boat well manned and giving promise of rescue. The long, long feud is ended, and all that remains is for Christian to hurry home to take Prisceilla to his arms, and for Richard Orchardson, repentant, to accompany him, and to do all in his power to compensate poor Kate, the victim of his wickedness, for the wrong he has done her. The acting throughout was almost beyond reproach; and while fully admitting the merits of the play, we think Mr Buchanan greatly indebted to the artists entrusted with the interpretation for a large share of the success achieved. Mr Charles Warner, putting his heart into his work, gave us a very powerful portraiture of Christian Christianson. He had to begin at fever heat, and to keep this up almost throughout the entire play must have severely taxed his physical resources. He was, however, equal to all the demands made upon him, and he had the house with him from beginning to end. His grandest effort came with the scene where Christian for the first time learns that Richard Orchardson is his sister’s betrayer. The delivery of the curse and of the prayer for vengeance made a great impression on the house, which was awed into silence, to be followed at the end by a storm of applause. In pleasant contrast with the more impassioned scenes was the gentle wooing of Priscilla; and, taking it as a whole, we are disposed to say that Mr Warner has given us nothing better than his impersonation of Mr Buchanan’s hero. Mr J. H. Barnes had in Richard Orchardson a very uphill task, but he faced it boldly; never flinched from it, and his success was made manifest in the execrations of the more demonstrative among the audience. We do not wish it to be supposed that we see too much of Mr Barnes, but we are sure that the play would be improved if the author could alter his scheme a little, and do dramatic justice by getting rid of Richard Orchardson in the fourth act. Mr Edgar was duly hard, stern, and unrelenting up to the last act as the Squire, and Mr Beerbohm Tree and Mr H. Proctor, dividing the comedy element between them, the one as a semi-daft shepherd, and the other as a sailor of the conventional type, thoroughly succeeded in relieving the more sombre interest of the play. Mrs Billington, who was warmly welcomed on her return to the scene of former triumphs, was very impressive as the dame of the prologue, with which her responsibilities ended. Miss Amy Roselle bringing her generally recognised emotional power to bear upon the part of Kate Christianson, reached all hearts, and wrung from them the warmest sympathy. Who, indeed, could withhold sympathy from poor Kate, decked with May-day garlands, yet sick and sad at heart and bowed down with the thought of the shame that threatens her? Very charming, because very natural and delightful in its gentleness and simplicity, was the Priscilla of Miss E. Lawrence. The good opinion we expressed recently concerning this young lady on the occasion of her début was fully confirmed by this embodiment, and with Miss Roselle she shared some very handsome floral compliments. Miss Clara Jecks must not go without a word of praise for her bright and amusing portrait of Sally Marvel. Mr Beverley’s scenery is magnificent, and shows that the hand of the master has not lost its cunning. Mr Henry Sprake’s music, Mr Dewinne’s pastoral ballet, and the dresses designed by Mr E. W. Godwin all won commendation, and all assisted in the success of which Mr Buchanan was assured by a call to the footlights at the end, and an enthusiastic shout of congratulation.

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The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (17 March, 1883 - p.7)

 

ADELPHI THEATRE.

     THE Messrs. Gatti have signalised their resumption of the reins of management at the Adelphi by the production, on a very elaborate scale, of an original drama by Mr. Robert Buchanan, called Storm Beaten. This play is an adaptation of “God and the Man,” a fine novel by the same author, which may be said to have for its text the words, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” They keynote of the story, which though didactic is by no means undramatic, is struck in the lines printed at the commencement of the first volume, and indicative of its hero’s heathen frame of mind throughout the early part of the tale:—

All men, each one, beneath the sun,
I hate, shall hate, till life is done;
But of all men one, till my race is run,
And all the rest for the sake of one!

If God stood there revealed full bare,
I would laugh to scorn his love or care;
Nay, in despair, I would pray a prayer,
Which he needs must grant, if a God he were.

And the prayer would be, “Yield up to me
This man alone of all men that see;
Give him to me, and to misery!
Give me this man, if a God Thou be!”

The scheme of the story, which is of the simplest, so far as its plot is concerned, is designed to furnish the hero, Christian Christianson, a motive for his all-consuming and almost righteous hate towards Richard Orchardson. To this end the two men are made the representatives of two neighbouring families, which have been at feud for generations. By the foreclosure of a mortgage the Orchardsons become possessed of nearly all the fruitful land belonging to the Christiansons; and Christianson the elder dies just before the crash comes. The smouldering hatred of young Christian is fanned in various ways during his early days, until as a lad he finds himself the rugged rival of the polished Richard Orchardson for the hand of a wandering preacher’s daughter named Priscilla Sefton. But the spark which finally sets light to his fury is the discovery that his sister Kate has been betrayed by Richard. Frantic with the shame which actually kills his mother, the young man vows the death of his hereditary foe; and not all the gentle influence of Priscilla can turn him from his purpose. Warned by his father, Richard Orchardson leaves the country for awhile, accompanying Priscilla and her father to America, whither they are bound on a semi-religious errand—for the period is that of the great Dissenting revival under John Wesley. On the same vessel Christianson ships as a common seaman before the mast, and then commence the most original and daring scenes alike of “God and the Man” and of Storm Beaten. Enraged at hearing the lies poured into Priscilla’s ear by Richard, he madly assaults his old enemy, and is promptly put in irons by the captain. While in confinement below he is visited by the pitying Priscilla, tells her his wrongs once more, and wins her love. Then in the least probable passage of the story Richard is driven by insane jealousy to fire the ship, and when all escape in boats is denounced by Christian for his crime. But the climax of the adventures is reached when this second ship is for awhile locked in the ice, and when the two men, accidentally left behind, find themselves face to face alone on the floe. How when his opportunity comes to him Christianson delays accepting it; how he feels himself driven against his will to feed his starving foe; how he risks his own life in defending his enemy’s, and how finally he forgives him—all this will readily be remembered by all who recollect the last volume of Mr. Buchanan’s nobly-conceived romance.
     Amongst the few important changes in the story as it appears on the stage are the compression of the incidents on board the two ships, the expansion of those connected with the ruin of Kate Christianson, and the avoidance of a tragic end for Richard Orchardson. These latter seem to us distinct mistakes. There is at least one act too many before the tale of Kate’s wrong is allowed to reach her brother’s ears; and it is a decided blunder to make the poor girl choose her brother’s sweetheart as her confidante in her trouble. Then again the recovery of Orchardson under the self-denying care of his enemy gives a sadly conventional turn to the whole story. Although however, as a version of “God and the Man”—or as the foundation of that novel according to the author’s statement—Storm Beaten is undeniably disappointing, it may, with liberal compression, command popularity of another kind, in virtue of its sensation scenes and its vigorous interpretation by Mr. Warner as Christian Christianson, Mr. Barnes as the wicked Orchardson, Miss Roselle as the hapless Kate, and Miss Lawrence as Priscilla. Mr. Warner, it is true, gives way too early and too much to gasping; but he is so spirited and sincere, and occasionally so picturesque, that his services could ill be spared. Miss Roselle is pathetic in her somewhat artificial way, and Mr. Barnes comports himself is a manner wholly praiseworthy. Miss Lawrence quite fulfils her recent promise as a débutante, and Mrs. Billington makes an excellent representative of the sad, stern matron whose fate it is to die in the first act. With a small and silly part—quite redundant—Mr. Tree does much; and, altogether, Mr. Buchanan’s success on Wednesday night—such as it was—was due in no small measure to the practised skill with which his piece was set before the public. Mr. Beverley’s scenery and Mr. E. W. Godwin’s eighteenth-century costumes deserve special recognition.

