BY LAWRENCE HUTTON.
“So cunning and so young is wonderful.”
— Richard III., ACT III., Scene I.
Of all the children who have appeared upon the stage during the past twenty years, Bijou Heron unquestionably was the brightest and most promising. In face refined, intelligent and attractive, in voice pleasant and sympathetic, in figure neat, graceful and petite even for her years, she has all of the personal requirements of the success in the profession, combined with careful training, quick comprehension, tact, intelligence and love for her art. As the only child, and as the hope and idol of a once popular actress, whose popularity is so comparatively a recent date that she has not passed out of the memory of the theatre-goers of her daughter’s time, she was kindly and affectionately received in New York for Matilda Heron’s sake, even before she had made for herself, and by her own exertions, so many friends here.
[Her dèbut] was probably one of the most thoroughly successful [. . .] witnessed here. Aside from the shyness and constraint so natural to the debutante, and without which no actor ever stepped for the first time before a critical public, she bore herself naturally, simply, and with charming grace. The part is long and difficult, not one of the commonplace, childish rôles intrusted usually to infant players, nor one of the high tragedy star rôles sometimes inflicted upon juvenile prodigies, but a bit of leading juvenile business requiring more than the ordinary intelligence and skill upon the part of its representative. Many actresses who have been years upon the stage, and who are considered beyond the average in their playing, would have played it with less appreciation and success. The first line she uttered, in her clear, distinct, enunciation, established decidedly her popularity with the house. She was enthusiastically applauded, and honored with a recall in the middle of her first scene—a genuine, spontaneous recall, prompted by the hearty approval of the enormous and delighted audience. Her acting brought tears into many eyes and at the close of the play her utterance of three simple words displayed a something which, if it was not genius, was very like it. As the climax is reached, and she is to make her choice between the people who have befriended her [. . .] her cry [. . .] were almost electric, and the curtain went down upon a new and accepted popular idol. The whole army of professional critics were unanimous in their praise of her.
The favorable impression she made as Adrienne in “Monsieur Alphonso” also sustained in other parts. Even as Oliver Twist, that wretched little prig who is barely endurable in the novel, and always insufferable on the stage, she was very pleasing, despite the wearing of the jacket and trousers so trying to all actresses, and the general hybrid character of the rôle. She made a hit in the “Fast Family” at Daly’s in September, 1874, and no other stages has met with universal success during her short career; but the history of Bijou Heron as an actress is yet to be written.
Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, 4/1886: 439 (PP. 9-10 within PDF). Print.