I" 1 THE NEW HOLBORN AMPHITHEATRE.¡|1867-06-01|The Brecon County Times Neath Gazette and General Advertiser for the Counties of Brecon Carmarthen Radnor Monmouth Glamorgan Cardigan Montgomery Hereford - Welsh Newspapers Online
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--.-ce. V ARIETI ES.

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1 THE NEW HOLBORN AMPHITHEATRE. Again we have an equestrian theatreânot merely an enclosed circus, but an edifice including both a stage and a ring, after the fashion to which the whole of the present generation, children of tender years excluded, have been familiarised by what we must still consider the normal condition of Astley's. Nevertheless, it was not at Astley's that the combination began, but at the present Surrey Theatre, when it was first opened as the "Royal Circus." Philip Astley, the founder of the house at the foot of Westminster-bridge, had for some years contented himself with performances in a ring, which he improved from time to time, and it was the licensing of the Royal Circus" with the ring and stage in 1783 which first prompted him to adopt the principle of his competitor. The combination continued at the Royal Circus" till 1809, when Mr. Alliston, after the destruction of Drury-lane by fire, took the house, and calling it the Surrey," covered over the ring. and con- verted it into a pit. At Astley's a stage looked down upon a ring until within the last five years or so, when Mr. Boucicault, naming the theatre the" Royal West- minster," performed an operation similar to that of Mr. Ellis-ton, and though the old name Jias been since re- stored to the edifice, the ring has not reappeared. At Crcmorne the combination was revived last year, but the Chelsca gardens lie beyond the reach of the mass of steady amusement-seekers, who like to find their plea- sures close at hand. The amphitheatre, therefore, opened on Saturday under the auspices of Messrs. M'Collum and Charman, is the sole equestrian theatre in London. The new house stands on the site of the former Metropolitan Horse Bazaar," close to Messrs. Day and Martin's blacking establishment, and nearly opposite the Inns of Court Hotel Its length is said to be 130 feet, the width being 68 feet from box to box. The private boxes form an important part of the interior, and are on a principle similar to that of the so-called family boxes" at the New Adelphiâthat is to say, they form a semicircle in front of the house, a row of stalls, called the, -I Grand Balcony," being ranged imme- diately before them on the same tier. Above them is a gallery called the "Amphitheatre," containing the cheapest places in the house, the front row being parted off for Amphitheatre stalls." The ring is, of.course, surrounded by seats, but those which are called "Pit stalls" arc numbered, so that there is no ordinary Pit in the establishment. The decorations are of a very light and tasteful character, and the house, well filled on Saturday night, had a gay and brilliant appearance. The business of the ring at present constitutes by far the most important portion of the evening's entertain- meut; though in the case of the horse Zamor," which is seen surrounded by fireworks, the stage is used as an auxiliary to the ring. The only dramatic perform- ance is a short farce, called Grim Griffin Hotel, which concludes the whole, and. chiefly serves as a vehicle for some of Professor Pepper's admirable optical illusions. The depth of the stage is- at present very small; but we understand that if the enterprise proves successful it will be enlarged by the purchase of additional ground; at the back of the house, and rendered appropriate for dram atie spectacle. The equestrian and gymnastic company has- been selected'with great discrimination. The feats are of the most varied kind, and every one of them is executed to perfection. Mr. A. Bradbury, who, attired as & jockey, leaps on and off a bare-backed horse at full speed, fre- quently allowing it to [get the start of him by several feet;M. Gerard, who leaps through a large hollow cylinder of considerable length, and alights safely in his saddle; and Mdllc. Lambert, whose performance is of the so-called "Haute Ecole." are all first-rate eques- trians of their kind; the Delavaoti Family are known proficients in the most elaborate tumbling. A new artist, Captain Austin, works wonders with a musket, which he tosses about with frightful recklessness, the bayonet to all appearance, perpetually thrcatening-the occupants of the pit stalls and a number of efficient clowns, including Lcs Freres Daniel," a clever couple, who make eccentric use of the violin, display every quality proper to wit, brevity alone excepted. There is no doubt that to a very large section of the public the opening of the new Holborn Amphitheatre, even if it be regarded as aimere circus, supplies an im- portant omission in the list of amusements. Not long ago the Alhambra Palace seemed about to become a permanent equestrian establishment, but its occupation by Mr. F..Strange, as the head of a limited company, and the brilliant ballets produced under his management, have banis-bed horses from Leicester-square beyond the probability of a return, and an occasional visit to the Agricultural Hall, Islington, by some itinerant company, has of lato afforded the Londoners the only opportunity of seeing.their favourite horsemanship.


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