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Bell’s Life in London (17 March, 1883 - p.5)

     “Storm Beaten,” by Mr Robert Buchanan, produced at the Adelphi on Wednesday, supplies an important chapter in the history of modern drama. Being the work of the author of London Poems, The Book of Orm, St Abe and his Seven Wives, Phil Blood’s Leap, etc, I need scarcely say that it is all round the best written piece we have seen on the stage for many years. It is founded on the author’s noble romance, God and the Man. Hitherto, owing to a variety of causes, Mr Buchanan’s success as a writer for the stage has not equalled his good fortune as a poet and novelist. He very nearly achieved a triumph at the Lyceum a few years ago by means of a strong piece (the title of which escapes my memory), founded on a page in the history of the French Revolution; but it has remained for “Storm Beaten” to place him on a level with the most skilful of our dramatists. I mean dramatists pure and simple. The form and construction of “Storm Beaten” leave little or nothing to be desired. Fortunate as the piece is in its exhibition of quaintly-conceived and delicately-touched studies of character, it could scarcely have escaped a certain kind of success if these had been put in after the manner which finds favour with admirers of the small but prolific Boucicaults of the East End. It is chiefly because a poet of the greater passions has spoken with force and pathos, and with a subtle feeling for dramatic contrasts, that the thrilling story of “Storm Beaten” has such a grip of the spectators. No mere mechanical dramatist has been at work.

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     We are introduced in the prologue to the home of Dame Christianson (Mrs Billington), the Fen Farm, and learn from her and her son Christian (Mr Charles Warner), and in a reflected way from her daughter Kate (Miss Amy Roselle) that, owing to the scoundrelly conduct of their landlord, Squire Orchardson (Mr E. F. Edgar), which hurried the Dame’s late husband to his grave, they are to-day in danger of being turned out of doors. There is a bitter feud between the two families, which the widow keeps alive. neither she nor Christian, however, knows that Richard Orchardson (Mr J. H. Barnes), who is “a shocking bad lot,” and Kate love each other. There also figure in the prologue, besides the characters I have mentioned, Mr Sefton (Mr J. G. Shore), a wandering preacher, who is afflicted with blindness, and Priscilla (Miss Eweretta Lawrence), his daughter. By means at once strong and skilful the lines of the plot are laid down in this exciting prologue, which closes with the son’s swearing on the Bible, at the bidding of his mother, to hold no communion with the Orchardsons, but to hate them with the hate of hate to the end of his days. The daughter, driven to the ordeal by the iron will of her mother, faints at the last moment, and swoons. We were prepared in the prologue for the infidelity that Richard exhibited in the first act. He would be off with the old love and on with the new. Kate appeals to him, and implores him to marry her. There is a reason why. He spurns her, and she, aghast at the thoughts of her disgrace, goes “out into the   night.” In the second act Christian learns the worst. He also ascertains that his enemy and rival has taken ship with the girl whom he loves. Her father has a mission in a distant land, and her place is by his side. The seducer of Christian’s sister means to marry Priscilla, having discovered that she is a fortune. Christian joins the ship disguised as a sailor. He has sworn he will follow him to the end of the earth and kill him. They meet on the deck of The Miles Standish, and, hearing Richard asperse his sister to Priscilla, Christian throws off his disguise and seizes the scoundrel by the throat. The pair are separated and the assailant put in irons and confined in the hold. Priscilla pleads with the captain for an interview with the prisoner, which is granted. He goes to his confinement happy in the knowledge that Priscilla loves him. Richard, who has witnessed part of the interview, thereupon resolves to make an end of his rival. He sets the hold on fire. The man in irons is rescued, and the ship runs into an ice floe. In the fourth act wronger and wronged are alone upon an island in the arctic regions, at Christmas-tide, “alone with God.” At the last, when vengeance is his, and his enemy is at the last gasp, he relents, and prays to be forgiven. The twain are rescued, and, in the final act, restored to home, penitent and chastened, and resolved to hate no more. The feud is healed.

__________

     Mr Charles Warner’s impersonation ranks with the best of his performances in this exacting line of histrionic art. He is afforded a number of great opportunities of displaying the intensity of his method, and of these he avails himself without once striking a false note. One’s sympathies are with him throughout—one never loses touch, let the revelation be what it may. Ergo, for all its torrents of passion the character of Christian Christianson is near and natural. For such a tremendous scoundrel as Richard Orchardson is, through four acts, to awake one’s pity in the fifth, was to betray power of no common order. Mr Barnes accomplished this. Miss Roselle’s Kate was a genuinely pathetic performance, and Miss Lawrence more than fulfilled the promise she had shown at a recent matinée by her fresh and charming impersonation of Priscilla. Although Mrs Billington has but one scene she makes an impression therein which remains. There is nothing finer in the drama than the last few minutes of the prologue. Jabez Green, “a natural” (Mr Beerbohm Tree); Jacob Marvel (Mr A. Redwood), a cobbler; Johnnie Downs (Mr Harry Proctor), a sailor; Sally Marvel (Miss Clara Jecks), and Captain E. S. Higginbotham (Mr E. R. Fitz Davis) of the brig “Miles Standish,” complete the cast of this wonderfully fine drama. They are characters every one, and are admirably-filled, especially by Mr Tree. The “natural” he represents might have walked out of one of Thomas Hardy’s novels. I am warned that I must keep my remarks about the scenery for another occasion. For the present I content myself with saying that it is entirely worthy of Mr Beverley’s magic pencil and supreme knowledge of stage-effect.

