Montreal Daily Star, 25 May 1897, page 6

Miss Margaret Mather’s revival of Cymbeline

“Cymbeline” did not draw a very large house at the Academy of Music last night; evidence, perhaps, to the degeneracy of the tastes of modern theatre-goers.  But, then, “Cymbeline” is less known than other Shakespearean favorites, and the counter attractions of a 24th of May evening are many.

Of the play itself as revived by Miss Margaret Mather, it must be admitted that while there is much that commands admiration there is much, also, that challenges criticism.  The part of Imogen, which is that taken by Miss Mather, herself, is rather overdone.  There is too much weeping.  True, certain episodes in Imogen’s life which form part of the plot of the play are not such as to inspire laughter, or even self control.  But the effect of continuous weeping at a high tension is not pleasant, and certainly might have been modified without harm to the text.  In the scene before the cave of Belarius, also, too much timidity was shown by Imogen, who had donned man’s attire.  The daughters of kings in the good old days when the play is laid are supposed to have been pretty well accustomed to the sight and sound of bare steel, but not the most timid school girl of the present time would have shown as great trepidation as Miss Mather put into the part.

The play, however, is certainly well worth seeing.  Miss Mather’s interpretation of the leading role is, on the whole, admirable, and she is well supported by Mr William Courtleigh as Posthumous Leonatus, Mr William Redmond as Iachimo, Mr Lynn Pratt as Pisanio and the other members of the cast.  The staging is all that could be desired, and many of the scenes are certainly beautiful.  Philario’s palace with its dancing girls gave a glimpse of the life of Roman luxury in the first century BC and the sturdy contrast of that of the Briton was shown in other scenes, no less true to the life of the period.

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