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By Frederick Burwick

Among the arrival of the French Revolution and the short-lived good fortune of the Chartist move, overworked and underpaid labourers struggled to accomplish team spirit and collective bargaining. That background has been advised in different bills of the age, yet by no means ahead of has it been instructed by way of the theatre of the interval. to appreciate the play lists of a theatre, it is vital to ascertain the neighborhood which that theatre serves. within the labouring-class groups of London and the provinces, the performances have been tailored to fit the neighborhood audiences, even if weavers, or miners, or box employees. analyzing the stipulations and features of consultant provincial theatres from the 1790s to 1830s, Frederick Burwick argues that the that means of a play alterations with each switch within the functionality position. As contributing elements in that vary, Burwick attends to neighborhood political and cultural situations in addition to to theatrical actions and advancements in other places.

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Foote has woven together two plots. The first involves the hen-pecked Jerry Sneak and his domineering wife, who does little to conceal the affair that she conducts with Major Sturgeon. The second action concerns the electioneering, which takes up most of Act ii. Crispin Heel-Tap reviews the candidates: Timothy Goose, the tailor; Matthew Mug, a victualler at the sign of Adam and Eve; Peter Primmer, the schoolmaster. Mug canvasses for votes, and holds a speech on his candidacy. The characters and dialogue in the electioneering were susceptible to alteration to suit current or local political circumstances.

28 British Drama of the Industrial Revolution One of the consequences of the Licensing Act was an unprecedented experimentation with dramatic form, and the playwrights as well as stage managers made a game of the combinatory possibilities. One such mix was William Thomas Moncrieff’s satire on the trial of Queen Caroline. Calling it a ‘Comic, Operatic, Melo-Dramatic Pantomimic Moral Satirical Gally-maufrical Salmagundical Olla Podridical Extravaganza Bizarro Entertainment’, Moncrieff ’s Giovanni in the Country; or, The Rake Husband (Coburg, 15 August 1820) opened ‘after some unavoidable delays, favourable to Plunderers’, with Mrs Henry Siddons in the role of the rake.

They were so pleased with their roles that they soon revived the production (22, 23, 24 April 1812; BL Playbills 310). The meaning of the play was skewed so that Elliston and Russell dominated the stage as Major Sturgeon, the flamboyant adulterer, and Jerry Sneak, the helpless cuckold. The play no longer focused on Mrs Sneak’s henpecking, nor on the electioneering. The Major’s seduction of Mrs Sneak was merely the ground for the Major’s flaunting his sexual triumph and taunting Sneak as an impotent rival.

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