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The London Magpie (17 March, 1883 - p.11)

FOOTLIGHT CHATTER.
_____

     The principal dramatic event of the week has been the production at the Adelphi of Mr. Robert Buchanan’s new drama, Storm Beaten. We have already given a précis of the plot, and the incidents include a fire at sea, and a fight on the ice. The leading parts were played by Mr. Charles Warner as the hero, Christian Christianson, Mr. J. H. Barnes as the villain, Mr. Beerbohm Tree as the blind clergyman, Mrs. Billington as the mother, Miss Eweretta Lawrence as the hero’s betrayed sister, and Miss Roselle as the meek heroine Priscilla. The Lord Chamberlain objected to the title of the novel God and the Man, hence the new cognomen.

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Reynolds’s Newspaper (18 March, 1883)

PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS.
_____

ADELPHI THEATRE.

     Although Mr. R. Buchanan, in his play of “Storm Beaten,” produced on Thursday evening, still proves himself immeasurably superior as a novelist than as a playwright, he may nevertheless at last be congratulated on having achieved a dramatic success. This piece, which is written in a prologue and five acts, is founded upon the very clever romance of “God and the Man,” a title which we believe would have been given to the drama but for objections raised by the licenser of plays. If this is so, the author takes his revenge by scattering the name of the Deity—in no profane sense, however, be it recorded—pretty profusely through the dialogue. The plot, which is full of moving incidents by land and water, turns upon a feud existing between the families of the Orchardsons and Christiansons. Squire Orchardson holds a mortgage upon Dame Christianson’s farm. If she will ask him humbly, he is not averse to granting time for payment of the overdue money. Any such friendly arrangement is, however, put a stop to by Orchardson, junior, shooting the dog of Christian, the Widow Christianson’s son. As the animal, who is a splendid canine specimen, appears upon the stage, Christian at once grips the sympathy, and young Richard Orchardson wins the animosity, of the audience. The dame, who suffers from heart disease, dies suddenly, her end hastened, it would appear, by her daughter Kate’s refusal to swear upon the Bible an oath of hatred against the Orchardsons—an oath which her son has not hesitated to take. The fact is, Kate loves young Richard Orchardson. She is seduced by him, and the discovery of this fact by her brother, and the knowledge that he has a rival in Richard for the hand of Priscilla Sefton, the daughter of a blind and wealthy itinerant preacher, yet further heightens his hatred. Old Sefton is ordered a sea voyage for his health; Priscilla accompanies him; Richard secures a place in order to obtain Priscilla’s hand; and Christian, from motives of revenge, also embarks on board the brig Miles Standish. Christian threatens Richard’s life, and gets put into chains; Richard fires the hold in which he is confined, and the ship narrowly escapes being burnt. The vessel then gets caught in the ice, and by the action of Christian, when she is released by its breaking up, he and his enemy are left alone upon the ice floe. Christian manages to get possession of food and firing, which he cannot bring himself to deny sharing with his enemy; but when a boat comes to their rescue, Richard is apparently dead from the fearful sufferings he has undergone, and Christian reproaches himself with being the cause of his death. In the last act both have returned home, little the worse in body, and very much the better in mind, for their perilous outing. Priscilla has got home before them, and when the curtain falls on the villagers assembled in an adjoining church, and singing the Easter hymn, it is evident that Christian will wed Priscilla, and Richard make an honest woman of Kate. The prologue and first three acts of the play are—if we except a curse which terminates the second act, and is so terrible that the listener’s mind involuntarily reverts to that pronounced upon the Jackdaw of Rheims—simply admirable. The fourth act wants considerable cutting down. Mr. Warner, as Christian, and Mr. Barnes as Orchardson, have the stage all to themselves, and the little acting the latter has to do, and the great deal of talking the former does, scarcely compensates for the long drawn-out misery it portrays. On the other hand, the scene, with its snow-covered ice-peaks and caverns, with its prismatic rayed aurora borealis, is superb. The last act is pretty, weak, and evidently written with a view to making things end happily all round, a very different termination to the dramatic one of the novel. From first to last the scenery is deserving of the greatest praise, and shows Mr. Beverley to be an artist as well as a clever scene painter. The stage management is not so satisfactory, exhibiting mistakes apparent to the merest novice in matters theatrical; these, however, will doubtless be rectified. Mr. E. F. Edgar played carefully as the elder Orchardson; Mr. J. H. Barnes was the vicious Richard, a part in which he commendably restrained himself from over-acting—praise which cannot be extended to his fellow actor, Mr. Charles Warner, who, as Christian Christianson, tore his various rages to tatters with an energy that was more loud than artistic, and who mistook preaching for pathos. Very powerful, and withal natural, was the Kate Christianson of Miss Amy Roselle; and, on the whole, satisfactory, if somewhat weak, the Priscilla of Miss Eweretta Lawrence. The small part of Sally Marvel, a dairymaid, was allotted to Miss Clara Jecks, whose delightfully bright and girlish acting served to relieve the more sombre portions of the play. Mr. A. Redwood, also in a small part, that of Sally’s tyrannical father, was of great service to the piece; and Mrs. Billington, who appears only in the prologue, acted with great power as Dame Christianson. Messrs. J. G. Shore, Beerbohm-Tree, Harry Proctor, and E. R. Fitzdavis are also in the cast. Very cordial acclamations awaited the author at the fall of the curtain; but he must have exclaimed “Save me from my friends!” when he heard himself called for so early in the play as the end of the prologue.

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The Pall Mall Gazette (19 March, 1883)

THE THEATRE.

