Programme from the London Season of the Compton Comedy Company.
Repertoire over the six weeks included:
Malvolio ("Twelfth Night").
"Being in Manchester last week, I went to see
'Twelfth Night,' the principal attraction of the Compton Comedy Company's
repertoire ........... I own I was not prepared for the artistic all-round
acting which I witnessed. I was quite prepared, however, for the perfect
portrait of Malvolio by the young manager himself, whom I long have regarded as
one of our most promising comedians." -
London Figaro, March 30th, 1881.
"As Malvolio, the 'prince of eccentrics,' Mr. Edward
Compton carved for himself a name in the United States, when he played the
character to the Viola of the late gifted Miss Neilson, which will be engraved
lastingly on the minds of those who witnessed the performance last evening."
North British Daily Mail, March 1st, 1881.
"Mr. Compton's conception of the character of
Malvolio follows, to our mind, with great fidelity the Shakespearian idea -
admirably given in every detail, worked out with scrupulous exactness, and in
some places with no little subtlety, and coloured throughout with a most
artistic hand." -
Irish Times, April 5th, 1881.
"Mr. Edward Compton's Malvolio is a great
Newcastle Daily Chronicle, December 5th, 1882.
Jack Rover ("Wild Oats").
"Nature has adapted Mr. Edward Compton for the part;
he has a pleasing voice, a graceful figure, and easy, gentlemanly manners. On
Saturday he played with a sustained airiness and flow of spirit, which reminded
us of the best Charles Surfaces we have seen upon the stage, and this is saying
a very great deal. He ranged over the gamut of his 'preludes, interludes, and
alludes,' comedy, tragedy, and tragi-comedy without ever seeming to feel the
limits of his power, and in the scene after the blow from Sir George Thunder,
when in his heroic denunciation, he nearly brained his lady love with a chair,
and dropped from the height of tragic fury to 'I beg your pardon,' the audience
was in doubt whether to applaud the declamation, or laugh at the exquisite
The Manchester Guardian, December 12th, 1881.
"For ease, dash, humour, and unflagging vivacity, a
finer bit of comedy acting has never been seen." -
Birmingham Daily Gazette, May 16th, 1882.
Dr. Pangloss ("The Heir At Law").
"An entertainment such as for all-round completeness
is rarely exceeded, even in London itself." -
London Daily News, April 25th, 1881.
"Mr. Edward Compton, a veritable 'chip of the old
block,' has, true to prophecy, made a distinguished success in the Provinces,
particularly in Malvolio, to which performance the able and intellectual
critics of 'The Scotsman,' the Manchester 'Courier,' 'Guardian,' and 'Examiner
and Times,' devoted columns of keen and searching analysis. Such things never
occur except the object is worthy, and out of the ordinary course of theatrical
features. Lucky, indeed, the actor or actress who come under the critical
camera of the gentlemen who write provincial dramatic criticism, which, though
not more honest than that found elsewhere, is, as a rule, more subtle and
The Theatre, May, 1881.
"The great charm of the performance was its perfect
Glasgow News, March 1st, 1881.
"We have little hesitation in saying that what Mr.
Irving has accomplished for tragedy, Mr. Edward Compton, young as he is, bids
fair to do for high comedy. Gifted with a fine, even a striking figure, with a
voice of great power, and capable of the expression of emotions the most
opposite, with eyes that sparkle with animation and gaiety, and anon glow with
passion or melt in tenderness, with a mobile mouth that lends an added charm to
mimicry and possessing a carriage as graceful and easy as it is self-possessed,
Mr. Compton is an actor born." -
Northern Pioneer, September 16th, 1882.
Bob Acres ("The Rivals").
"A more original or more happily conceived
impersonation we have rarely seen." -
Belfast News Letter, February 23rd, 1883.
"Mr. Compton played with irresistible drollness." -
Leeds Daily News, October 31st, 1883.
Mawworm ("The Hypocrite").
"Of 'The Hypocrite' which followed, it is not too
much to say that to our mind it is the best piece of caricature Mr. Compton (as
Mawworm) has done; and it carried his audience with him at every word, and
absolutely rivetted their attention to himself. In the delivery of the oration
from behind the screen, he certainly surpassed himself, producing quite an
electrifying effect." -
Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, April 22nd, 1881.
Charles Surface ("The School For Scandal").
"A more congenial personator of the fascinating,
careless youth of the period - the warm-hearted but reckless spendthrift -
could not be desired."
Scarborough Gazette, August 30th, 1883.
Dromio of Syracuse ("The Comedy of Errors").
"Recalls the pleasantest memories of the days of the
best of all Shakespearian clowns, whilst it heralds in the son no servile
copyist, but a worthy and long vainly looked for successor." -
North British Daily Mail, February 13th, 1883.
"A light-footed, light-hearted knave, now the
companion of his master, and now the butt of his master's tongue. This Dromio
was one of the most humourous and entertaining of stage figures." -
Glasgow Evening Citizen, February 13th, 1883.
"The acting of Mr Compton was full of humour - in
short, he played in such a manner as should convince a critical audience that
he amply understood not only the spirit of Shakespeare, but the spirit of the
present age." -
Belfast News Letter, February 29th, 1883.