February 1908: “Merely Mary Ann”, at the Athenaeum – Miss Agnes Bartholomew in a “More Ambitious Project than the Conventional Recital”

An article on page thirteen of The Glasgow Herald, on Thursday the 6th of February, 1908, reads:




As an entertainer Miss Agnes Bartholomew is making progress. Already well and favourably known

as an elocutionist, she is now before the public in a more ambitious venture than the conventional

recital. As a rule, amateur dramatic combinations confine themselves to what is more or less

hackneyed, but this clever young artist is enterprising enough to present a comparatively fresh

piece. Mr Zangwill’s comedy, ‘Merely Mary Ann,’ has been staged in Glasgow, but if we mistake not

nearly three years have elapsed since it was seen for the first if not the only time in the city, so that

it may be new to many interested in this form of art. At all events, the hall of the Athenaeum held a

gratifyingly large audience last evening, when Miss Bartholomew gave the first of two performances

of the comedy. ‘Merely Mary Ann’ is suffused with sentiment which at times assumes a somewhat

sickly hue, but it is relieved by characteristically clever passages. Chief interest centres in the two

principal characters, Mary Ann, a drudge in a South-London lodging-house, and Lancelot, a

struggling composer with whom she falls in love. Fortune smiles upon both, and before the fall of

the curtain their worldly positions are greatly improved. As the heroine, Miss Agnes Bartholomew

was remarkably successful. She presented a faithful picture of the ignorant, simple, trusting girl,

and was equally at home as the polished lady of the last act, in which her gifts as an elocutionist were

developed to full advantage. The hero was sympathetically presented by Mr E. C. McRoberts. Numerous

amusing incidental characters, all well drawn, were portrayed by, among others, Miss Helen

Bartholomew, Miss Polly White, Mr William Ure, Mr N. L. Macpherson, and Mr A. Howie. The

performance will be repeated this evening.”


George Fairfull-Smith, November 2022.