IN his new drama of “Storm-Beaten,” Mr. Buchanan develops an idea of more novelty and originality than can often be excogitated in days in which combinations of human motive have undergone an analysis as prolonged and almost as exhaustive as has been bestowed upon the openings at chess. Granted the existence of a quarrel between two families, so stern and relentless it resembles that rather a feud such as was once common throughout Italy, and still lingers in Corsica, than any possible product of Northern habits, the problem Mr. Buchanan sets himself is how this may be quenched without such interference of Love as is exhibited in the “Castelvines y Monteses” of Lope de Vega, Shakspeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and a score of subsequent dramas. By adding to the passionate hate of a young and fiery representative of one of the factions such sense of private and hideous wrong as is begotten of the shameful surrender of her honour by his sister to his enemy, and by presenting the seducer and the brother of his victim as rivals in love, Mr. Buchanan has supplied a combination of motives as strong as has often goaded men to the commission of deeds of violence. With but one purpose in his heart, that of murder, Christian Christianson follows in the track of Richard Orchardson. Once and again, under sufficiently dramatic circumstances, the men meet and the death struggle commences. As often it is interrupted, and the execution of the resolute purpose of Christian is postponed. At length the slaughter by the stronger of the weaker and the more base is apparently accomplished under such conditions that the avenger, for the purpose of carrying out his scheme, seemingly forfeits his life. The murder is executed on an ice floe in the Northern seas, and while it is being committed, the vessel that has borne both to the scene of conflict sails away and leaves them. Once more the supposed victim escapes, and the two men meet again upon the iron coast of an Arctic island. No need is there now for the pursuer to strike his enemy. Possessor himself of provisions that have been deposited on the island in view of the possible destruction of the ship, he can sit in comparative security and watch the wretched man expire of starvation and cold. This, however, keen as is his hate and murderous as are still his intentions, he cannot do. To a robust and virile nature passive acquiescence in murder is as impossible as to a meaner nature is the substitution of violence for trickery. Contemptuously accordingly, and with flagrant insult some scraps of food and clothing are thrown to the starving man. Influenced partly by that mysterious instinct in our nature which makes us with indolent purpose water the tree we have carelessly planted, and partly by fear of being left alone in the appalling solitude, Christian learns first to tolerate the presence of his enemy, then to accustom himself to it. In the end, with kindliest ministrations he watches him through the throes of a fearful illness, and with fervour equal to that of his previous imprecations prays that the life he has so long sought may now be spared to him. “Storm-Beaten” is a powerful, a stirring, and, in some respects, a good play. It has interest and pathos both genuine, it is animated by a strong current of passion, and it contains some eminently dramatic situations. One or two excisions are strongly to be recommended. That the whole will be a permanent success is scarcely to be doubted. No attention has been spared in mounting and casting the novelty. Dresses and scenery are excellent, and the interpretation is strong. Mr. Warner as Christian carries off the honours of the representation. Looking the character to the life, Mr. Warner acts it with earnestness that at one point, at least, rises into intensity. Mr. Barnes struggles arduously with the repellent character of Orchardson. Miss Eweretta Lawrence acts with prettiness and grace as Priscilla Sefton, the heroine, and Miss Amy Roselle with power as Kate Christianson, the victim of the enemy of her house. Mr. Beerbohm Tree supplies a capital picture of country manners; and Mrs. Billington, Mr. Edgar, Miss Jecks, and other actors support adequately the remaining characters.

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Birmingham Daily Post (19 March, 1883)

     Mr. Buchanan should at last be happy, for “Storm Beaten,” produced at the Adelphi this week, has had a far more gratifying reception than previous dramatic efforts from the same pen. As a poet and as a novelist Mr. Buchanan had succeeded in no small degree, and succeeded; but when he had touched the stage his cunning of hand seemed to have deserted him, and the result was failure. “Storm Beaten” has proved a worthy exception, and, although there are defects, notably in the inartistic but traditional “happy ending,” Mr. Buchanan is to be congratulated upon the impression his play has made. The taste for strong and full-flavoured melodrama is evidently reviving, but nowadays, in addition to the sentiment, which was the only essential forty years since, and to the real pumps, which was the added necessity a couple of decades ago, audiences demand a decided admixture of literary form. This, which partly accounts for the success of “Storm Beaten,” is also a potent factor in the popularity of “The Silver King,” at the Princess’s. Mr. Wilson Barrett, in his speech at the close of the hundredth performance of the play, recognised this to the full; and if he can continue to supply the Princess’s with pieces of the same stamp there is little doubt of melodrama continuing to flourish.

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The Sheffield Daily Telegraph (19 March, 1883 - p.2)

Mr. Robert Buchanan has made a fresh bid for success as a dramatist, a line in which he has hitherto proved as signally unlucky as the Poet Laureate himself has done. Hitherto he has not even enjoyed the advantage of having an indifferent poem expounded by an actor of the position of Mr. henry Irving, or yet of seeing a really bad play vamped to a spasm of notoriety by the hysterical piety of a pugilistic Marquis. It seems, however, that at last the Scotch poet has scored an advantage which has really been denied to the English bard, for his latest production is something like a success. Having regard to the number of Mr. Buchanan’s dramatic failures one is compelled to credit him with some of the perseverance ascribed to the Bruce after contemplating the legendary struggles of the spider. “Storm Beaten” is filling the Adelphi Theatre, and the audience confesses itself satisfied with the story as much as with its exponents.

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The Penny Illustrated Paper (24 March, 1883 - p.7)

In melodrama, “The Silver King” maintains its pre-eminence at the Princess’s, and will very shortly—as Mr. Wilson Barrett announced on the one-hundredth night—be played to about 25,000 persons every evening in different parts of the globe. Mr. Robert Buchanan, poet, novelist, and playwright, has made a strong bid in the same direction at the Adelphi, where “Storm-Beaten” has been produced under the earnest direction of Mr. Charles Warner, who throws his whole soul into the portrayal of the rôle of the hero whose mission it is to brave the Arctic seas to wreak vengeance on the seducer of his sister. Mr. Warner is particularly fortunate to be supported in “Storm-Beaten” by a trio of such true, womanly actresses as Mrs. Billington, Miss Amy Roselle, and Miss Eweretta Lawrence, the last-named young lady being a charmingly natural addition to the ranks of ingénues. The acting, indeed, of Miss Roselle and Miss Lawrence in the best acts of the piece, the first three, would be difficult to excel. So winsome and womanly are their scenes that one infinitely prefers them to the sensation tableaux, which are suggestive, very, of the old Adelphi drama of “The Sea of Ice.”

