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The Graphic, Issue 115, Feb. 10, 1872, p. 122 (illustration on p. 136)
“Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old.”
Mr. W.S. Gilbert has taken liberties with Lemprière this winter. At the Haymarket he has endowed that world-famed sculptor, Pygmalion, with a jealous wife, while at the Gaiety he has afflicted immortals with mortal ailments – has smitten Jupiter with rheumatism, and Apollo with decrepitude; has caused the chaste Diana to rouge, and has only allowed Mercury to retain the full use of his faculties. Nay more, in his “grotesque opera” of “THESPIS, OR THE GODS GROWN OLD,” “the founder of the drama,” that itinerant strolling player, Thespis, invades dread Olympus with his company, and picnics upon the sacred spot. The gods, indignant at such a sacrilege, appear and remonstrate, but, feeling that they are behind the times, take Thespis’s advice and quit Olympus for a year’s visit to earth, leaving their powers and dignity in the hands of our manager and his troupe. Thespis (Mr. Toole) finds his task far more difficult than he thought. Bacchus (Mr. Soutar) turns teetotaler, and no longer supplies the earth with wine. Diana (Miss Loseby) refuses to shine without the company of Apollo (Mdlle. Clary), a rather incongruous escort, while Jupiter (the ci-devant Thespis) is nearly driven mad by the disputes of Diana and Calliope (Miss Tremaine) over Apollo, the former claiming him as her earthly spouse, the latter as her mythological helpmate. This scene forms the subject of our sketch, and is one of the most amusing bits of the whole piece, which is admirably acted throughout.
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