The San Francisco Call,
San Francisco, California
Tuesday, January 10, 1899

Mayo the Second With a Star Cold.

Edwin Mayo opened a week's engagement at the California Theater last night in Frank Mayo's dramatization of "Pudd'nhead Wilson," and the son of his father was handicapped by one of the worst cases of cold that ever appeared on any stage. Even so he proved himself to be an actor of many valuable resources, and what he couldn't do was largely made up for by Miss Ada Dwyer, who gave a thrilling interpretation of the slave woman, Roxey [sic]. If any one was a star last night it was Miss Dwyer, whose performance was really remarkable, especially so in the fact that we San Franciscans have twice seen Eleanor Moretti in the part, each time admitting that her work in it was nothing short of masterly. Miss Dwyer's conception of Roxey--and I understand that she created the role in the original production--is nearly one with that of Miss Moretti's; perhaps a trifle less tempestuous and spell-binding in the melodramatic passages, but more subtle, more racially convincing in the quieter episodes of the play, and a strong consistent character throughout. A more extensive comparison would entail feats of memory which I admit myself incapable of performing. I confess that Miss Moretti's deep, gurgling voice was simply intoxicating in this part, and that Miss Dwyer's while it is certainly adequate enough in the ordinary circumstances of the theater, does hardly warrant praise of such vivid hue. But you will remember that this vocal specialty of Miss Moretti's, so admirable in "Pudd'nhead Wilson," clung to her afterward in other plays with anything but artistic results. However, comparison is a hard matter in an instance like this where two actresses play the same part with almost a same identity. And as for compliments to Miss Dwyer, none could be more grateful and sincere than Miss Moretti's imitation.

Edwin Mayo's Pudd'nhead is, as a matter of course, patterned after his father's and recalls that famous impersonator in many ways; but even allowing for the unfortunate absence of his voice--doubtless a tribute to our tardy winter--it is only fair to say that no serious comparison need be drawn between the two impersonations. Mayo the second invests the part with the same manner, the same appearance and something of the same homely magnetism; but he does not go much beyond the external characteristics; he gets neither real pith nor pathos out of the contrasting moods in the big scenes; and at times, especially in that big scene at the close of the third act, where Pudd'nhead is in despair about the mixed thumb marks, he reminds you of the obvious artificiality of Denman Thompson and James A. Hearne. However, the play, which is too well known to need discussion now, is one that will survive an uninspired actor in the principal part. We found that out when Hamilton played it with the Frawleys. "Pudd'nhead Wilson" is essentially a play of manners and atmosphere, and demands a well trained ensemble, which it gets at the hands of the present good company. Miss Maribel Seymour is a trifle stilted in the part of Rowey [sic], but the most of the characters are well cared for, especially that of Tom Driscoll, which is still played with delightful boyish freedom by Frank Campeau.

The Dramatic Mirror,
New York, New York
January 28, 1899


The feature of the week was the revival of Pudd'nhead Wilson at the California. Theatre-goers were curious to see what Edwin Mayo would make of the character in which his father shone so brightly. Mayo the younger resembles his father not a little, and his conception of the character of old Pudd'nhead was cast from that of the original, but it was not the same. Edwin Mayo was more vigorous, more forceful, but he was not the gentle, long suffering, sublime example of intellectual patience that was represented by Frank Mayo. Had the father not been seen, the son might have heard nothing but praise, for his interpretation of the character was studied and clever. He was well supported. Ada Dwyer made a passionate and stirring Roxy. Maribel Seymour was a sweet Rowey. Frank Campeau was acceptable as Tom Driscoll. W. R. McKey shone as the country sheriff.