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The Graphic (24 March, 1883)

THEATRES.

     ON the basis of his novel, “God and the Man,” Mr. Robert Buchanan has written, for the ADELPHI Theatre, a new melodrama which, both by its length—it is in six acts, counting the prologue as one—and by the extraordinary abundance of its sensational scenes, will remind old frequenters of this house of its most prosperous days, when Mr. Buckstone, Madame Celeste, Mr. O. Smith, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Paul Bedford were its leading stars. Scene after scene of excitement is provided as the story of the cruel wrongs inflicted on the Christianson family by the son of their harsh landlord, Squire Orchardson, and the terrible plans of vengeance conceived by Christian Chistianson, are unfolded; and the talent of Mr. Beverley and the scenic machinists and carpenters have been put into requisition to produce some remarkably picturesque effects. Among these the collision of the ship with the iceberg and the sudden collapse of the icefloe—a well-remembered incident of an old Adelphi drama here skilfully revived—stand forth conspicuously. Besides these there are fine landscape scenes, which were deservedly applauded. Amidst all these brilliant, pictorial, and alarming details, the story, it must be confessed, is somewhat overshadowed; not that due space is denied to it, for it is in parts somewhat tediously elaborated, but rather because, in the pursuit of sensation, its finer elements have in great part disappeared. In the drama, at least, the characters are painted in the strong coarse colours which belong to suburban melodrama. Mr. Buchanan’s villain is so thorough-paced a scoundrel that, not content with ruining the peace and reputation of the unhappy farmer’s daughter, Kate Christianson, he shoots her brother’s splendid dog before his master’s eyes in sheer wantonness.After this, aboard ship he endeavours to burn his antagonist alive. Yet, because he has suffered privations on a desert rock which have softened his victim’s heart, Mr. Buchanan expects his audience to rejoice when this quintessence of villainy returns to claim the love, and, what is more surprising, to find himself the joyfully-accepted suitor, of the woman whom he has selfishly ruined and heartlessly abandoned. Deprived, as it is, of much of the moral beauty with which the leading incidents are invested in the novel, we fear it must be confessed that the story of        Storm-Beaten does not lay hold very strongly of the spectator’s sympathies, though the performance has the advantage of the services of that tender, emotional actress, Miss Amy Roselle, in the part of the heroine; and of Mr. Charles Warner in that of Christian, which he plays with abundance of romantic spirit and picturesqueness. Among the numerous other characters which stand out in the performance are Richard Orchardson, played by Mr. Barnes with a frank acceptance of its repulsive features, which is at least creditable to him as an artist; and Dame Christianson, played by Mrs. Billington with a stern sincerity which is highly effective. Miss Eweretta Lawrence, who appears as Priscilla Sefton, is a novice; but she seems likely to develop into something more than a merely pleasing actress when she has acquired the art of sincere utterance. Some other minor parts are well played by Mr. Beerbohm Tree, Mr. Proctor, Mr. Edgar, Mr. Shore, Mr. Redwood, and Miss Clara Jecks; but, unfortunately, these do not much help the story. Mr. Buchanan has, indeed, an unskilful habit of elaborating mere incidental and illustrative matter by way of finding employment for personages who are but slightly connected with the plot. The play, however, was well received; and the author missed none of the honours which attend upon practical success upon the stage.

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The Athenæum (24 March, 1883)

DRAMA
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THE WEEK.

     ADELPHI.—‘Storm-beaten,’ a Drama in a Prologue and
Five Acts. By Robert Buchanan.

     OLYMPIC (Morning Performance).—‘A Great Catch,’ a
Comedy in Three Acts. By Hamilton Aidé.

     ‘STORM-BEATEN,’ a drama adapted by Mr. Robert Buchanan from his novel of ‘God and the Man’ and produced at the Adelphi Theatre, is a popular success. Its early scenes are strong and well conceived, and one or two situations to which it gives rise create a powerful impression. If the whole comes short of greatness and the termination is less stimulating than what has gone before, the vulgarization the story has experienced in the attempt to fit it to public tastes must be held accountable. From the drawbacks which attend most stories converted into drama ‘Storm-beaten’ is not free. Compared with the characters of the novel, the secret motives of which are laid bare, those of the play seem thin and meaningless, the change which comes over the hero when he relents in his purpose of murder is but half comprehensible, and the humanizing influence exercised upon him by close commune with Nature in her sternest mood is no longer apparent. This process of deterioration is not confined to the hero. Priscilla Sefton loses the demureness which in the novel is her chief charm, and her scenes of coquetry with Christian Christianson become conventional and commonplace. These and other kindred difficulties might have been combated had Mr. Buchanan preserved in the drama the termination, now sacrificed to vulgar requirements, which his conscience told him was fitting. Some gain in popularity may accrue from the happy end with which the plot is supplied. Artistically and psychologically, however, the story is weakened by the change. A feud such as Mr. Buchanan has shown between Christianson and Orchardson does not end without some sacrifice to the Eumenides. When the two men—pursuer and pursued—come back hand in hand, sworn friends and brethren, to commence in England commonplace lives, the laws of nature and of fate seem turned into  ridicule. Two stanzas of the explanatory poem prefixed to the novel are quoted by Mr. Buchanan in the advertisements of his piece. He might with advantage have recalled two other lines in which the imprecation of Christian is characterized:—

From the black depths of man’s despair
Rose never so accurst a prayer.

When a supplication of this kind, the origin of which is implacable hate and its purpose murder, is granted by Heaven, it must, in order to justify the consent, bring with it fatal consequences. The maxim has held good since the beginning of the drama. Putting aside this point and judging ‘Storm-beaten’ as an ordinary melodrama, praise may be bestowed. The piece has at least the elements of enduring success. It would be much strengthened by the excision of a situation in which a girl confesses to an unmarried friend that she has been seduced. To intrinsic improbability this scene adds the disadvantages of being superfluous and of depriving of a certain measure of its power a stronger scene which follows. Points important to the audience are insisted upon over much, a fault not far removed from a virtue, and the wooing of Priscilla by Christian is far too conventional. Everything that scenery and dresses can do has been done for the play, and a fairly efficient cast has been provided. When, however, the heroine comes on the stage singing a well-known berceuse of Gounod an anachronism is committed. The period being the commencement of the century, an air from Gluck, such as “J’ai perdu Eurydice,” might with advantage be substituted. Mr. Warner looked the character of Christian Christianson, and, but for the fact that his wooing was deficient in sheepishness, acted it satisfactorily. He was spasmodic and uneven, but was picturesque and, at one or two points, impressive. Miss Amy Roselle played with much pathos as Kate, a character that has been strengthened; Miss Eweretta Lawrence as Priscilla Sefton had a pleasant maidenly bearing; Mr. Barnes did what he could with the unsympathetic character of Richard Orchardson; and Mr. Beerbohm Tree gave a striking picture of rustic imbecility as Jabez Greene. Mrs. Billington, Miss Jecks, Mr. Proctor, and Mr. Edgar were adequate to their respective parts.

