PLAYGOER --- REVIEWS --- CLUB CONCERTS
Series of Plays at Arlington Theatre Find Much Favor
Walter Hampden, now playing at the Arlington Theatre in a series of Shakespearean plays, seems to have awakened Boston's interest in his work. His audiences, meagre during the earlier performances, have grown steadily, and at present he is drawing excellent houses; in fact his success has been great enough to call for an extra week of "Hamiet," "The Merchant of Venice," and "The Taming of the Shrew."
During his Boston tour Mr. Hampden appeared in five plays. The first of these is "the Servant in the House," by Charles Ran Kennedy, in which he appeared as Manson, the tittle part. This play, which has already been reviewed in the CRIMSON, will be given again tonight and Friday night.
"Romeo and Juliet," which he first presented here last spring, seems to have had the least success. Whether Mr. Hampden has difficulty in finding the necessary youthful effect for the role, or in getting into the spirit of the play, is hard to tell. At any rate, his attempts fall short, which is the more to be regretted, inasmuch as his supporting company gives him admirable backing.
As Shylock, Mr. Hampden is capital. He plays the Jew subtly and with feeling, neither carrying the emotional portions of his part too far, nor displaying too much reserve. His company supports him well, and his simple but ample scenery furnishes a very effective background for the play. The only noticeable weakness is in the last act, which savors too much of "and they lived happily ever after" for the American audience of today. The spectators became restless before the final scene was half over and many left their seats. Some heavy cutting of this portion of the play would be of value.
The "Taming of the Shrew" was produced last week for the first time by this company and showed promise of future brilliancy. The company played it with a snap and dash slightly dimmed by an apparent uneasiness about the lines. Mr. Hampden's Petruchio was pleasing but violent.
The presentation of "Hamlet" shows Mr. Hampden and his whole company at their best. The few weak points of the presentation, as it was in the spring, have been polished up carefully; new players are taking some of the minor parts and brightening them, and Mr. Hampden himself has improved with further practice. Polonius and the Queen need improving, and Miss Morgan as Ophelia does not get all that she might form her part, at which she is new. With further experience, however, she should develop into an extremely capable Shakespearean actress. Le Roi Operti as Osrle, although playing a very small part, deserves praise, as does Mr. Thomas as the First Grave-digger.