“Last evening, a large sized audience was present at the second representation of “Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp” at Mechanics’ Hall.”
After a series of dramatic days following the incident at Queen and George streets on January 3rd, Wednesday January 12 editions of the local press were much less heated
The major item was the arrival of the elaborate stage production of Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp in Hamilton. The previous evening the debut of the theatrical extravaganza took place at the Mechanics’ Hall.
The Spectator’s review was very descriptive and positive :
“Last evening, a large sized audience was present at the second representation of “Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp” at Mechanics’ Hall. There was a great improvement in many features of the play last night, and the audience manifested their satisfaction by frequent bursts of applause. From beginning to end, the play ran very smoothly. The sprightly Miss Maggie Wood as Aladdin is quite a favourite. Mr. Belville Ryan as Kuarace was as usual very good, as was also Miss Glassford, who makes a very pretty “Genie of the Ring.” Miss Dollie Bidwell was unfortunately was unfortunately too unwell last evening to appear in her accustomed role of the Princess, but the part did not suffer much in the hands of Miss LeBrun, who, although having a few hours’ notice, played it very successfully. The wonderful exhibitions of Mr. Harry Gurr, the “man fish,” who seems to be really an amphibious animal, won for him the most enthusiastic applause. The effects produced by the calcium light were gorgeously beautiful. Probably a more magnificent sight was never witnessed on a Hamilton stage than the march of the Amazons. As these, clad in shining coats of mail perform their various movements on the stage, the different colored rays thrown upon them by the powerful calcium light produce effects which are extremely beautiful The “Cave of Jewels,” and the “Transformation Scene” at the close are also splendid. This evening, “Aladdin” will be repeated. On Friday night, “Leah” will be played by the company as a complimentary benefit to the enterprising proprietor Mr. J. H. McKinley. The energy and perseverance shown by Mr. McKinley in furnishing such excellent entertainments to the theatre-gong public, should secure a large turnout at the benefit.”
An afternoon matinee performance was staged the day after the debut, primarily for the enjoyment of children.
The Hamilton of 1876 was very much a cosmopolitan city in which a wide variety of cultures mixed together. The Scots presence was strong not the only culture in Hamilton but it certainly was one of the most dominant and colourful as evidenced by the Spectator coverage of the following evening at the home of prominent local citizen, Adam Brown :
“Last evening, the Caledonian Society met at their hall on James street, and headed by the pipes and the new band playing beautiful Scottish airs, marched to the handsome residence of Mr. Adam Brown, their honoured Chief, who received them in his house and treated them in his usual well known hospitable manner. After the inner man had been refreshed, two hours were pleasantly spent in Scotch songs to Scottish music on the pipes. The band played several appropriate airs, and at midnight the company reluctantly drank the parting cup with their host and marched back to their hall, where they dispersed.”