North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot

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The North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot was a British regiment stationed in the Cape Colony in the 1860s.

Also known by its full title of the Second Battalion of the Tenth of North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot.

The Regiment was sent to the Eastern Frontier two years after the Cattle-killing movement (1856–58). The Xhosa tribes destroyed all their cattle and foodstuffs in the belief that their ancestors would return and drive the White settlers back into the sea. The predicted day, February 18, 1857, came, but nothing happened. As a result of there being no means of subsistence, famine set in. Without food, the power of the Xhosa was broken and they were forced to turn to the settlers for help. The North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot's role on the Eastern Frontier from 1860 - 1862 was consequently more of a police force as opposed to a fighting force.

The regiment

History

The regiment evolved form the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment founded on 20 June 1685 and in 1751 was named the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot, eventually becoming the Lincolnshire Regiment in 1881.

It was deployed on the Eastern Cape border in South Africa from December 1859 till 1862, then again during the Boer War (1899-1902).

For more on the history and campaigns fought by the regiment, see for example the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in Wikipedia[1]

Arrival and deployment in southern Africa

The first division of the 7, 8 and 9 companies with a portion of No 5 Company of the Second Battalion of the Tenth of North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot left their camp at Curragh-Camp for duty on the Eastern Cape Frontier on December 8, 1859.

“The Head Quarters of the Regiment, under command of Colonel Fenwick, C. B. had sailed from Queenstown on the 12th January, in H. M. S. Urgent, and after an exceedingly calm and not unpleasant voyage, though the vessel was uncomfortably crowded, they bade farewell to the gallant ship and her agreeable officers at Algoa Bay on the 16th March.

“The left wing, under Lieut. Colonel Byrne, had sailed from Kingstown, in H. M. S. Vulcan, on the 11th of December, 1859, and reached their destination some three weeks before the arrival of the Head Quarters.

“The Head Quarters arrived at Grahamstown, - the Military Head Quarters of the Colony, - on the 30th March, and we were, within a few weeks, called upon to furnish nine detachments which scattered up pretty well over the face of the country: however a change has recently come over the arrangements, and the Second-Tenth can once more muster in respectable numbers at Head Quarters.”

On January 11, 1860, the remainder of the regiment consisting of the Colours, the Band and Drums, Nos 1, 2, 3, 6 and 10 Companies embarked onto H. M. S. Urgent at Hawlbowline bound for the Cape. On February 21, H. M. S. Vulcan anchored in Algoa Bay and four days later Captain Coryton, two sergeants, one drummer and 47 rank and file left Port Elizabeth for Grahamstown where they arrived on March 3, 1860.

On March 10, 1860, H. M. S. Urgent anchored in Algoa Bay. Three days later they left for Grahamstown and arrived at their destination on March 18, 1860.

By the beginning of May, men had been posted from Grahamstown to Fort Brown, Fort Jackson, Fort Peddie, Koonap, Trompetters, Tamacha, East London, and Line Drift.

On April 25, 1862, the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot was posted to Keiskama Hoek. (Modern spelling: Keiskammahoek.)

Contribution to South African theatre, film, media and performance

Apart from the Officers (also sometimes referred to as the Officers of the Regiment) and the Serjeants (sic) (also referred to as the Serjeants of the Regiment, Serjeants' Dramatic Club, Sergeants of the Regiment, or the Sergeants' Dramatic Club) who provided the troops with theatrical entertainment, the regiment also had a drama club known as the Amateurs of the Band (also found as the Band Amateurs or the Band of Amateurs).

The account given below is based largely on The North Lincoln Sphinx (1860-1862), a newsletter recording the activities of the officers and men of the Second Battalion of the 10th North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot during its sojourn in South Africa.

Availability of scripts for Regimental productions

In the 1840s Thomas Hailes Lacy started the publication of Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays at his Covent Garden printing house. Many London theatrical scripts were reproduced in the various volumes and in some cases as many as 15 plays by a wide selection of playwrights were reproduced. Unfortunately, these volumes are undated so it is not possible to ascertain how many had been published by the time the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot left for the Cape Colony's Eastern Frontier in 1860 but these volumes were apparently all published on a year-to-year basis. The Port Elizabeth Public Library has a collection of approximately 80 volumes but the Birmingham Central Reference Library[2] has a complete run. They are in the process of digitising the complete set in order to make them all available as e-texts.

In the mid-1800s, Samuel French began publishing French’s American Drama in New York and these volumes soon became the largest distributor of dramatic prose in the US. French acquired Thomas Hailes Lacy's company in the 1880s and expanded his business on both sides of the Atlantic. This would have been too late for his books to have been available during the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot's period of service in South Africa.

A few of the productions by the company included works apparently written or adapted locally by members of the Regiment. These include a number of interludes and even a text. For example, the interlude called Fitzosbert's Dream (possibly based on a scene from a popular novel) was apparently "prepared" for production by Lance-Corporal W. Allan in 1862.

A new farce, written expressly by Lieutenant R. Annesley, a member of the Regiment, entitled Two Years In Paris, was presented by the Officers of the Regiment on January 20, 1862.

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 11. Grahamstown, January 28, 1862. Page 163.)

The North Lincoln Sphinx published a three-page comedy titled Dressing For "The Rivals" and subtitled "A Drama Behind the Curtain" but gave no credits. It's unknown if the play was staged as there is no mention of any actors, but because the newsletter was written to entertain as well as to inform about the ongoing activities, it appears as though it may have been written by one of the soldiers - but this is an assumption.

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 3, Grahamstown, November 1, 1860, pages 27 - 29.)

Casts and performance conventions

Observations on acting and performances

1) Although by the time the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot came to the Eastern Frontier, women had long been accepted as part of the acting world, all the female roles in their productions were played by males. At least one young man who portrayed women, J. Durney, took part in the under 16 years athletic dash in 1860.

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 1, Grahamstown, August 4, 1860. Page 6.)

Perhaps the men were able to produce so many plays because of their youth, for, according to a report under the title Frontier News, Grahamstown, in the Eastern Province Herald of March 2, 1860, "The men, who seemed all very young, looked much wearied by their long and uncomfortable march."

2) A few men were very successful in playing female roles but were not very good when portraying male roles.

3) All the men were regular troops and were only available to partake in the productions when they were at the base. Many men would probably have taken part in more productions had they not been serving at remote outposts.

4) The men went to great lengths to produce plays of a high standard and went to great pains to make the most of their situations by painting backdrops, and wearing authentic costumes.

5) The North Lincoln Sphinx critics did not go easy on the actors and were often highly critical of low standard productions. They were also lavish with their praise when productions were of a high standard.

6) The theatre in "Keiskama Hoek" was a very primitive structure made of wattle branches and mud.

The players

(Names are given in order of rank, then followed in alphabetical order.)

Captain G. C. Bartholomew, Captain G. E. Bulger, Captain H. Henderson, Captain C. Hudson, Captain W. C. O'Shaughnessy, Captain H. R. Vigors.

Lieutenant J. Craig, Lieutenant R. Annesley, Lieutenant C. A. Armstrong, Lieutenant C. P. Fitzgibbon, Lieutenant J. Craig, Lieutenant C. H. Newbatt, Lieutenant H. T. Snooke,

Ensign A. Fraser, Ensign G. H. W. Tremenheere,

Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith,

Drum Major A. Craig,

Colour-Sergeant F. Edwards, Color-Sergeant G. E. Hungerford, Color Sergeant B. Martin, Color Sergeant W. Shaw, Colour Sergeant E. Winders,

Sergeant H. Charlesworth, Sergeant J. Chesters, Sergeant T. Coughlin, Sergeant H. Davies, Sergeant P. Fox, Sergeant G. Gill, Sergeant J. Hanrahan, Sergeant G. Little Esq, Sergeant J. Lydon, Sergeant M. Lyons, Sergeant T. Murnane, Sergeant J. Murray, Sergeant A. Parrock, Sergeant J. Quinn, Sergeant J. Roberts,

Corporal G. Brown, Corporal J. Davies, Corporal J. Logan, Corporal (Sergeant) T. M'Kay, Lance Corporal (Corporal) J. Grimley, Corporal T. Smith.

J. S. Brougham Esq, R. Johnson Esq, A. W. King Esq, W. Malcolm Esq, W. J. B. Martin Esq, S. F. Poole Esq, J. D. Power Esq, O. H. Strong Esq, G. P. Townsend Esq, T. J. Tucker Esq.

W. Allan, W. Allen, F. Beikempe, T. Brooker, B. Buckley, W. Carr, Private W. Dansie, Private G. Dawe, J. Diamond (Cape Mounted Riflemen), F. Doherty, Private J. Durney, Private J. Dwyer, W. Foster, Private J. F. Gay, F. Girton, Private J. Grennan, J. Griffin, A. Jameson, D. Johnson, J. Lovett, Private J. M'Kechnie, Private A. M'Laughlin, R. M. M'Sweeny, J. Mann, T. Manion, T. Mills, H. Moore, P. Mulrennan, P. Nelson (Cape Mounted Riflemen), C. H. Newbatt, J. Newnham, T. Paterson, M. Rafferty, A. Robinson, E. Saunders, B. Sheeran, T. Smith, G. Strachan, Private A. Vogado, J. C. Woods.

Drummer B. Buckley, Drummer D. Egan, Drummer Green.

Miss Carteret, Miss Pauline Davies, Miss Blanche de Moultrie, Miss Durney, Miss Frances Hastings, Mademiselle Claudine Saint-Germain, Miss Marian Ramsay.


Titles and ranks

Until 1871, when it was replaced by second lieutenant, Ensign was the lowest rank of commissioned officer in infantry regiments of the British Army. It was the duty of officers of this rank to carry the colours of the regiment. - Wikipedia[3].

A Drum Major in the army holds the rank of warrant officer class 1.

A Colour Sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer, above Sergeant and below Warrant Officer.