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The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (24 March, 1883)
[Click image for large version.]

stormbeatillsportsm

The Entr’acte (24 March, 1883 - p.6)

THE THEATRES.

ADELPHI.

     As a rule, the most successful plays are not those that have been adapted from novels; but this rule does not apply to “Storm-beaten,” produced at the above theatre last Wednesday evening. Robert Buchanan is the author of both romance and drama, and with a knowledge of his own intentions, such as no other person could have, the stage adaptation is thoroughly skilful and artistic. The object of the author is to show how little human hate and vengeance can avail, even under the gravest provocation, and that we are not to be our own avengers. From their youth Christian Christianson and Richard Orchardson have been enemies, and in the prologue, Squire Orchardson evicts the Christianson family from their farm, of which, by unfair means, he has become the owner. Christianson’s wrongs come to a climax when he discovers that young Orchardson has ruined his sister, Kate Christianson. He makes a solemn vow to kill him, and for this purpose secretes himself in a ship in which Orchardson starts on a journey. An iceberg causes the ship to be wrecked, and the two men are cast on a desolate and icy coast. Here Christianson struggles with his enemy, and pushes him into the water, and for some time believes him to be drowned; but Orchardson subsequently appears before him in a starving and miserable condition, and at last Christianson permits him to enter the hut he has built, and tends him during his illness, which ends fatally. But before his death they become friends, as Christianson can withhold his forgiveness no longer. In the story the gradual softening of his heart is well described, but for stage purposes this has to be shortened. Mr. Buchanan in the play has thought fit to change this part of the plot. Both men are rescued, and on their return home Orchardson, in spite of his cruel treatment, is affectionately received by the forgiving Kate. This alteration we consider a decided mistake, as poetic justice demands some more drastic treatment of the villain. Mr. Charles Warner is a manly and vigorous Christianson, and some very pretty scenes occur between him and Priscilla Sefton, a sweetly conceived character, and played by Miss Eweretta Lawrence with much refinement and grace. Mr. Barnes has the unthankful part of Richard Orchardson, and Miss Amy Roselle lends pathos to the character of Kate Christianson. We must not forget to mention the excellent embodiment of Dame Christianson by Mrs. Billington. Too much praise cannot be given to Beverley’s charming landscapes, or to the excellent scenic effects throughout the piece, which deserves to have a good run.

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The Illustrated London News (24 March, 1883 - p.9)

THE PLAYHOUSES.

At the Adelphi Theatre Mr. Robert Buchanan, poet, essayist, and novelist, has achieved greater success than has hitherto been his lot as a dramatist. “All things come to him who knows how to wait,” says the French philosopher; and, having bided his time with commendable patience, Mr. Buchanan finds his reward in the public approval at once bestowed on his powerful drama of “Storm-Beaten,” a dramatised version of one of his own novels, bearing an oddly fantastic title. “Storm-Beaten” is a play of the sterling Adelphi pattern—a weird story of a vendetta, culminating, however, in a happy dénouement. A feud, almost Corsican in its intensity, has raged for generations between two country families—the Orchardsons, who are gentlefolks, and the Christiansons, who are yeomen. Richard Orchardson betrays and abandons Kate Christianson; and her brother Christian Christianson devotes all his energies to the un-Christian task of revenge on the man who has done his sister wrong. His desire for vengeance is quickened by the knowledge that the girl whom he himself loves is being sought in marriage by Richard Orchardson. The avenger follows the wrongdoer by land and sea to the uttermost ends of the world, and, to use an Americanism, “kinder freezes to him.” The pair are shipwrecked in the Arctic ocean; and, after many hairbreadth escapes, are cast on an island of which they are the sole tenants. Christian has now his enemy at his mercy; but he timeously relents, forbears to slay him, forgives him in a spirit worthy of his own name, and tends him in sickness. The reconciled foes are picked up by a passing vessel, and return to England. Richard Orchardson makes the amende honorable to the damsel whom he has so cruelly wronged; Christian Christianson weds the girl of his heart; and everybody is happy. Virtue is rewarded, and vice is only left unpunished because it becomes penitent, and makes amends for its past wickedness. The drama thus points an excellent moral, and one which is, to a great extent, novel in melodramas of the hatred and revenge type. In the powerful acting of Mr. Charles Warner and Mr. J. H. Barnes, as Richard and Christian, of Miss Amy Roselle as Kate Christianson, Miss Eweretta Lawrence as Priscilla, the beloved of Christian, and the alert Miss Clara Jecks as a village flirt, Mr. Buchanan’s forcibly eloquent dialogue found apt exposition. The sylvan and arctic scenery, by Mr. William Beverley, is very beautiful; and altogether Mr. Robert Buchanan has full reason to congratulate himself on the first voyage of his “storm-beaten” but at length safely-harboured ship.

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The Sporting Times (24 March, 1883 - p.2-3)

PLAYHOUSES WITHOUT PLAYS.

     BROADSTAIRS does not suit Blobbs’ lungs, and Dr. Jope is in despair. Poor Peter is low, and yet his complaint does not yield to all the nourishment contained in a matutinal gallon of milk mixed with a quart of wholesome rum. He has now been recommended to try his native air, and may accordingly be found patrolling the Whitechapel Road every afternoon. But in vain, and we, his loving friends, consult as to the system of treatment most likely to restore him to his former state of youthful health and beauty.

