Merlin's acting review

Original correspondence                                                               Maitland Mercury, 9 September 1856

To the Editors of the Maitland Mercury

Gentlemen- Having seen several criticisms upon the performances at the Queen's Theatre, and some not exactly coinciding with others, perhaps you will allow me, on behalf of the audience, to give our opinion upon the actors, and in so doing I shall adopt the style used only by kings and the press, and denominate myself as "we."

On Saturday last Mr. Sedley and Mrs. Sinclair drew a full house, and indeed it would be saying little for the taste and discrimination of the people of Maitland if it were not so. Mr. Sedley, as a light comedian, we think far surpasses any actor that has hitherto been seen in this colony. He has a happy, free, and at the same time correct and natural manner whilst acting. His delineations of character prove him to be one who has studied not only the play as written by the author, but also one conversant with human nature. His impersonation of the Stranger on Saturday last was splendid, and is one of his masterpieces. We cannot say too much in praise of Mrs. Sinclair; the life- like representations given by her in every character, and some the very opposite of the other, prove her to be an actress of the highest order, and fully justify the many encomiums passed upon her by the press-not only of this colony, but also in America. Those who were fortunate enough to see her as Mrs. Haller, on Saturday last, could not fail impressed with her merits ; and few, indeed, could remain unmoved at her pathetic appeal to her husband. Candidly speaking, we are no great admirers of Mr. Muriel's acting; perhaps in time he may become a third-rate actor, if he were to throw aside that impudent assurance, that affected impassioned tone, and those fantastic antics, assumed by him on every occasion; but we much doubt if he has the ability to thoroughly delineate a character in its true light, should he by any extraordinary chance succeed in attaining to a right conception of it. We would recommend him to abandon the stage, and to give his mind more to the management of his theatre, where he will find ample scope to display his abilities, and by so doing the recurrence of such a disgraceful scene as was witnessed on Saturday evening last may perhaps be prevented.

I have to apologise for taking up so much of. On some future day we will give an opinion on the merits of the other performers.

I remain, gentlemen, your obedient servant,

AN OBSERVER.  Maitland, Sept. 8, 1856.