In the United Kingdom, Esquire historically was a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry above the rank of a gentleman and below the rank of knight. In 1826, William Blackstone reiterated that, "the title should be limited to those only who bear an office of trust under the Crown and who are styled esquires by the king in their commissions and appointments; and all, I conceive, who are once honoured by the king with the title of Esquire have a right to that distinction for life." - Wikipedia[4].

For more about the role of Drummers, click on this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drummer_(military)

Performances by the Regiment

It is assumed that the regiment made use of the Garrison Theatre in Grahamstown and the Garrison Theatre in Keiskama Hoek to stage their productions.


Performances in 1860

July 9 & 16, 1860: The Band Amateurs produced the celebrated legendary drama in three acts, The Corsican Brothers (Grangé and Montépin/Boucicault). Starring: W. Allen (Boissee, a Wood cutter), T. Brooker (Le Baron de Montgiron), T. Brooker (Marie Colonna), W. Dansie (Twin brothers), J. Durney (Marie, a domestic), W. Foster (Celestine, lady of the ballet), J. F. Gay (Madame Sevillia dei Franchi), J. Grennan (Emilie de Lasparre), J. Mann (Gaetano Orlando), M. Rafferty (M. Alfred Meynard), T. Paterson (Grifio), T. Paterson (A Surgeon), J. C. Woods (M. de Chaserd Rensud), and A. Vogado (Estelle, lady of the ballet).

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Page 15.)

W. Allen then played the violin in seven different positions after which J. M. M'Kechnie sang a comic song, "Solomon Lob".

The evening concluded with the staging of the farce The Wandering Minstrel (Mayhew). Starring J. M'Kechnie (Mr Crincum), W. Dansie (Herbert Carroll), W. Allan (Tweedle), T. Brooker (Jem Bags), M. Rafferty (Mrs Crincum), J. Grennan (Julia), J. Durney (Peggy).

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Page 16.)


July 21, 26 & 27, and August 3, 1860: The Serjeants (sic) performed Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton's beautiful five-act drama The Lady of Lyons, or Love and Pride. Cast: Serjeant Major T. H. Smith (Claude Melnotte), Color Serjeant W. Shaw (Colonel, afterwards General Damas, cousin to Madame Deschappelles and an Officer in the French Army), Serjeant J. Lydon (Monsieur Beauseant, a rich gentleman of Lyons, in love with, and refused by Pauline Deschappelles), Color serjeant G. E. Hungerford (Monsieur Glavis, Beauseant's friend, also a rejected suitor to Pauline), Serjeant P. Fox (Monsieur Deschappelles, a Lyonnese merchant, father to Pauline), Color Sergeant B. Martin (Landlord of the Golden Lion), Drum Major A. Craig (Gasper), Serjeant J. Hanrahan (Servant), Serjeant M. Lyons (First Officer), Serjeant J. Hanrahan (Second Officer), Drum Major A. Craig (Third Officer), Lance Corporal J. Davies (Pauline Deschappelles), Lance Corporal T. Smith (Madame Deschappelles, Pauline's mother), Corporal G. Brown (The Widow Melnotte, mother to Claude), Corporal G. Brown (Marian, maid to Pauline).

After the play, a solo was performed on the violin in seven different positions by W. Allen. Then a comic song "Solomon Lob" in character by J. M. M'Kechnie.

This was followed by The Wandering Minstrel (Mayhew), starring J. M. M'Kechnie (Mr Crincum), W. Dansie (Herbert Carol), W. Allen (Tweedle), T. Brooker (Jem Bags), M. Rafferty (Mrs Crincum), J. Grennan (Julia) and J. Durney (Peggy).

After which The Kiss in the Dark (Buckstone and Moore), starring Serjeant P. Fox (Mr Pettibone), Serjeant H. Charlesworth (Frank Fatlions), Corporal G. Brown (Mrs Pettibone), Lance Corporal T. Smith (Mary), was staged.

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Page 16.)


July 30 and August 1, 1860 saw The Review, or The Wags of Windsor, a two-act "comediatta" (sic) (probably commedia dell’arte, which, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is an improvised kind of popular comedy in Italian theatres in the 16th – 18th centuries and is based on stock characters.) Cast: W. Allan (Caleb Quotem), T. Brooker (John Lump), W. Dansie (Looney Mactwolter), J. Durney (Lucy), J. F. Gay (Grace Gaylove), F. Girton (Dubbs), J. Grennan (Phoebe Whithorn), J. M'Kechnie (Mr Deputy Bull), J. Mann (Charles Williams), T. Paterson (Sergeant Higginbottom), M. Rafferty (Captain Beauguard), and A. Vogado (Martha).

After the play there was dancing and comic singing by J. Lovett and J. M'Kechnie and the whole concluded with the farce of Richard Butler's The Irish Tutor, starring T. Brooker (Dr Flail, a schoolmaster), W. Dansie (Terry o'Rourke and Dr O'Toole), J. Durney (Mary, Rosa's maid), F. Girton (Charles, Mr Tillwell's son), J. Grennan (Rosa, Mr Tillwell's niece), J. M'Kechnie (Mr Tillwell). (North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Pages 17 & 18.)


August 20th and 22nd, 1860. The Band of Amateurs again appeared before the public in the three-act play The Iron Chest set in the New Forest, Hampshire, and on its borders. Starring: W. Dansie (Sir Edward Mortimer), J. M'Kechnie (Fitzharding), J. F. Gay (Adam Winterton), T. Paterson (Gilbert Rawbold), T. Brooker (Samson Rawbold, his son), W. Allan (Peter), W. Allan (Armstrong), J. Mann (Orson), B. Sheeran (First Robber), T. Manion (Third Robber) G. Daw (Robbers Boy), J. Grennan (Helen), J. Durney (Blanche), A. Vogado (Barbara Rawbold), M. Rafferty (Judith).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Respecting all these performances, we can say but a few words. On the whole, they were more successful than could have been expected, when we take into consideration the many difficulties which perplexed and obstructed the Corps Dramatique. The selection of pieces might, certainly, have been more judicious; and had plays, more easy of performance, been chosen we should doubtless have been able to award a still higher meed of praise than that which we now offer to the managers."

This was followed by The Irish Tutor, "cast as before".

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Pages 17 & 18.)


August 29, 1860: The Sergeants of the Regiment performed the three-act drama, Wallace, the Hero of Scotland. Cast: Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (Wallace), Sergeant J. Lydon (Monteith), Private A. M'Laughlin (Allan Ramsay), Sergeant P. Fox (Earl Mar), Colour-Sergeant W. Shaw (Kirkpatrick), Sergeant J. Hanrahan (Duncan), Colour-Sergeant G. E. Hungerford (Cressingham), Sergeant G. Little (Robert Mortimer), Colour-Sergeant E. Winders (Lord Saulis), Drum-Major A. Craig (Gerald), Colour-Sergeant B. Martin (Gilbert Hamilton), Sergeant M. Lyons (Earl of Athlyn), Corporal G. Brown (Marian), Lance-Corporal J. Davies, (Helen Mar), ---- (Madeline), Sergeant J. Quinn (Label [First letter unclear]).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The drama would have been more successful if it had been preceded by a few extra rehearsals. The prompter's assistance was too much wanted, and the scenery required more care, and nicer adjustment. The character of Wallace was well sustained; though at times, the performer's utterance was rather rapid and almost trenched upon flippancy; - a little more pathos, and feeling, would have been a great improvement, and have left us nothing to find fault with. The same remarks apply to the disposal of Monteith, by Sergeant J. Lydon, to whom the character was not quite suited. Duncan should learn his part and speak out; and more freedom of movement is requisite in the performance of Kirkpatrick. Colour-Sergeant G. E. Hungerford did well as Cressingham, and, excepting two or three faults of pronunciation, his performance was exceedingly creditable; he spoke distinctly, and naturally, and with a proper conception of the character. Allan Ramsay's voice was rather monotonous, but he looked and played his part very well. The remainder of the male characters acquitted themselves fairly; they had not much to say, and, generally, they said it tolerably. The lady Marian displayed scarcely sufficient feeling, and the minor female characters failed in the same particular; the part of Helen Mar was, however, successfully given, and if a few rather glaring faults of pronunciation are excepted, the performance was deserving of high credit.

"The music, however, was execrable; and in the absence of the band, it would have been better to have left the orchestra untenanted, than to have annoyed the ears and nerves of the audience with such inharmonious sounds."

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Page 18.)


September 20, 1860: "Among our various amusements, theatricals seem to hold a favourite place, and we have to notice no less than five new pieces in our present number. On Monday, the 20th September, the BAND performed two plays, respectively entitled, Time Tries All, or The Bashful Lover and The Dead Shot (Buckstone). The former being a drama in two acts; and the latter, a farce in one act." Cast for Time Tries All: J. M'Kechnie (Mr Leeson), F. Girton (Matthew Bates), W. Dansie (Hon. Augustus Collander Yawn), J. Mann (Charles Clinton), T. Paterson (John), J. Grennan (Laura Leeson), A. Vogado (Fanny Fact).

Cast for The Dead Shot: W. Dansie (Mr Hector Timid), W. Allan (Mr Wiseman), J. M'Kechnie (Captain Cannon), J. F. Gay (Frederick Thornton), T. Paterson (Williams, his friend), J. Mann (First Police Officer), T. Manion (Second police Officer), J. Davies (Louisa Lovetrick), J. Durney (Chatter, her maid).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The performance was not so creditable as hitherto, in consequence of several of the actors having failed to learn their parts. M'Kechnie, Girton, and Grennan were awkwardly deficient; and their carelessness certainly deprived the play of the praise, which it would, in all probability, otherwise have won. The singing between the pieces was almost tiresome, from the large number of songs given, though we must confess that M'Kechnie elicited roars of laughter from the audience, by the inimitable manner in which he sang "Lord Lovell," and "Solomon Lob." The farce did much to make up for the lameness of the other piece, and it seemed to afford considerable amusement. All the characters were very fairly sustained."

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 3. Grahamstown, November 1st, 1860. Pages 29 - 30.)


