Dramatist and actor; born in 1800; died at Montreal March 18, 1856. He was originally trained for the musical profession, but decided to become an actor. After a provincial tour he appeared in 1833 at Drury Lane Theater, London, where he scored a success in Douglas Jerrold's play, "The Schoolfellows." He afterward performed in "Capers and Coronets." His first composition was "Monsieur Jacques," a musical play which met with great success in 1837 at the St. James's Theater. In this he played the title-rôle and, as a result, obtained considerable vogue as a delineator of French characters. His next appearance was at the Princess' Theater, where his portrayal of the "Old Guard" attracted great attention. He then joined the editorial staff of the "Morning Post" and the "Era," and was the musical critic of the latter paper for about seven years. In September, 1854, he determined to go to America and gave a series of farewell performances at the Adelphi Theater. His tour was not successful, its failure being due to Barnett's illness which ended in his death.
After the success of "Monsieur Jacques," Barnett composed several dramatic productions. These were chiefly comedies, and included: "The Serious Family," an adaptation from "Le Mari à la Campagne";"Lilian Gervais," a drama in three acts, adapted from the French play, "Marie Simon"; "Married and Unmarried," a drama; "The Bold Dragoons," a comic opera; "Mrs. G. of the Golden Pippin," an operetta; and "Circumstantial Evidence," a comedy.
- The Era, April 13, 1856;
- Modern Eng. Biog. i. 174;
- Illust. London News, xxv. 305 (1854);
- Gent. Mag. (n. s.) xlv. 541.