April 1869: ‘New Edition’ of “Rob Roy” at the Royal Colosseum Theatre

From page five of The Glasgow Herald, Monday the 12th of April, 1869:




On Saturday night there was produced at the Colosseum Theatre what the playbill describes as a ‘new edition’ of the national drama of ‘Rob Roy.’  There was a very large audience on the occasion – the spacious theatre being in all parts densely crowded. The version of ‘Rob Roy’ commonly placed on the stage now-a-days, as perhaps the curious in such matters already know, was written by Mr. Pocock, author of ‘The Miller and his Men,’ and was originally  brought out at Covent Garden in 1818. There have, however, been half a dozen or more adaptations of Sir Walter Scott’s favourite novel brought before the public; but, with the exception of Mr. Pocock’s rendering, in which the story is pretty closely adhered to, and the leading situations are skilfully introduced, these dramatic productions have long been forgotten. The author of the version for the first time produced at the Colosseum on Saturday evening, while introducing the principal incidents as well as Scott’s dialogue employed in the familiar adaptation, has altered several of the minor scenes, without, as we think, improving them. In one case he has made a greater venture. It may be remembered that in the drama as commonly produced Rob Roy joins his clan while they are bewailing his capture and supposed death, and relates to his followers the manner of his escape. The author of this new version appears to think that Rob’s escape should not be confined to mere recital, and accordingly he interrupts the action at this point, and introduces a scene showing how the outlaw summarily parted company with his captors. This incident is, however, clumsily managed, and on the whole we are inclined to regard the alteration as a mistake. What appears to us the great, perhaps the only, merit of this new version is that it elevates the part of Andrew Fairservice into well-merited importance. We have always thought that Andrew was unduly subordinated, and it will probably be generally admitted that the character has now been made an exceedingly enjoyable one, without being thrust into too great prominence.”



George Fairfull-Smith, April 2020.