October 8, 1860: The Officers made their first performance in Sheridan's five-act comedy The Rivals which was "put on stage with much care and taste. New scenery was painted for the occasion, and the costumes were appropriate, and, with one or two trifling exceptions, exceedingly well got up." Cast: Captain G. C. Bartholomew (Captain Absolute), Captain G. E. Bulger (Faulkland), Captain H. R. Vigors (Sir Anthony Absolute), Lieutenant C. P. Fitzgibbon (Sir Lucias O'Trigger), Lieutenant R. Annesley (Bob Acres), Lieutenant C. H. Newbatt (Fag), Lieutenant J. Craig (David), Lieutenant H. T. Snooke (Coachman), Lieutenant C. A. Armstrong (Mrs Malaprop), Ensign A. Fraser (Lydia Languish), Lance Corporal J. Davies (Julia Melville), Corporal G. Brown (Lucy), and Private J. Durney (Julia's maid). Stage Manager: Lieutenant J. Craig, Prompter: Sergeant-major T. H. Smith, Attendants: Drummers D. Egan and R. M. M'Sweeny (dressed as pages.)

After the Regimental Band had performed the overture to Rossini's opera of Guillaume Tell, the Sergeants staged Mark Lemon's one-act farce, The Camp at Chobham. (To read about the camp at Chobham follow this link: https://collection.nam.ac.uk/detail.php?acc=1999-09-39-1) Special backdrops were painted for the play "Sunset on the Chenaub River near Wuzeerabad, Punjaub, India," from an original sketch by Captain H. Henderson "The Marine Parade" by Captain H. Henderson, "King's Mead Fields" by Captain J. E. Whaite, and "Mrs Malaprop's Lodging" by Private F. Beikempe. Cast: Sergeant-major T. H. Smith (Captain Damer), Corporal G. Brown (Captain Rossly), Sergeant J. Lydon (Mr Cadbury), Sergeant T. Coughlin (First Sapper), Sergeant J. Chester (Second Sapper), Sergeant J. Murray (Jones), Sergeant H. Davies (Rooster), and Lance Corporal J. Davies (Fanny).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Every praise is due to the managers, not only for their selection of a piece so well adapted to amateurs, but for the excellent cast of characters. The performers were most thoroughly suited to their parts, which were well given throughout. The three leading characters - those of Mrs Malaprop, Bob Acres, and Sir Anthony Absolute, - on which the success of the play mainly depends, were most ably sustained by Mr Armstrong, Mr Annesley, and Captain Vigors; but were all equally good, it is needless to particularize. We may, however, just hint to Miss Lydia Languish, that a little more softening of her voice, and a trifle less show of stocking, would be "very becoming to a young woman." The scenery was, on the whole, very good; and although the drop-scene, painted by Captain Henderson, - might seem rather too bright to one unacquainted with tropical landscapes, yet to those who have witnessed the glorious colouring so common in Eastern scenery, it would not appear exaggerated. In conclusion, we can only express our hope that the future efforts of the Corps Dramatique will be crowned with as great, and as well-deserved success, as this, their first appearance on any stage."

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 3. Grahamstown, November 1st, 1860. Pages 30 - 31.)


October 12, 1860: There was a repeat performance of The Rivals and The Camp at Chobham with the same cast. The Regimental Band, however, played Auber's opera Masaniello before the play.


October 15, 1860: The Sergeants of the Regiment performed William Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth. Cast: Sergeant T. Murnane (Duncan, King of Scotland), Corporal G. Brown (Malcolm, his son), Drummer J. Murray (Donaldbain, his son), Sergeant-major T. H. Smith (Macbeth, General in the King's Army), Private A. M'Laughlin (Banquo, General in the King's Army), Sergeant J. Lydon (Macduff), Sergeant F. Edwards (Lennox), Sergeant J. Chester (Rosse), Sergeant J. Roberts (Monteith), Sergeant J. Murray (Caithness), Drummer J. Murray (Fleance, son to Banquo), Sergeant H. Davies (Siward, Earl of Northumberland, General of the English Forces), Lance Corporal J. Davies (Young Siward, his son), Sergeant T. Coughlin (Seyton, an officer attending on Macbeth), Corporal T. M'Kay (First Murderer), Sergeant J. Murray (Second Murderer), Sergeant J. Hanrahan (Doctor), Corporal T. M'Kay (Wounded Soldiers), Sergeant T. Coughlin (Porter), Lance Corporal J. Davies (Lady Macbeth), Sergeant J. Quinn (Gentlewoman attending on Lady Macbeth), Sergeant H. Davies (Hecate), Lance Corporal J. Davies (First Witch), Sergeant J. Quinn (Second Witch), Corporal G. Brown (Third Witch).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "We have before, in our theatrical notices, alluded to the unwise selection of pieces for representation by our Corps Dramatique; but the present attempt has over-shadowed all previous efforts in difficulty. The magnificent tragedy of Macbeth is perhaps, with the single exception of A Midsummer Night's Dream, of all Shakespeare's plays, the one which requires the most stage room, and the most scenic effect, while its performance demands the utmost talent to do it justice. We confess to an enthusiastic admiration for the grand and glorious dramas of the immortal Shakespeare, and therefore, we can sympathise with the feeling that prompted the energetic manager of the Sergeants Dramatic Club, to attempt the representation of this great tragedy: but, fond as we are of the unrivalled productions of our own peculiar Bard, we should prefer never hearing his majestic language, and never witnessing his histrionic masterpieces, to beholding the characters supported as they were, on the occasion of which we write. But there are several honourable exceptions to this sweeping denunciation, and the same justice, which calls forth the foregoing remarks upon the play in general, requires from us a more definite critique upon the efforts of individuals. The character of Macbeth was well sustained, and our severest criticism is compelled to treat it with a gentle hand. The part of Lady Macbeth was really played with a depth of feeling that we were unprepared for, and, whilst we congratulate the performer, we express ourselves much pleased, and, gratified: we would, however, observe, that the last three acts were not so successful as the others; doubtless if the character had been more carefully studied, the performance would have been equal throughout. Our inimitable "Mr Cadbury" is not suited to a tragic part: we cannot find fault with his performance, which did him credit, but his face, upon the stage, is decidedly comic, and when we behold him as Macduff, the conviction forced itself upon our mind, that it was only the "retired tallow-chandler" in disguise. With a little care, the Sergeant who personated Lennox, would play well: we recognised him, in his second appearance, as the apparition of a Bloody Child, in the pit of Acheron, and we award him our highest praise for his effective delivery of the prophetic advice o Macbeth. The wounded soldier, the robbers, and the porter, call for a modicum of praise; as also Donaldbain, but here we must stop, and consign the remainder to the tender mercies of the outraged shade of Shakespeare.

"And now, let us sum up the evidence, and close our remarks with the praise which is due to the performers for their trouble and energy, in getting up so heavy a play, and putting it on the boards so well. But with a cramped and diminutive stage, - a total absence of machinery, and every possible difficulty in their way, they accomplished their task with credit. While we condemn the acting, we do not do so with the intention or desire of hurting the feelings of any of those concerned; and we firmly believe that their failure was not caused by want of care or attention, - but simply, by the difficulties of the piece, which are, indeed, almost overwhelming. Most of those whose performance we find fault with, had never played before, and it was not within the range of probability that they could succeed in Macbeth."

Mark Lemon's one-act farce, The Camp at Chobham, which had been performed the previous week, was once again performed after Macbeth.


October 29, 1860: Macbeth was repeated but a different farce, My Son Diana was staged afterwards. Cast: Sergeant J. Lydon, (Mr Caraway Culpepper), Sergeant-major T. H. Smith (Mr Septimus Smith), Sergeant F. Edwards (John, a servant), Lance Corporal J. Davies (Diana, Culpepper's daughter), Corporal G. Brown (Louisa, Culpepper's niece).

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 3. Grahamstown, November 1st, 1860. Pages 31 - 32.)


November 26, 1860: The Amateurs of the Band repeated The Review, or The Wags of Windsor and The Wandering Minstrel. The also staged a new play by an unnamed author, The British Volunteers. Cast: W. Dansie (Mr Percival Floff), J. M'Kechnie (Mr Sydney Jubkins), T. Brooker (Alfred Charles Mutton, a policeman), W. Allan (Pad), M. Rafferty (Mrs Percival Floff), J. F. Gay (Mrs Sydney Jubkins), J. Durney (Mary).


Christmas 1860: The entertainment commenced with a pantomime entitled The Rivals, an Historical, Melodramatical, Balletical, Burlesque, Operatical Pantomime, in two acts, by (an unnamed) member of the Dramatic Club, 2nd Batt. 10th Regiment." Dramatis Personae: Private W. Dansie (Lord Westawiney, a very handsome man with a Roman nose, and very extensive whiskers), Sergeant J. Murray (Saulo-solo-darnell, an officious porter in the service of Lord Westawiney Province), Drummer Green (Poundspannum, an interesting sergeant in the service of Her Fairyannic Majesty), Private A. Vogado (Lionjumper, a jockey with a large hunting cap and most aspiring hopes), Private J. Dwyer (Ucumcucumlala, an ugly old Kaffir (sic) Chief), Sergeant A. Parrock (Asamasskuku, a fierce Hottentot fire-eater), Private F. J. Gay (Eastawoolly Province, a charming young lady with an elegant riding habit, and very noble sentiments), Private J. M'Kechnie (Margery Monitor, a monthly nurse, an ugly old woman, with very high heeled shoes and cold-blooded notions), Corporal T. Smith (Argusina, Margery's daughter, a pert young Cape Town lady with high notions, and promised bride to Lord Westawiney Province), Private J. Grennan (Queen of the Fairies, guardian to Eastawoolly Province).

The various Eastern Cape and Western Cape settings, such as the “Interior of a cave in the Amatolas”, the “Interior of a Castle in Albany,” “Algoa Bay,” and the “Interior of a Villa in Cape Town” suggest strongly that the play was written by someone in the Cape Colony. Unfortunately, the playwright is not named. After the play, the Ethiopean Serenaders executed some of the favourite songs and dances as performed by Christy's Minstrels. "The whole to conclude with

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 4, Christmas Supplement, 1860. Page 51.)

