Original Document
Original Document
Review of Edwin Forrest's Theatrical Debut, 1820

We rarely trouble our readers with dramatic news, the pleasures of scenic representation are, however, favorites with us. The tragedy of Douglas was presented at the theatre Walnut Street, on Monday, to a very respectable audience, and we understand will be repeated tomorrow evening.

The chief object of attraction was a youth of this city, of about fifteen, of the name of Forrest, who made his debut in young Norval. The play was well got up throughout, well sustained.... Of the performance of young Norval, we must say that it was uncommon in the performance by such a youth, as it was extraordinary in just conception and the exemption from the idea of artifice, such as is common in the most practiced players. We mean that the sentiment of the character obtained such full possession of the youth, as to take away in appearance every consideration of an audience or a drama, and to give Norval as if it were the natural speaking of the shepherd of the Grampian Hills, suddenly revealed by instinct to the son of Douglas. We were much surprised at the excellence of his elocution; his self-possession in speech and gesture; and a voice that, without straining or exertion, was of such volume and fine tenor, as to carry every tone and articulation to the remotest corner of the theatre. We consider this eulogium not more than justice requires. Of faults we had little to say; some occasional stiffness in the still moments of the passive action, and that difficulty of all young performers in the management of the hands. One verbal error only we perceived in the description of the action which led to his introduction; when he says - a band of fifty men.

He substituted the word group for band - slips of this kind are frequent with the very best performers; and we only noted this to prove that our attention was not astray, nor our judgment partial. We trust that this young gentleman will find the patronage to which his extraordinary ripeness of faculty and his modest deportment entitle him.

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