Although the hour of the performance was placed at eight, it was not until twenty minutes past the hour that the curtain was drawn aside exhibiting to the audience what purported to be a Roman mob.
The first scene was very realistic. The howling mob carried the spectator back to the days when the first Caesar ruled in Rome. But the tribunes who dispersed the mob seemed to feel the oppressive circumstances of their first appearance, and did their appointed task in a highly "stagey" manner. In the scene which brought the entire company before the audience. the action was fairly effective, although some crudeness was visible. Mr. Cummings, as Caesar, while fairly preserying the austere dignity of the Roman failed somewhat in the very difficult work required of him by appearing too unrelaxed and imperial for even Caesar. The repose of Mr. Winter as Cassius in this scene was very effective. In the somewhat lengthy scene which brought Cassius and Brutus together, Mr. Winter improved the opportunity afforded him by acting one of the most effective incidents of the play with remarkable fire and naturalness. Mr. Roundy as Brutus was too declamatory in his delivery, and lacked naturalness in his action. Mr. Richardson as Casca took the opportunity in interrupting Cassius and Brutus to deliver one of the most peculiarly theatrical outbursts of the evening. He mouthed his words very badly, and spoke in a sepulchral tone worthy of the ghost of Caesar. While the acting of Mr. Jones as Brutus showed some lack of study, the purity of his enunciation was in marked contrast with the indistinct utterance of many of the other actors. The scene between Brutus and Portia afforded some opportunity for delicacy of treatment, but Mr. Stevens as Portia found his task too great, and tendered an impersonation which was labored and effeminate to the last degree.
The flowing scene gave Mr. Sanford an opportunity to improve over Mr. Stevens in his rendering of Calpuria, but Mr. Cummings as Caesar was far too deliberate, both in action and speech Several of the following scenes were very striking, especially the scene of the murder and of the first address of Antony.
Mr. Jones, as Antony, gave an extremely powerful rendering, although his action was, perhaps, a little violent, his mastery over his vocal expression was extremely good. Mr. Hansen and Mr. Goodale respectively as Brutus and Cassius in the third act, acted very naturally and with some power.
The mob was extremely effective, and did its work in a very mob-like manner. The costuming of the actors was good throughout.
The presentation as a whole was highly successful, and passed off with great smoothness. The Shakspere Club are to be congratulated upon the success of their daring venture, and deserve a crowded house this evening at their second performance.