Saturday, February 2nd 1889, Dundee Advertiser.

 

McGONAGALL AT THE CIRCUS,

HEAVY ATTACK ON THE POET

 

Last night McGonagall, the city ‘poet,’ made his second appearance this week at the Nethergate Circus, to demonstrate “How Macbeth should be played.”

 

The building was packed. McGonagall had no sooner been announced than those sitting in the vicinity of the stage withdrew to a safe distance, knowing full well that if they remained in these seats a share of the “offerings” meant for the gallant Mac might come their way and make things unpleasant.

 

Striding on to the stage, McGonagall commenced his performance, but his stay was of the briefest description. From all parts of the house, as soon as he emerged from the curtain, came a fierce fusillade of rotten eggs, decayed oranges, old bread, bones, sticks, and tin cans – the latter greatly predominating – and the “poet” who had previously informed the press reporters that he would not stay a moment after the first missile was thrown, kept his word.

 

He did not escape, however, without one or two hits, although fortunately none of the tin cans or larger projectiles found their mark.

 

On disappearing his return was loudly demanded, and for some time the scene inside the circus was a most animated one.

 

Baron Zeigler, lessee of the building, attempted to restore order, but for a few minutes his efforts were in vain.

 

At last, however he obtained a hearing, and announced he would not be fired at. This announcement was received with cheers, and cries of “Gie the man a chance.”

 

To ensure the safety of the “poet,” the proprietor said he would go on the boards along with Mac, who once more stalked on to the stage, and again met with a great ovation.

 

Bearing in his hand what purported to be the message from his ill-fated army, Macbeth tore it into shreds in what appeared to be a whirlwind of passion; then, with extended arms, he scanned the roof of the building, declaiming wildly all the while.

 

The audience for a moment or two listened with a profound silence which to ordinary mortals would have seemed ominous of evil, but not so to the “tragedian.” On he went in his harangue, and a deafening cheer rose from the pit, gallery, and boxes.

 

Thus encouraged Mac held bravely on his way, treading the stage with tragic strides and waving his arms in furious style. But now a stray “shot” from the gallery heralded the approaching storm.

 

A terrific outburst from the “poet” and the climax was reached. Immediately a shower of ancient eggs, tin cans, potatoes, bags of soot, bags of flour, and packages of mysterious compounds flew from all parts towards the devoted head of the “poet.”

 

“Macbeth cowered before the blast, then fled.

 

A tremendous shout was raised, and before the last notes had died away McGonagall, brandishing his glittering sword, rushed upon the stage. Before a sound could be uttered by him another hurricane of missiles more overpowering than the one before, descended.

 

“Macbeth’s” courage, although no doubt “screwed to the sticking point,” wavered; the “tragedian” gasped, turned, and, struggling through the thickening downpour, rushed from the stage.

 

The gallery yelled with delight, but gradually the shouts of triumph gave place to enthusiastic cheering, the audience being evidently intent on again luring the “tragedian” from his hiding place. This, however, was not to be. McGonagall had tasted in a very literal sense the “sweets” of popularity, and was not drawn.

 

After the audience had nearly shouted themselves hoarse, the band struck up the national anthem, and the vast crowd had disappeared, the “poet” was seen stealthily leaving the scene of his triumph, and with cautious steps hieing towards his garden of the muses in Paton’s Lane.