THE PRIMROSE LEAGUE ENTERTAINMENT.
The Amateur Dramatic Entertainment given by the Primrose League at their
annual meeting on Thursday last seems to demand something more than the
usual passing notice, partly because it is a new departure for the League
and partly because of the social position of the actors.
The Chairman (MR. BAIN) explained that as the meeting was the annual one of
the League, it was necessary that the formal business of appointing the
Ruling Councillor and other officials should be gone through, and this was
accomplished with the least possible delay. There was no speech-making and
no address, as has usually been the case, and no statement of the position
of the League.
It is open to question whether this is the best course to pursue, having
regard to the interests of the cause. No doubt entertainments, concerts,
dramatic performances, and pleasant gatherings are powerful weapons of the
cause, and when they can be made the means of bringing together a good
audience to listen to a good practical address sandwiched between the
performances, they are quite justifiable, but if this is omitted there seems
to be some danger of the League going to pieces.
It is essentially a fostering and educating medium, and if it loses this
quality it will have outlived the reason for its existence and cease to be,
as it has been, a useful adjunct to the Conservative cause.
The meeting, in my opinion, would have been more successful and certainly
more enjoyable if there had been only two performances and a good political
speech in between them. As a rule, a little of amateur theatricals goes a
long way, and a whole night devoted thereto is rather apt to pall on those
who are not the personal friends of the performers, and there can be no
doubt that in this case the performance was too long, although taken as a
whole it was far above the general run.
In criticising the actors, praise must be given and fault also recorded, but
it is to be understood that any fault-finding is not conceived in the
captious or hostile spirit. Wholesale praise does a great deal of harm,
especially when speaking of educated and intelligent performers. They
either resent it or take no notice of such criticism.
Those who seek to understand their parts and present them skilfully, will,
as a rule be thankful for honest but not ungracious criticism, and this is
supplied in another column at the hands of a valued friend and