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Review from The Times
Friday, May 9, 1890.
 
HAYMARKET THEATRE

At best, only a feeble interest now attaches to the one-act piece which serves as a lever de rideau, the lateness of the fashionable dinner-hour keeping the stalls empty for the most part until even the pièce de résistance of the evening has got underway. It is rarely thought worthwhile, therefore, to submit such a one-act piece to the test of trial performance. Such an experiment, however, was made on Wednesday at the Haymarket in the case of a dramatic sketch by Miss Clo Graves, entitled Rachel. This proved to be a species of monologue supposed to be delivered by the great French tragédienne Rachel in her dying moments, the difficult character of the actress being enacted for the occasion by Miss Laura Villiers. Rachel died of consumption in circumstances not unlike those of “La Dame aux Camélias,” and Miss Clo Graves has availed herself of that fact to produce a somewhat conventional scene – the worn and cough-racked invalid passing in review her former triumphs and hoping for a restoration to health and strength at the very moment when the hand of death is being laid upon her. The part requires an actress of keen sensibility, and Miss Villiers grappled with it bravely. The effect was not, upon the whole, very exhilarating. Monologues – and, despite the introduction of a second personage in the capacity of an attendant, this sketch is no more than one – are better adapted to the drawing room than to the stage: they are essentially undramatic, and Miss Clo Graves’s little piece is not free from the faults of its class.

On the same occasion Miss Julia Neilson undertook the part of Clarice in Mr. Gilbert’s Comedy and Tragedy, thus following in the footsteps of Miss Mary Anderson. Although still in her novitiate, Miss Neilson displayed an alternate intensity and tenderness of passion which amply justified her venture, her performance coming upon the house as an agreeable surprise.


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