Performances in 1861

April 5, 11 & 19, 1861: The Officers of the Regiment opened their second play, Stirling Coyne's one-act farce, Urgent Private Affairs for the benefit of the Grahamstown public. "The amateurs of the 2nd 10th Regiment gave their second soiree dramatique on Friday last, and altho' but short notice was afforded, the theatre was tolerably filled. His Excellency the Lieut. Governor, under whose patronage the performance took place, was present; as were also most of the elite of Grahamstown.

"In the bills, some of the performers appeared under fictitious names, which are alluded to by our correspondent in his letter. So, for the enlightenment of our readers, we give the assumed as well as the real name in our copy of the cast of characters." (In curly brackets). - North Lincoln Sphinx. Cast: C. A. Armstrong Esq. (Mr Dentatus Dotts, dentist and loyal Hammersmith Volunteer), J. D. Power Esq. (Major Polkinghorne, of the same gallant corps), O. H. Strong Esq. (Bagshaw, a solicitor), Colour-Sergeant F. Edwards (Joe Jumballs, a confectioner's shopman), Miss Pauline Davies {Corporal J. Davies} (Mrs Dentatus Dotts), Miss Blanche de Moultrie (Mrs Polkinghorne), Miss Durney {Private J. Durney} (Sally Vokins).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The first production "was rather apropos as now every one almost is a volunteer. Mr Armstrong was capital as Dentatus Dotts; as was also Colour Sergeant F. Edwards as Joe Jumballs: we congratulate the latter on his very successful debut as a comic actor. Mr Power, as the gallant Major, looked very grand, and, altho' a little stiff on the stage, did very well for his first attempt. We would recommend Mr Strong to be a little more natural when acting; the stutter of Mr Bagshaw was carried rather too far; an actor should forget entirely his individuality and merge as much as possible into the character he assumes. But now for the ladies: Miss Pauline Davies, having already earned so many laurels (bouquets are scarce at the Cape), needs no further praise, but our astonishment was great, we must confess, when we recognised the pseudo prima donna singing a capital song amongst the Ethiopian Serenaders. Miss Blanche de Moultrie's first appearance was hailed with applause, and deservedly so; a little more "aplomb," and a little more freedom of action, would soon cause this debutante to become a favourite. Miss Durney, as Sally Vokins, was pleasing and looked her part."


This was followed by J. M. Morton's one-act farce, Don't Judge By Appearances. Cast: Captain G. E. Bulger (Major Pepper), A. Fraser Esq. (Frank Topham), Captain G. C. Bartholomew (John Plump, servant to Major Pepper), Miss Marian Ramsay {W. Malcolm} Esq. (Miss Diana Pepper, Major Pepper's niece), G. H. W. Tremenheere Esq. (Miss Angelina Pepper, Major Pepper's niece).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "This farce was not as laughable as farces generally are, but inimitable John Plump carried it off in great style. Captain G. C. Bartholomew was most successful in this character, and we seldom remember to have seen the part better acted. Captain G. E. Bulger and Mr A. Fraser, as Major Pepper and Frank Topham, did justice to their respective parts, and pleased the audience, and Miss Marian Ramsay debut was a decided success, for a prettier lassie one would scarce wish to see; her acting was natural and unaffected, and we anticipate a long series of triumphs in this young lady's histrionic career.


The third production for the evening was E. Yates and N. H. Harrington's one-act farce A Night at Notting Hill. Cast: Captain W. C. O'Shaughnessy (Policeman O'Mutton), Colour-Sergeant F. Edwards (Alderman Syllabub), Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (Private Tight Leathers of the Horse Guard), Miss Carteret {C. A. Armstrong Esq.} ((Mrs Chutney, the Alderman's housekeeper), W. Malcolm Esq, (Lizzy, the Alderman's housekeeper).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: The last play "was a regular screamer and made everyone's side ache. The acting was capital and the fun kept up till the last. Miss Carteret, or rather we should say the far-famed Mrs Malaprop, as usual, was loudly applauded; a better specimen of the genus "old lady" never appeared on the boards of a private theatre. When Miss Carteret appeared in a beautifully simple night attire, languishing reposing in the muscular arms of Private Tight Leathers, we defy the greatest misanthrope to have kept his countenance; and we would willingly ride seventy miles to see Mrs Chutney's face at the denouement of the piece. Colour Sergeant F. Edwards made a splendid Alderman and Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith acted his part uncommonly well; the extensive supper he devoured greatly amused and astonished the audience, who would scarcely believe that the victuals were real. Police! police! where is the police! here we are again, says Mr Merryman, or rather Captain W. C. O'Shaughnessy. Who could resist laughing at his melliflous brogue? The accent of the "ould counthry" (sic) seems to have been innate in the man, so naturally was it given.

"Altogether the piece was a great success; Miss Ramsay as a "soubrette" again winning the hearts of all. We were very much pleased with the Ethiopian Serenaders; they sang uncommonly well, and merited all the applause bestowed upon them. Perhaps if they said their jokes in a little plainer voice it would be better, but "practice makes perfect".

"We cannot end this short notice without complementing all the performers; for a heartier laugh or pleasanter evening we seldom remember to have spent."

(North Lincoln Sphinx Vol. 1, No 6. Grahamstown, April 25, 1861. Page 75.)


May 27, 1861: The evening's amusement opened with the recitation, in character, of Lord Macaulay's Lay of "Virginia," by Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith. This was not nearly so successful as it would have been, had the performer eschewed haste in his delivery: he spoke too rapidly.

The Sergeant's Dramatic Club performed Francis Talfourd's burlesque in two acts, Travestie of Macbeth; and John Dobbs. Cast for Travestie: Colour-Sergeant P. Fox (Duncan), Sergeant G. Brown (Malcolm), Dr J. Murray (Donaldbain), Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (Macbeth), Sergeant T. M'Kay (Banquo), Sergeant J. Lydon (Macduff), Sergeant G. E. Gill (Rosse), Private J. F. Gay (Lennox), Private W. Dansie (Family Physician), Corporal T. Smith (Family Porter), Corporal J. Davies (Lady Macbeth), Private J. Durney (Gentlewoman), Corporal J. Logan, Private W. Dansie and Private J. F. Gay (The Three Witches). Apparitions, Murderers, Messengers, and an army of 200,00 Men (more or less) who have been expressly engaged on this occasion, - with the Enemy.

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: Macbeth Travestie kept the audience in fits of laughter throughout. The characters, with one or two exceptions, were well sustained, and the piece, on the whole, was highly successful. Corporal J. Davies, Sergeant Major T. H. Smith and Sergeant J. Lydon, - who, by the way, was a far better personification of Macduff in this instance than in the original tragedy, - were the "Stars" of the cast, however, and deserve our highest praise.

The cast of John Dobbs: Corporal D. Johnson (Squire Fallowfield), Sergeant T. M'Kay (Major Frankman), Sergeant J. Lydon (Peter Paternoster), Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (John Dobbs), Private J. F. Gay (John), Corporal J. Davies (Mrs Chesterton), Private J. Durney (Lucy).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: John Dobbs went off rather lamely. Most of the actors were not up in their parts, and the cast of characters was scarcely a successful one; but in spite of these two faults, we were highly amused at the capital representation of Peter Paternoster, by Sergeant Lydon, who outshone himself on this occasion, and earned the winning plaudits of a delighted audience.

"The above performance was repeated on the 3rd instant, but with rather a different result than before. The Ethiopian Serenaders, this time were very successful; and "Villikens and his Dinah" - sung by Private W. Dansie - was loudly encored. The recitation of "Virginia," also, was a great improvement upon that of the previous week.

"Macbeth Travestie did not go off so well, owing, we apprehend, to (the) neglect of rehearsals, and the incapacity of the band, which, as usual, was not ready when required. The music throughout was very bad. John Dobbs was played with more confidence, than on the previous occasion, and went off more happily, though we still think the cast of characters was not a good one. We cannot understand why Squire Fallowfield should have spoken with an Irish brogue, which was evidently assumed, and without success, by the performer."


June 3, 1861: The Band of Amateurs performed The Irish Tutor once again as well as a scene from The Castle Spectre. Cast: J. Davies (Osmond), J. F. Gay (Saib), J. Mann (Hassan).

This was followed by a scene from The Indians of the Far West. Cast: J. F. Gay (Waconosta, Chief of the Mohicans) and J. Davies (Mardoc).


June 13 & 17, 1861: The performance commenced with the "Quarrel Scene," from Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar; the characters of Brutus and Cassius being represented by Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith and Sergeant J. Lydon. It went off very well; the part of Cassius being particularly well dispossessed of.

The Sergeants of the Regiment appeared in two new plays. Firstly: Sir Walter Scott's three-act, romantic drama, (adapted from the poem by Dibdin) The Lady of the Lake. Cast: Sergeant J. Lydon (James Fitzjames, the Knight of Snowdon), Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (Sir Rodney Vich-Alpine Dhu, an outlawed chieftain), Sergeant T. M'Kay (Earl Douglas, an exile), Sergeant G. Brown (Malcolm Graeme, in love with Ellen), Sergeant G. Gill (Brian, a fiend-like hermit, attached to Roderick), Corporal D. Johnson (Allan Bane, an old minstrel in the service of Douglas), Private W. Dansie (Red Murdoch, a treacherous guide), Colour Sergeant P. Fox (Malise, henchman to Roderick), Sergeant T. Coughlin (Norman, a bridegroom, herald to Roderick), Corporal J. Logan (Sandy, the bridesman), Corporal T. Smith (Old Donald), Private J. F. Gay (Lady Margaret, mother to Roderick), Corporal J. Davies (Blanche of Devon, a wandering maniac), Corporal J. Davies (Blanche of Devon, a wandering maniac) & (Ellen, the Lady of the Lake), Private J. Durney (Mattie, the bride).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: The Lady of the Lake "was certainly not successful, nor could the performers have hoped that it would be so, for there are few dramas which are more difficult to present effectively. Nevertheless, we candidly admit that it exceeded our expectations particularly in the scenic arrangement, which, considering the means at the disposal of the manager, was marvellously good. The characters of Ellen and Blanche of Devon, - both sustained by Corporal J. Davies, - were well represented."