     “I WOULD suggest a few days hunting,” says the Usurer, whose experience of the sport is limited to what he has been able to acquire from the inspection of a few gaudy-coloured waistcoats. “Or a week’s fishing,” says the Windsor Warrior, who never saw a salmon, except at dinner-time or in a shop window. The Shifter thinks change or diet, and the Child unselfishly proposes a voyage round the world—she thinks that she could bear a temporary separation, even if Blobbs could not. After the others have given their respective opinions, it is my turn, and, while agreeing with the Child that Blobbs’ prolonged travel might perhaps benefit the community, I venture to suggest that a too constant attendance at the Gaiety may have shattered our friend, and that a return to legitimate and enlivening melodrama may have the effect of restoring Blobbs’ dilapidated system.

     THIS is why we find ourselves at the Adelphi Theatre, the original home of wholesome melodrama. Robert Buchanan, a Scotch poet, has written a new and original drama which he wanted to call God and the Man. But the licenser of plays, with more regard for decency than most public officials, except Mr. Justice North, apparently possess, declined to permit such pandering to the increasing popularity of blatant blasphemy. The play is now entitled Storm-Beaten.

     THE prologue introduces us in the Widow Christianson’s house to all the important persons of the drama—stage widows always have the same sort of houses. This cottage resembles Widow Melnotte’s, only there is no easel. Mrs. Christianson has two children, a daughter and a son. “If she had a thousand,” grumbles Blobbs, “she could not expect greater ‘variety.’” Widow is unhappy because she owes money, which she can’t pay, to one Squire Orchardson. It is not exactly this that makes her miserable, it is rather the fact that Orchardson is coming down like a wolf on the fold, and is going to pay himself by taking possession of the Farm. Mrs. Christianson tells her daughter, Kate, that the Orchardsons have been their vindictive enemies for several generations, and proceeds to violently vilify this particular Squire. “It is always thusly,” sighs the Usurer; “whenever a chap owes you money and cannot pay, he invariably calls you a scoundrel if you ask for it back.”

     WHEN the widowed mother retires to weep (widowed mothers always weep in melodrama), Miss Amy Roselle, who is daughter Kate, receives her lover, Mr. Jack Barnes, who is Orchardson junior. Considering that a feud has always existed between the families of Orchardson and Christianson, the intimacy between these two young persons appears sufficient to induce a belief that it will soon be made up. And so it would, if Jack was as good as his word. But he is a bad, bold man, who makes only a naughty love to Kate. He is so intimate that he does not ever take his hat off in her presence. His dark-green coat and brass buttons and cross-belt makes him look like a Forester going to a fête at the Crystal Palace. Footsteps are heard, and Barnes departs.

     ENTER Charles Warner as Christian Christianson, the widow’s son. Mr. Buchanan might have chosen a nicer name for his hero. But he takes the opportunity of making a feeble joke, saying that the man ought to be a good Christian, and he might as well have called him Jew Jewson, and have recommended him to be a good Jew. Throughout the whole play there is a flavouring of mock piety, to which all who have sincere respect for true religion must object. Biblical allusion and quotations from Holy Writ are out of place on the stage, and just at the present time public writers in every department would do well not to bring in false garb, and in theatrical spirit, that which was intended, and is employed by right-minded persons, for unostentatious reverence. Religion is no subject for glittering advertisements. Poor Charles Warner, however, is not to blame. He struts upon the stage, with his head well thrown back, and, as is his wont, casts his eyes upon the chandelier of the theatre with the interest of a Defries, and he keeps them there. Mr. Warner is a conscientious actor, and a good one too, but I cannot help comparing him to the oxyhydrogen bag, which is inflated afresh every night, and is used up by the end of the performance. His speeches always seem to escape from him, in spite of strenuous efforts by him not to part with them. In all his characters he commences hale, hearty, and stout, and before the completion of the performance some unfortunate weakening process takes place. Just now he has been to the lawyer to ask time for payment of the debt due to Orchardson, and it has been refused.

     A LADY, who has lost her way, arrives at the window’s cottage. She is a nice-looking young person, but appears to be just a bit of a flirt, for, instead of moving on when she has obtained the required directions, she remains to talk with Mr. Warner. She tells him that her name is Eweretta Lawrence, and also other particulars which hardly concern a stranger. Blobbs intends in future to leave the door of his castle open, in case any more young ladies should stray from the right path and require assistance. Presently some shouting is heard outside, and a blind parson (his eyesight is gone—I don’t mean that he is intoxicated) comes into the cottage, followed by a hooting mob. Parson is Eweretta’s papa, and passes his time perambulating other people’s parishes preaching. The crowd has very properly resented a poacher on the preserves of its own particular pastor, and the old man looks like having a rough time. Warner, like the good Christian Christianson that he is, tries to induce a real St. Bernard dog to fly at the crowd. Bow-wow firmly declines, but the mob disperses just as quickly as if its leader had been attacked by Hubert, the alleged saviour of the life of Lady Florence Dixie. What a pity it is that Hubert cannot speak. To use the language of Arthur Roberts, “It would be d——d funny.”

     “I ONCE knew a parson,” says the Usurer, “a fine old sportsman, who had a nice fat living in Blankshire. He used to come up to London all the week and enjoy himself like a bonny boy. But he always returned to his vicarage on Saturday afternoon. One Saturday, I think it was the first night of a new burlesque, I begged the old chap to stay in town. ‘Can’t you get anyone to do your duty, just for once?’ I asked. ‘No; impossible,’ said his reverence, mournfully. ‘For twenty years I have never missed a Sunday, and my reason is this,’ he added, quite confidentially. ‘If my congregation heard a new man I don’t believe they’d ever stand the old boy again.’” While we have been listening to the Usurer’s story, which we have all heard a dozen times before, Miss Eweretta Lawrence has taken her papa away. Squire Orchardson has called and demanded the money owing to him—he is as grasping as a Dublin Alderman. Orchardson, junior, has shot Warner’s dog (a most unnecessary precaution, for the beast was absolutely harmless). The widow has taken a Bible and tried to induce her children to swear on it a vindictive, blasphemous oath. Miss Amy Roselle, like Ole Brer Bradlaugh, declined to take the oath; but it escaped jet by jet from oxyhydrogen Charley. And the curtain has descended.