The Ethiopian Serenaders made their appearance between the two plays, singing two or three songs.

The second play was W. Blanchard Jerrold's one-act farce, Cool as a Cucumber. Starring Sergeant J. Lydon (Old Barkins), Sergeant G. Gill (Frederick Barkins), Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (Plumper), Corporal J. Davies (Miss Jessie Honiton), Private J. Durney (Wiggins).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "It is, we think, at the best of times, a stupid piece, but Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith and Sergeant J. Lydon made the most of it. The part of Plumper, particularly, was well given."


September 9 & 12, 1861: The Officers of the Regiment produced their third production before the public of Grahamstown. They staged three farces, Crinoline (Brough), Only a Halfpenny, and Box and Cox (Morton).

The cast for Crinoline, set in London in 1856, included: Sergeant J. Lydon (Mr Coobiddy, a commercial gentleman in Manchester trade, aged 29), W. J. B. Martin Esq., (Captain Le Brown), R. Johnson Esq., (John Liptrot, also an officer of the Blues, aged 30), Sergeant T. M'Kay (Jacob Grimes, a representative of the Industrial Interests), W. Malcolm Esq., (Mrs Coobiddy, the commercial gent's wife, aged 23), Corporal J. Davies (Bella, the commercial gentleman's niece, aged 19), Captain C. A. Armstrong (Miss Tite, a fashionable spinster, aged ?), Captain C. A. Armstrong (Nancy Bitters, a domestic servant, with an excellent character from her last place, but not so well provided for her next, aged 37).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The performance commenced with Crinoline, a farce rather out of date, now that the article is an acknowledged portion of a lady's dress, and as necessary to her happiness as tea parties and flirtation. Mr W. Malcom, as the newly-married Mrs Coobiddy, who, having bought a horsehair what's-its-name, is dreadfully frightened lest her husband should discover it, was exceedingly successful and acted in a natural and unaffected manner. As we predicted some time ago, a little practice will change the debutante into the accomplished prima donna. Captain C. A. Armstrong sustained, with great eclat, the two parts of Miss Tite and Nancy Bitters, and as usual, acted to perfection. The last scene, when Nancy's dress is torn off in a scuffle, disclosing innumerable "perquisites," was capitally performed, and drew loud applause. Sergeant J. Lydon, as Mr Coobiddy, was indeed a hit, and the most severe critic, could hardly find fault with his acting: we have seldom seen a more comic expression and voice amongst amateur performers. Our old friend, Miss Pauline Davies, had to execute the arduous task of acting in all three farces, and it is needless to say, with perfect success. We have, on this occasion, to welcome two more candidates for public favour. Mr W. J. B. Martin trod the boards for the first time, in the rather ungrateful character of Captain Le Brown, and acquitted himself very well; indeed, we venture to say that he will make a capital jeune premier after a few more attempts. My R. Johnson also made his first appearance, as the policeman, John Liptrot, and we were highly pleased at the amount of humour he displayed in his short part. Amongst the comic actors of the club, he will, we are certain, soon occupy a prominent position. Sergeant T. M'Kay was very good, as the "infamous Grimes," and looked his part to a nicety; he also sang some comic songs. Altogether, Crinoline, although not a very telling farce, went off well, and seemed to satisfy the audience."

Cast for Only a Halfpenny: Captain G. E. Bulger (Mr Fitzroy Plantagenet), R. Annesley Esq. (Stanley Jones), W. Malcolm Esq. (Henrietta), Corporal J. Davies (Bridget).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Only a Halfpenny passed off uncommonly well; the audience appearing to be well pleased with the efforts made for their amusement. The part of Mr Fitzroy Plantagenet, was taken by Captain G. E. Bulger, who played very well, and with feeling; but we would advise him, on future occasions, not to turn away so much from the audience; and then, there will be no fault to find. Mr R. Annesley, as Stanley Jones, was (as he always is,) first rate; and his acting in the particular piece, does him the greatest credit. Miss Marian Ramsay (Mr W. Malcolm) looked her part of a bride, about to be led to the hymeneal altar, admirably; and, with a little more freedom of manner, would be all that could be desired. With regard to Bridget, the servant-maid, we need only say, that the performer acted with her usual skill."

Cast for Box and Cox: R. Annesley Esq. (Box), Sergeant J. Lydon (Cox), Corporal J. Davies (Mrs Bouncer).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Box and Cox, owing to the excellent performance of Mr R. Annesley and Sergeant J. Lydon, bore out its reputation of a mirth-provoking piece, uncommonly well; and although we have almost every word of the play by heart, from having seen it so many times, we must honestly admit that we enjoyed a hearty laugh at it, on Monday and Thursday last. Corporal J. Davies fulfilled his part of Mrs Bouncer very well."


October 14, 1861: The Amateurs of the Band again staged John Maddison Morton's one-act farce, Slasher and Crasher. Cast: J. M'Kechnie (Mr Benjamin Blowhard), W. Dansie (Mr Sampson Slasher), T. Brooker (Mr Christopher Crasher), W. Allan (Lieutenant Brown), B. Buckley (John), J. Davies (Miss Dinah Blowhard), and J. Durney (Ross).

The British Volunteers and The Irish Tutor were staged with "the cast as before."

In addition, William Barnes Rhodes's one-act burlesque tragic opera, Bombastes Furioso was also staged. The cast consisted of W. Dansie (Artaxominous, King of Utopia), J. M'Kechnie (Fusbos, Minister of State), J. Davies (General Bombastes), T. Smith (Distaffna).


November 4, 1861: The Amateurs of the Band again staged Thomas J. Lynch's two-act drama, The Rose of Ettrick Vale or The Bridal of the Borders for the benefit of the Grahamstown public. Cast: W. Dansie (Red Ronald, the River, alias the Stranger), T. Paterson (Old Adam of Teviot), J. Davies (Albert, his adopted son), J. Chesters (Glenbrae, a hunter of the highland border), J. F. Gay (Guy o' the Gap), J. M'Kechnie (Wandering Steenie, a mindless rower), W. Allan (Brand o' the Brae), J. Mann (Black Wylie), T. Manion (Murdoch), B. Sheeran (Fergus), (the latter three were Freebooters in the pay of Red Ronald.) B. Buckley (Officer), J. Grennan (Laurette, "The Rose of Ettrick Vale"), J. Durney (Jessie, sister and Bridesmaid to Laurette), T. Smith (Amy, Jessie's sister and Bridesmaid to Laurette).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The Rose of Ettrick Vale or The Bridal of the Borders "- beautiful and romantic drama, requiring good acting and good scenery - was decidedly beyond the capabilities of our amateurs; who are not good strong enough to cast such a heavy play successfully. J. M'Kechnie, J. Davies, and J. F. Gay, sustained their portions of the performance, with considerable merit throughout, and, in one or two scenes, their acting was really very good. It is a great pity that the eighth letter of the alphabet should be so volatile in Gay's delivery, for were it not so, he would soon learn to dispose of his characters very well."

The comic songs between the pieces were most excellent and our sides still ache at the remembrance of "Billy Crow." J. M'Kechnie always wins uproarious applause from the audience in these interludes."

This was followed by William Thomas Moncrieff's two-act farce, The Spectre Bridegroom, or A Ghost in Spite of Himself. Cast: W. Dansie (Mr Nicodemus), J. M'Kechnie (Squire Aldwinkle), J. Mann (Captain Vauntington), W. Allan (Dickory), J. F. Gay (Paul), J. Davies (Georgiana Alswinkle), J. Durney (Lavinia, Georgiana Alswinkle's cousin).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The Spectre Bridegroom, or A Ghost in Spite of Himself was very amusing, owing to the efforts of J. M'Kechnie and W. Allan who, through their conception of the characters allotted to them, was somewhat original, disposed of their parts in such a ludicrous manner as to keep the house in constant laughter."


December 25, 1861: The pantomimic ballet of Don Juan was staged by the Amateurs of the Band. Cast: Corporal J. Davies, (Don Juan), Drummer T. Smith (Don Giovanni), Private J. M'Kechnie (Scaramouch, the clown, servant to Jon Juan), Sergeant T. Coughlin (Pedro, a fisherman), Private T. Smith (Mariana, a fisherwoman), Drummer B. Buckley (Donna Anuella del Vargio).

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 10, Christmas Supplement, 1861.)


December 28 & 30, 1861: The Officers of the Regiment performed three one-act productions. The first one was Edward Stirling's one-act comic drama, A Lucky Hit (also wrongly referred to as The Lucky Hit) which is set in Versailles. Cast: W. Malcom Esq. (Duc D'Anjou, King of Spain), Captain G. E. Bulger (Baron de Ville Blanche, a courtier), S. F. Poole Esq (Chevalier de Castagnac, a poet), W. J. B. Martin Esq. (Raoul de Givery, an Officer of the Guard), R. Annesley Esq. (Captain Gascon La Tour, a disbanded officer), J. S. Brougham Esq. (1st Gentleman of the Court), J. C. Little Esq. (2nd Gentleman of the Court), Corporal J. Davies (Baroness de Ville Blanche).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The Lucky Hit is a little drama, which depends principally upon the good or bad performance of the character of Captain Gascon La Tour for its success or failure, as the remainder of the "persons represented,"play only minor parts in the affair. On the occasion of its performance by the Officers of the 10th Regt. Mr Annesley's excellent disposal of the part of the gasconading captain, together with the magnificent costumes, won for it a success which the intrinsic merits of the play scarcely deserved; and we - knowing the piece of old - were agreeably disappointed in the result."

The editor of the North Lincoln Sphinx published an extract from a letter written by "Diogenes" which refers to The Lucky Hit:

"The writer first assures us that he is 'sour as a crabapple,' having been 'kicked and snubbed, and dragged, by his tenderest nerves through life,' - and in fact, he leads us to draw the inevitable conclusion that he is a cranky old man who treasures up 'the bitter spirit of a revengeful love,' for her, who robbed him of his happiness, and caused him to enshroud himself in an atmosphere of such acerbity, that he cannot speak but 'to hiss curses at mankind.' Next, he goes on to say that, although he hates acting of all description, he patronises the Drama with his purse; and that in the common course of events, he sits out the first act of every wretched play that is produced at the wretched Theatre of Grahamstown. Then comes the critique, which we quote verbatim:"

"The last trial to my patience was an unusually stupid piece, called The Lucky Hit, and why The Lucky Hit, - I know not, unless 'twas, on account of the entire absence of Luck, and not a single Hit from the beginning to the end of it. The Gasconading of le Capitaine Gascon, was the only racy matter connected with it. - 'Tis a pity that costumes so well got up and tinselled, should be consigned to the deep recesses of a property chest after so brief an existence. I would strongly recommend the Chevalier to try the dodge (excuse slang) of Demosthenes, - before he appears in public again. Monsieur le Baron ought to study Hamlet's address to the players. The Baroness should try and forget the attic accent, and pity the poor aspirates. That young icicle, the pseudo King of Spain, should try and shorten his sword or lengthen his legs, - and throw a little more nerve into his lovemaking. The others I assign to the tender mercies of some Lord Chamberlain, who perhaps can explain whether it is right, or otherwise, to remain covered in the presence of Royalty. To step back or forward, when leaving the presence, and something touching the manner of saluting."

The second production for the evenings was J. M. Morton's one-act comedy, Dying for Love which is set in Abergavenny. Cast: Sergeant J. Lydon (Doctor Mangle), Captain H. R. Vigours (Captain Fickleton), R. Annesley Esq. (Harry Thornton), W. Malcolm (Mrs Mangle), Corporal J. Davies (Mrs Lorimer), Drummer B. Buckley (Jenny).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Dying for Love went off very successfully; all the performers disposing of their parts so satisfactorily as to win the applause of the audience, - which, by the way, as usual, in Grahamstown, was very thin. Sergeant J. Lyndon and Mr R. Annesley were delightfully amusing; and Captain H. R. Vigors, whose excellent performance of Sir Anthony Absolute in The Rivals last year, was no doubt remembered, received a warm greeting when he appeared upon the stage. Miss Marian Ramsay (Mr W. Malcolm) is steadily improving in her acting, and Miss Pauline Davies (Corporal J. Davies) always sustain her well-merited reputation."

The third production was Edward Morton's one-act farce, The Eton Boy, which is set in Winchester. Cast: Captain H. R. Vigors (Colonel Curry), A. Fraser Esq. (Captain Popham), Sergeant J. Lydon (Mr Dabster), W. Malcolm Esq. (Fanny, the Colonel's daughter), Corporal J. Davies (Sally, her servant).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The Eton Boy closed the performance, and proved a very laughable farce. The acting throughout was good, and Mr W. Malcolm deserves great praise for the natural and unaffected manner in which he performed a part, most difficult and trying even to a professional actress. Mr A. Fraser as Captain Popham, had a very telling part, and made the most of it; he certainly looked a "stunning" lady-love for Mr Dabster, who could scarcely be blamed for his rather ungallant intimation that 'he'd rather marry a prize-fighter.' Sergeant J. Lydon (Mr Dabster) fully bore out his reputation of a capital 'premier comique' and we again congratulate him on his style of performance, - rendered doubly attractive by the entire absence of over-acting, a fault of which is of very frequent occurrence. Captain H. R. Vigors was in his element as Colonel Curry, and made a hit of his short part. His 'get-up' was excellent and caused much amusement. Sally (Corporal J. Davies) looked the beau ideal of a smart soubrette, and really acted well. Altogether, we were much pleased with The Eton Boy, and recommend it's being kept in the repertoire, for further use."

Performances in 1862

January 20, 1862; The Officers of the Regiment repeated their programme of December 28 together with a new farce written by Lieutenant R. Annesley entitled Two Years In Paris. Cast: Lietenant R. Annesley (Mr Octavius Slink), Sergeant J. Lydon (Mr Triptolemus Smith), R. Johnson Esq. (Pat), Corporal J. Davies (Selina Diana Montgomery).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Two Years In Paris proved a most successful little piece, - its only fault being brevity, - and the characters were admirably cast. We shall not soon forget Mr R. Johnson's inimitable performance of the part of Pat. The house was well filled, and the actors, throughout, disposed of their work, in consequence, with much more life and feeling, than on the previous occasions. Nothing damps the spirit of actors more than a thin house and a stupid audience, but this time, the efforts of our Corps Dramatique were warmly responded to. The casts of the three first pieces were the same as those already published in a previous number, excepting that the character of Jenny, in Dying For Love, "was sustained on this occasion by Mr G. P. Townsend.


January 27, 1862: J. R. Planche's one-act serio-comic, bombastic, operatic interlude, Amoroso, King of Little Britain was staged by the Non-commissioned Officers. Cast: Corporal J. Davies (Amoroso, King of Little Britain), Sergeant J. Lydon (Rosatando, his cook), Sergeant T. M'Kay (Blusterbus, yeoman of the Guard), Sergeant T. Coughlin (1st Lord of the Bed-Chamber), Sergeant J. Hughes (2nd Lord of the Bed-Chamber), Private J. M'Kechnie (Coquetinda), Drummer T. Smith (Mollidusta).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Amoroso was well cast and afforded the audience immense delight throughout. Sergeant T. Coughlin dancing was good, but the songs were rather tiresome; J. M'Kechnie, as usual, disposed of his share uncommonly well, but the others were scarcely successful. We recall having heard Corporal J. Davies sing Nelly Gray exceedingly well some time ago and we rather looked forward to hearing it again, but on this occasion, we were much disappointed." (Listen to "Nelly Gray" at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4iW4_mkyv8)

The second production of the evening was Scene II, Act III from William Shakespeare's Othello. Cast: T. H. Smith Esq. (Othello), Sergeant J. Lydon (Iago), Sergeant T. M'Kay (Cassio), Corporal J. Davies (Deademona), Private J. M'Kechnie (Emilia).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The scene from Othello was well played, but we fear that those persons who occupied the back seats, heard very little of it, as neither Mr T. H. Smith nor Corporal J. Davies spoke loud enough."


February 17, 1862: The Amateurs of the Band performed J. M. Morton's one-act farce, Poor Pillicoddy. Cast W. Dansie (Mr Pillicoddy), W. Allan (Captain O'Skuttle), M. Rafferty (Mrs Pillicoddy), T. Smith (Mrs O'Skuttle), J. Durnsey (Sarah Blunt).

This was followed by a scene from Otway's tragedy, Venice Preserved. Cast: J. F. Gay (Jaffier), W. Allan (Pierre).

At the conclusion of this scene The Omnibus, or A Convenient Distance (Pocock or Power) was performed. Cast: J. M'Kechnie (Mr Ledger), J. Chesters (Mr Dobbs), J. F. Gay (Master Tommy Dobbs), W. Dansie (Pat Rooney), G. Dawe (Farrier's Boy), J. Durney (Julia Ledger), M. Rafferty (Mrs Dobbs), B. Buckley (Miss Damper), A. Robinson (Miss Jemima Damper).


The North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot arrived at their new posting at Keiskama Hoek on April 29, 1862.


May 28, 1862: The regiment staged their productions in the Garrison Theatre, Keiskama Hoek.

The first was announced as Amorosa, or King of Little Britain, "A Serio-comic, Bombastic, Operatic Interlude, in one act" by J.R. Planché. The performance starred J. Davies (Amoroso, King of Little Britain), J. F. Gay (Roastando, his cook), T. Paterson (Blusterbus, his cook), B. Sheeran (1st Lord of the Bed-chamber), J. M'Kechnie (Coquetinda), and F. Girton (Mollidusta). After the performance, a comic song was sung by J. M'Kechnie.

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, Supplementary Number, Keiskama Hoek, August 12, 1862. Page 240.)

This was followed by a farce in one act, The Omnibus or A Convenient Distance by R. J. Raymond, starring J. M'Kechnie (Mr Ledger), F. Girton (Mr Dobbs), J. F. Gay (Master T Dobbs), W. Dansie (Pat Rooney), G. Dawe (Farrier's Boy), J. Durney (Julia Ledger), J. Davies (Mrs Dobbs), B. Buckley (Jemima Damper).

During the following interval J. M. M'Kechnie and J. Davies sang a comic duet.

This was then followed by Richard Butler's The Irish Tutor, starring J. M'Kechnie (Mr Tillwell), F. Girton (Charley, his son), J. F. Gay (Dr Flail, a schoolmaster), W. Dansie (Terry o'Rourke as Dr. O'Toole), T. Paterson (Beadle), B. Sheeran (A countryman), J. Davies (Rosa, in love with Charley), and J. Durney (Mary, her maid).

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, Supplementary Number, Keiskama Hoek, August 12, 1862. Page 240.)

The Irish Tutor was repeated on June 3, 1862, with the same cast.

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The performance was, on the whole, very successful, and the actors had the satisfaction of playing to a full house, which was a novelty in their South African experiences. The little Garrison Theatre was crowded to excess by people from the village, and the officers and men of the Regiment, all of who appeared much pleased with the efforts made for their amusement. M'Kechnie's acting and singing was, as usual, excellent, and Gay's ludicrous personification of Master T. Dobbs in the second piece kept the house in a continued roar of laughter. Corporal Davies is too well known to our readers to require any notice at our hands. Dansie made a famous "Pat Rooney" in The Omnibus, and an equally good "Terry O'Rourke" in The Irish Tutor, and Daw disposed of his short part of the "Farrier's Boy" in The Omnibus so well, that we would suggest a higher position for him in the next cast of characters." -The North Lincoln Sphinx regimental periodical.

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, Supplementary Number, Keiskama Hoek, August 12, 1862. Page 240.)