     ALTHOUGH chosen as Queen of the May, Miss Roselle feels her unfitness for that proud position. When some ladies are singing a song that sounds like a feeble imitation of “Over the garden Wall,” Miss Amy unfolds her woes. Alas! she has loved not wisely but too otherwisely, and he wont marry her after all, the brute! She will leave her home and go out into the world. This is a stupid proceeding but a common one. “When in trouble stop at home,” is the Usurer’s advice. Poor Amy, however, cannot stand the disgrace. So she kneels down and confides in Miss Lawrence. “Eweretta,” she sobs,” I am ruined.” Ewer— what?” asks the astonished lady; and so the story comes out, but no names are mentioned. By this time Charley Warner has fallen in love with the parson’s daughter, and so have I. She is a sweet, unaffected actress, with a melodious stage voice, a graceful deportment, and, for her limited experience, shows unusual knowledge of stagecraft. When I took Master to see her play Pauline I thought she was going to be a somebody at her profession, now I am sure of it. Orchardson, junior, also wants to marry her, and these two enemies are each afraid of the other. When Eweretta tells Charley of his sister’s shame, he is so deeply affected and so vigorous for vengeance that I begin to fear the gas wont hold out, and that he will have to be refilled in the entr’acte. So far the play is monotonously jumpy.

     IT may, perhaps, be impertinent to surmise as to the private feelings of an actress after her stage work is over. But I sometimes try to picture Miss Amy Roselle in her domestic life. Can she ever know a moment’s rest? Every terrible disaster that human flesh is heir to has fallen upon her in the course of one play or another. The strain upon her nerves must be dreadful. When she dreams, though I hope for her own sake that she never does, her nightmares must be horrible. No woman has undergone such astounding accidents. She has been blown up and blown down. The number of perfidious lovers who have wronged her is only equalled by the number of children she has mourned over. She has suffered the misery of a drunken husband, and has frequently perished with cold and starvation. I don’t think that even a Fenian head-centre could conceive any new torture for her, and yet she plays on—calmly, earnestly, and pathetically.

     BLIND PARSON and Eweretta have been staying with the Orchardsons, and are now going a sea voyage. Good-byes are being cordially exchanged all round. Charley Warner has had rather more than his share of them, and so Orchardson, junior, is jealous, and announces his intention of accompanying the travellers. When they have left, Miss Roselle appears; her child is dead, and she has rather a rough-and-tumble with Orchardson, who very properly declines to marry her. If young ladies misbehave themselves, they must be “treated as such.” When she faints away her brother brings her to, and she discloses the name of her quondam lover. Then Charley Warner, with the gas at the highest possible pressure, gives vent to a fearful and wonderful oath of vengeance against Richard Orchardson Barnes, Esq. Curtain. Why does not some enterprising melodramatist present his wronged lady with twins, or even triplets? One child only at a time is such a commonplace incident. Henry Pettitt, Paul Merritt, and Augustus Harris are welcome to this suggestion gratis.

     ON board the brig The Miles Standish. “What a wretched sort of craft for people to take a pleasure trip in, to be sure,” says Blobbs. “Mr. Proctor sings a comic song, but I cannot hear what it is about.” “Rather bad luck,” observes the Usurer, “considering that this is the first attempt at comicality in the bally play.” Charley Warner in disguise has tracked his foe here. When he commences an attack, the skipper of the ship puts him in irons down a trap. Orchardson thereupon sets the ship on fire. “Barnes is always setting something on fire,” observes the Failure. “In Pluck it was a house.” “In Macbeth it was not the Thames,” retorts Blobbs, sententiously. His present proceeding is hardly sensible, considering that, if successful, he will not only kill his enemy, but also himself and the lady he professes to love. Rather weak this, Mr. Buchanan. But the fire is put out, as a huge iceberg comes down on to the ship. “Where is it supposed to be?” asks the Usurer. “Are we in Eurup, Asiup, Africup, or Americup?” “None of those,” says Blobbs; “can’t you see the ice—we are at Gatti’s, of course.”

     IF Augustus Harris, or even Wilson Barrett, had been entrusted with the production of a play with a scene such as the one now in process of change we should have had a picture worth talking about. Messrs. Gatti, I should have thought, were the people above all others most competent to produce picturesque ice scenes. In this one they have failed, and given just an ordinary canvas or two which look like nothing else, with some coloured lights at the back, thus presenting a striped appearance similar to Neapolitan ice. Even these effects cannot be carried out without the temporary dropping of a curtain of black gauze, which is rather provoking at an interesting moment. It rises in time to show us the ship sail away, while Warner and Barnes fight until both fall into the water.

     ACT IV. Irreverently described in the programme as “Alone with God.” When the licenser changed the name of the play he ought to have looked at the titles of the acts. Nearly all the gas has escaped from Warner, who is now weak and starving on a desert island with Barnes. Poor old Robinson Warner, there is no one for him to Crusoe with but his enemy, who has been very ill. No matter how handsome Jack Barnes tries to make himself up to look miserable, no matter how much he powders his beard and tries to be woebegone and unhappy, he still looks a hale, hearty, and well fed young gentleman. His clothes are shabby, truly, but they were in execrable taste when new, so that he would have required another suit whether he had been wrecked or not.

     MR. WARNER falls asleep and dreams a vision. Out of a hole in the scenery appear Misses Amy Roselle and Eweretta Lawrence walking arm-in-arm. Although this is not half so well done as the vision in the first act of Little Doctor Faust, it wakes Charley, he wakes Barnes, and the two make up their little differences. Blobbs thinks that this would be a good opportunity for a dance. Very likely we should have a recitation about Wolsey’s death, only some people who were rowing on the Serpentine have lost their way and pop in unexpectedly at the Desert Island, and its oldest inhabitants do them the honour to go away in their boat.

     THE next and last act brings happiness to everyone, including the audience. Barnes makes restitution by marrying the girl. Eweretta, of course, marries Warner, and the church bells ring. This is the whole play. It is a very miserable one, and unrelieved by those sensational but laughable incidents which are the principal excuses for melodrama. Mr. Beerbohm Tree acts the small part of a semi-idiotic shepherd; he does not seem to understand what was expected of him. It is not surprising, for the character is inexplicable. Miss Jecks is also a figure introduced for no adequate reason, unless to show how much better she looks in her own bright, black hair than in a yellow wig. Instead of reviving Blobbs, Storm-Beaten has nearly killed him. There are some advantages in the drama, after all.

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Storm-Beaten - continued

 

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