June 3, 1862: The Band of Amateurs produced a scene from Castle Spectre. Cast: J. Davies (Osmond), J. F. Gay (Saib), J. Mann (Hassan).

This was followed by a scene from The Indians of the Far-West. Cast: J. F. Gay (Waconosta, Chief of the Mohicans), J. Davies (Mardoc) and Bombastes Furioso the latter being repeated on June 27, 1862.


June 5, 1862: The Amateurs of the Band produced the following three productions: The Spectre Bridegroom, or A Ghost in Spite of Himself, a comedy in two acts, featuring F. Girton (Mr Nicodemus), J. M'Kechnie (Squire Aldwinkle), J. F. Gay (Dickery, his man), J. Mann (Captain Vanntington), W. Dansie (Paul), T. Paterson (Thomas, a servant), J. Davies (Georgiana Aldwinkle), J. Durney (Lavinia, her cousin).

This was followed by a “laughable interlude,” production, Poses-De-Vaux starring J. M'Kechnie (M. Trimulus Tomkins), J. Davies (Miss Polly Hopkins), J. Durney (Sophia, her maid).

Afterwards, a third production, a farce in one act Slasher and Crasher, was performed. Starring: J. M'Kechnie (Benjamin Blowhard), W. Dansie (Mr Sampson Slasher), J. Davies (Mr Christopher Crasher), J. F. Gay (Lieutenant Brown), J. Grimley (Policeman), B. Sheeran (Policeman), T. Paterson (John, a servant), T. Smith (Miss Dinah Blowhard) and J. Durney (Miss Ross, her niece).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The entire performance went off remarkably well, the short delays between the pieces being very much more agreeable than those lengthy, wearisome intervals, which have been generally characteristic of the arrangements at our theatre. M'Kechnie's acting throughout was capital, more particularly in the character of Squire Aldwinkle in The Spectre Bridegroom and Gay, Dansie and Davies maintained their reputation admirably. The latter disposes of female characters particularly well and really makes a very "bonnie lassie". He sang "Nelly Gray" with a good deal of feeling, but accompaniments and a respectable chorus were sadly wanting. To our mind the best piece of the evening was the Interlude, so far as the performance went, both Davis and M'Kechnie having sustained their parts to perfection."

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, Supplementary Number, Keiskama Hoek, August 12, 1862. Page 240.)

June 19, 1862: The Band Amateurs produced Charles Selby's Robert Macaire, or The Two Murderers of Lyons. Starring T. Smith (Germeuil, a wealthy farmer), T. Paterson (Dument, an inn-keeper), W. Dansie (Robert Macaire, under the assumed name of Bertrand), J. M'Kechnie (Jacques Strop), F. Girton (Charles), J. F. Gay (Pierre, head waiter), J. Mann (Sergeant Loupy), J. Grimley (Louis), B. Sheeran (Francoise), J. Davies (Marie), J. Durney (Clementine).

This production was followed by George Wood's one-act farce, The Irish Doctor, or The Dumb Lady Cured from Moliere's Le Médecin malgré lui. Starring: J. M'Kechnie (Sir Ralph Credulous), J. F. Gay (Walter Lovewell), F. Girton (Dr Fiantie), W. Dansie (Denis Murphy, a broom-maker), T. Paterson (Squire Robert), B. Sheeran (Dick), F. Doherty (Simon, servant to Sir Ralph), T. Manion (Dick, servant to Sir Ralph), J. Davies (Laura Credulous), J. Durney (Peggy, her maid), T. Smith (Bridget, wife of Denis).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Several of the actors were deficient in the remembrance of their parts on this occasion, and there appeared to be a superabundance of h3 (sic) on the move. Had it not been for the efforts of M'Kechnie, Davies, Gay and Dansie, both pieces would have been complete failures. The acting of all the others was decidedly lame. We recommend more rehearsals, a better cast, and a prohibition of all unnecessary h3 (sic)."


July 21, 1862: The Band Amateurs produced H. R. Addison's sketch from life, Locked in with a Lady. Cast: J. F. Gay (Peter Follet), J. Davies (Mary Markam), W. Dansie (A Voice), J. M'Kechnie (Several cats).

This was followed by a scene from Disraeli's tragedy of Alarcos. Cast: J. Davies (Alarcos), J. Mann (Oran, a Moor), F. Doherty (Soldier), J. M'Kechnie (Lord).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "In the tragic scene from Alarcos J. Davies played admirably, and even J. Mann acted much better than usual.

The evening closed after J. M. Morton's one-act farce, The Irish Tiger was staged. Cast: J. F. Gay (Sir Charles Lavender), J. M'Kechnie (Alderman Marrowfat), F. Girton (Mr Bilberry), W. Dansie (Paddy Ryan, The Irish Tiger), F. Doherty (John), B. Buckley (Miss Julia Marrowfat), J. Davies (Nancy).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The Irish Tiger was particularly successful - all the pieces having been disposed of very satisfactorily. F. Girton's personification of the part of Mr Bilberry far outshone all his previous efforts, and J. M'Kechnie, and J. Davies, as usual, performed well and earned much applause."


August 30, September 11 & 19, 1862: The Officers of the Garrison appeared on the boards of the Keiskama Hoek theatre to perform three pieces, Mrs Moodie's beautiful tale, the three-act drama,The Royal Quixote, an original drama arranged by members of the Dramatic Club of the Regiment. Cast: Captain G. E. Bulger (Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden), Captain C. Hudson (Prince George of Brandenburgh), C. H. Newbatt Esq. (Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburgh), G. P. Townsend Esq. (Prince Bernard of Brandenburgh), J. S. Brougham Esq. (Prince Otho of Mecklenburgh), E. Saunder Esq. (Oxenstiern, Chancellor of Sweden), T. H. Smith Esq. (Theodore Zuski), Private G. Dawe (Eric, Page to Gustavus Adolphus), Lance-Corporal W. Allan (Demetrius, servant to Theodore Zuski), Miss Pauline Davies {Private J. Davies} (Princess Sophia of Mecklenburgh), Miss Frances Hastings {A. H. Handley,} Esq. (Princess Maria Eleonora of Brandenburgh), Mademiselle Claudine Saint-Germain {Drummer J. Murray} (Countess Aurora).

This was followed by Thomas J. Williams' one-act farce, The Ugly Customer. Cast: T. J. Tucker Esq,. (Mr Simon Coobiddy, a retired grocer), R. Johnson Esq. (Captain Coriolanos Snapdragon), E. Saunders Esq. (Alfred Weston), A. H. Handley, Esq. (Sophia Coobiddy), Private J. Davies (Mary, a servant-maid).

The final play of the evening was John Maddison Morton's one-act farce, Don't Judge by Appearances. Cast: Captain G. E. Bulger (Major Pepper), J. S. Brougham Esq. (Frank Topham), R. Johnson Esq. (John Plump, servant to Major Pepper), A. H. Handley, Esq. (Diana Pepper, Major Pepper's niece), Private J. Davies (Angelina Pepper, Major Pepper's niece).

Letter by "Nemo" to the North Lincoln Sphinx: "On the morning of the 29th August last, some beautifully-printed 'play-bills' announced to the public of Keiskama Hoek that 'the Officers of the Garrison,' - under the patronage of Major H. W. P. Welman, commanding the 2nd Battalion 10th Regiment, - would give a dramatic performance on the following night; and, without loss of time, we secured a ticket. The programme promised an original Drama in three acts, entitled The Royal Quixote, which, it was notified, - had been adapted to the stage from a tale by Mrs Moodie, by the Dramatic Club of the 10th Regiment, to be followed by the well-known farce of The Ugly Customer and another piece of similar character, entitled Don't Judge by Appearances. The first of the three, being new, and purporting to be an episode in the life of the celebrated Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, was to us, we confess, the most attractive, and we made a point of being early at our place. We sat out the whole performance, however, and were so much pleased, that we subsequently provided ourselves with a ticket for our third representation on the 19th September. Perhaps, as the The Royal Quixote is not generally known, a resume of the events of the piece will not be out of place, and afterwards we can deal with the actors.

"On the whole the play was well represented, and the managers and performers have reason to congratulate themselves. When one takes into consideration the dilapidated state of the buildings, the deficiency of space, and the many other disadvantages, which the Corps Dramatique had to contend against, the results were really surprising. The dresses were magnificent, though perhaps not quite historically or nationally correct, and the scenery was remarkably good. On the first evening there was a deficiency of light, and neither the scenery nor dresses appeared to fullest advantage: this, however, was quite remedied at the last performance. The character of the heroic King of Sweden was sustained by Captain G. E. Bulger successfully, for, though there may have been a deficiency of 'action,' still the performer's utterance was good, and he 'spoke' his part as if he felt it."


September 24, 1862: The Amateurs of the Band performed George Dibdin Pitt's two-act melo-drama, The Eddystone Elf.

Cast: F. Girton (Mark Traverson, a retired merchant), J. M'Kechnie (Richard Clifton, his son-in-law), T. Paterson (Captain Brilliant, agent for Government), W. Allan (Metrical Mat, his coxswain), J. F. Gay (Peter Partlet, host of the Ram Inn), W. Dansie (The Elf of the Eddystone), J. Mann (Harry Grapnell, a sailor), J. Durney (Jerry Jowel, a Plymouth-Sound Boy), J. Grimley (Servant), J. Davies (Lucy Clifton, daughter to Mark Traverson).

At the conclusion of this melo-drama, J. M'Kechnie sang some comic songs.

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The performance of the melo-drama was tolerably successful, though once or twice the actors seemed to be deficient in the remembrance of their parts. J. F. Gay's personification of Peter Partlet was most excellent and elicited rapturous applause. J. Davies, as usual, acquitted himself to the satisfaction of the audience; and J. M'Kechnie sang the Ballad of the Black Flag with much success. W. Allan, as the metrical coxswain, looked and played his part well: his 'get up' was excellent."

The evening concluded with Slasher and Crasher. Cast: As before.

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "Slasher and Crasher was not, to our mind, so good as the first piece: however, it seemed to amuse the audience, and thus the object of the actors was accomplished. We cannot help congratulating the String Band on their music, to which we listened with unfeigned pleasure."


September 29, 1862: The above-mentioned plays were repeated, with the addition of an interlude prepared especially for this occasion by Lance-Corporal W. Allan. It was entitled Fitzosbert's Dream. Cast: J. Davies (Lionel Fitzosbert), W. Allan (Oscar Fitzosbert), J. Griffin (Arthur, his son), A. Jameson and J. Grennan (two ghosts).

(North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 14, Keiskama Hoek, December 10, 1862, page 270.)


October 8, 1862: The Amateurs of the Band repeated The Eddystone Elf and Slasher and Crasher with the addition of [[H. Danvers}' one-act interlude, The Conjugal Lesson. Cast: F. Girton (Mr Simon Lullaby), J. Davies (Mrs Letitia Lullaby).


October 18, 1862: The Amateurs of the Band performed Edward Ball's two-act melo-drama, The Floating Beacon or Norwegian Wreckers. Cast: F. Girton (Angerstoff, Captain of the Beacon), J. F. Gay (Maurico, his companion), T. Paterson (Ormoloff, his companion), T. Smith (Weignstadt, a fisherman), J. M'Kechnie (Frederick, a supposed orphan), W. Allan (Jack Junk, a British sailor), J. Davies (Mariette, woman of the Beacon), P. Mulrennan (Christine, Weignstadt's daughter).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The acting of some of the dramatic company, as usual, made the (The Floating Beacon or Norwegian Wreckers) pieces presentable - the farce especially - but the greater number of those concerned appeared rather uncomfortable in their assumed characters. We congratulate Miss Mulrennan upon her appearance if not upon her acting: a little more care in dressing, and rather more life and action will render her a 'charming' addition to the Troupe. Miss Pauline Davies ranted rather too much in her performance of Mariette, a fault, by the way, which that young lady is rather partial to; and it is surprising that Jack Junk did not wear out the particular portion of the stage which he selected for his 'deck exercise:' he must have been very tired when the thing was all over, from the immense amount of walking which he got through. The old fisherman apparently did not know his part, as he did not act it, and all his energies seemed to have been devoted to remembering what he had next to say. J. F. Gay does not shine as a 'melo-dramatic ruffian,' and the 'supposed orphan' looked very like a fish out of water. The fact is that J. F. Gay and J. M'Kechnie are both excellent comic actors, and they should never attempt any other branch of the drama"

The entertainment concluded with the singing of several songs and J. Stirling Coyne's farce entitled Wanted, 1000 Spirited Young Milliners for the Gold Diggings! Cast: J. M'Kechnie Mr Singleton, a solicitor), W. Allan (Joe Baggs, his clerk), J. F. Gay (Tom Tipton, a medical student at Guy's), J. Davies (Selina Smith), P. Mulrennan (Sophy Stokes), ******** (Charlotte Simpson), J. Newnham (Caroline Jones), ******** (Bella Brown), ******** (Jemima Jukes), T. Smith (Angelica Todd).


November 12, 1862: The Amateurs of the Band performed John Baldwin Buckstone's two-act domestic melo-drama, Luke the Labourer. The play is set in a village in Yorkshire. Cast: J. Davies (Squire Chase, Lord of the manor), F. Girton (Wakefield, a decayed farmer), W. Carr (Charles Maydew, a young farmer), W. Allan (Luke the Labourer), J. M'Kechnie (Philip, a sailor), J. F. Gay (Bobby Trot, a country lad), H. Moore (Michael, an old gipsy), A. Vogado (Dick, a postilion), G. Strachan (Thomas, landlord of the King's Head), T. Smith (Dame Wakefield), G. Dawe (Clara, her daughter), J. Newnham (Jenny, a country girl).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "The first piece was the celebrated melo-drama of Luke The Labourer, in which W. Allan took the leading character with tolerable success. On the whole the play was very fairly cast, and the scenery remarkably good. J. F. Gay, as usual, acted capitally, and J. Newnham made an excellent Jenny: he disposed of this character so naturally, that he won the loud applause of the audience. Our young friend G. Dawe looks very well, but he does not act enough: he should vary his voice occasionally and endeavour to play as if he was really the person he represents. H. Moore, as the old gypsy, acquitted himself famously: his enunciation was clear and distinct, and his acting very good: we congratulate him on his debut. W. Carr did very well for his first time, but he ought to be careful of his hs."

November, Saturday 15, 1862: These plays were repeated, we understand, but with indifferent success. The following letter upon the subject has been forwarded to us, and we gladly publish it, for although severe, its criticism is just, and our amateurs need to be reminded that carelessness in getting up their parts is unpardonable, and a neglect of details exceedingly prejudicial to the success of their efforts. If they acted less often, and bestowed more time and attention upon their work, we feel assured that the results would be highly satisfactory.

Critique by A Voice From the Back Seats published in the North Lincoln Sphinx: "It will be admitted that the sensation one experiences when partaking of an entertainment where the viands provided are in the highest degree insipid, is not of a very pleasurable kind, and it was with some such feeling that I witnessed the performance of our Band of Amateurs on the 15th inst. The Melo-Drama of Luke The Labourer may, - as announced in the bills, - be of a very domestic character, but, by the manner in which it was brought forward on Saturday evening, few will affirm that it was attractive, or that they were enabled to discover the precise plot of the play. Apart from the scenic decorations, and the music of the String Band, there was nothing whatever in the evening's performance either good, or even indifferent. With one or two exceptions, the actors were most lamentably deficient in their parts, whilst the whole performance was characterised by a reckless negligence and indifference to effect, very uncomplimentary to the audience, and which, I think, cannot be too severely censured.

"Without any desire to underrate the endeavours of the corps dramatique to cater for our amusement, I would venture to remind them, that actors are expected to be well up in their parts when they appear before an audience, - that such expressions as 'you was' and 'I were' etc. fall very gratingly upon the ear, - that it is not at all necessary to pronounce the pronoun 'I' as if it was spelled with an h aspirate - that even the attractive ballads of 'Lord Lovel' and 'Billy Crowe,' though rendered with all the pantomimic expression of a J. M'Kechnie, become 'flat, stale, and unprofitable,' by too frequent repetition; and finally, that previous performances having led us to expect an improvement in the style of the entertainments which they provide, this can only be attained by bestowing more care and attention in their preparation."

Comic and sentimental songs were sung by J. M'Kechnie and H. Moore. J. M'Kechnie's songs were excellent, as they always are, and the music was very tolerable.

This was followed by J. M. Maddox's one-act farce, A. S. S.. Cast: J. Davies (Mr Diogenes Hunter), J. F. Gay (Anthony Sniggles), W. Allan (Adolphus), T. Smith (Mrs Hunter), J. Newnham (Sophia).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: "A. S. S. we considered rather stupid. J. Davies does not shine in male characters: he ranted a good deal, and J. Newnham was not so successful on the part of Sophia as in that of Jenny. He looked too much on the ground, and spoke too fast, however, with a little care and attention he will make a good actor."


November 26, 1862: The Band of Amateurs performed I. Pocock's famous melo-drama The Miller and His Men. Cast: J. Johnson Cape Mounted Riflemen (Count Frederic Friberg), J. Davies (Lothair, a young peasant), W. Carr (Kelmar, an old cottager), J. F. Gay (Karl, servant of Count Frederic), W. Allan (Grindoff, the miller), H. Moore (Riber, a robber), T. Mills (Golotz]] (a robber). G. Dawe (Claudine, Kelmar's daughter), J. Newnham (Ravina), ***** (Laurette).

The second show of the evening was F. Kenny's capital old two-act farce, The Illustrious Stranger. Cast: J. Diamond Cape Mounted Riflemen (Aboulifar, King of the Island), W. Carr (Azan), P. Mulrennan (Alioajon ?), J. Davies (Gimbo), J. M'Kechnie (Benjamin Bowbell), W. Allan (Showemin, the usher), A. Vogado (High Priest), P. Nelson Cape Mounted Riflemen. (Irza), ***** (Fatima).

Critique by North Lincoln Sphinx: Both performances "went off with considerable eclat. The scenery of the former piece was excellent, and it reflected great credit upon the managers, as also did the costumes and general 'get-up' of the farce. The character of Grindoff the bandit-miller, in the melo-drama, was sustained by W. Allan very fairly, though we could not help observing his neglect of his hs which was more apparent on this occasion than at any previous time. W. Carr impersonated Kelmar the old cottager exceedingly well: a little more attention to his hs and he will prove an ornament to the Corps Dramatique, for he always gets his part off carefully and does not require the assistance of the prompter. J. Davies as Lothair, a young peasant, acted with less rant than usually characterizes his masculine performances, and consequently with much more success. Miss Newnham {J. Newnham} was rather too boisterous for a representative of the 'gentler sex;' however, with a little care, this fault will be remedied.

"In the farce the part of The Illustrious Stranger was most admirably sustained by J. M'Kechnie, in which he was fairly supported by J. Davies as Gimbo - the mummy-maker. We are sorry we cannot say the same for the representative of Aboulifar (J. Diamond of the Cape Mounted Riflemen) - whose memory was sadly deficient."


November 29, 1862: The Band repeated this performance with the same cast of characters, excepting that the character of Aboulifar in the latter piece was sustained by J. Johnson of the Cape Mounted Riflemen instead of J. Diamond.

Sources

The North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, is a 300 page, bound volume, containing a collection of newsletters, mainly recording the social activities, of the 10th North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot and was printed while the Regiment was stationed on the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony (now the Eastern Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa) between 1860 and 1862.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 1. January 1, 1860.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 2. September 15, 1860.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 3. November 1, 1860.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 4. Christmas, 1860.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 5. February 28, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 6. April 25, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 7. June 13, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 8. September 30, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 9. November 13, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 10. Christmas Supplement, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 11. January 28, 1862.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 12. Febuary 28, 1862.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 13, July 23, 1862. (Keiskama Hoek)

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, Supplementary Number, Keiskama Hoek, August 12, 1862.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 14. December 10th 1862.

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