Bombastes Furioso

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Bombastes Furioso is a musical play in one act by William Barnes Rhodes (1772-1826)[1]. In some instances one finds him credited as "Thomas Barnes Rhodes".

Also found as Bombastes Furioso, or The King of Utopia

The original text

Subtitled "A Burlesque Tragic Opera", it was written in 1810, first authorized printed edition published in 1822. A drama with comic songs, that satirizes the bombastic style of other tragedies that were in fashion at the time, and based in part on the influential Italian epic poem Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto (1516). The play was very popular throughout the 19th century.

Performed at Covent Garden in 1830.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1818: First performed in South Africa as an afterpiece to John Bull, or an Englishman's Fireside (Colman) by the Gentlemen Amateurs, in association with Mr Cooke and his company of performers from the Theatre Royal, Liverpool in the African Theatre in Cape Town, on Saturday, 28th March 1818, four years before its publication.

1823: Performed as an afterpiece to The Rivals (Sheridan), by the Amateur Company of the Garrison, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 28 June;

1823: Performed again, now as an afterpiece to She Stoops to Conquer (Goldsmith), by the Amateur Company of the Garrison, in the African Theatre, Cape Town 16 July.

1827: Performed as an afterpiece to She Stoops to Conquer by the Amateur Company of the Garrison, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 5 September. This was a benefit performance for Mrs Black and Mrs Johnson.

1832: Performed as Bombastes Furioso, or The King of Utopia (Rhodes) on 9 June by All the World's a Stage in the Cape Town Theatre (i.e. the African Theatre), with The Married Bachelor, or Master and Man (O'Callaghan) as afterpieces to The Maid and the Magpie, or Who's the Thief!!! (Pocock).

1834: Performed as Bombastes Furioso in Cape Town's Garrison Theatre by the "Private Theatricals by the officers of the Garrison" (see the Garrison Players) on 11 July 1834, alongside The Haunted Inn, or How to Lay a Ghost (Peake) and Katherine and Petruchio (Shakespeare).

1837: Performed in Grahamstown in this year by the Grahamstown Amateur Company, performing under the motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense, and in a small venue was apparently "got up" by individuals referred to in the prologue as Rathbone, I'Ons and Turvey, who presumably also participated in the performances. Was played as afterpiece to The Rivals (Sheridan).

1838: It was apparently performed again in Grahamstown in this year by the Grahamstown Amateur Company, performing under the motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (Though there is some difference of opinion between F.C.L. Bosman and P.W. Laidler on whether it was not perhaps a performance in Cape Town - see Bosman, 1928: pp. 388-9).

1853: Performed in the Garrison Theatre by the Officers of the Garrison on Wednesday 14 September, with The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried (Millingen and Kenney) and Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell? (Coyne). Actors included R.A. Pasley, Captain Hall and Captain Fisher.

1858: Performed as Bombastes Furioso! by the Cape Town Dramatic Club (and "several amateur gentlemen") in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, on 7 October, with Nothing Venture, Nothing Win (Coyne). A benefit for the Eastern City.

1861: Performed in the Theatre Royal by the Garrison Players (possibly officers and men of the 11th Regiment) on Monday 4 February, with The Robber's Wife, or The Coiner's Cave (Pocock)

1861: Performed on the Eastern Cape border by a Garrison company known as the Amateurs of the Band, on October 14, with a cast consisting of W. Dansie (Artaxominous, King of Utopia), J. M'Kechnie (Fusbos, Minister of State), J. Davies (General Bombastes), T. Smith (Distaffna). Aslo performed were Slasher and Crasher (Morton), The British Volunteers (Bridgman) and The Irish Tutor (Butler).

1862: The Band of Amateurs performed Bombastes Furioso in the Garrison Theatre, Keiskamma Hoek, on June 3, with the same cast. This was accompanied by a scene from The Castle Spectre (Lewis) and a scene from The Indians of the Far West (Anon.).

1866: Performed in the Garrison Theatre, Cape Town, by members of the 9th Regiment's dramatic company on 8 September, with Luke the Labourer (Buckstone) and the popular "dance song" The Nervous Cures (Brown and Norton).

1867: Performed in early March by amateurs in the small theatre at the Asylum on Robben Island. Also performed were songs (including the traditional Irish/Celtic song, Brian O'Lynn - wrongly given as a play called Brian O'Lunn by Bosman or his sources) and De Apotheekwinkel in de Vley (Anon).

1867: Performed by the Madame Duret and company in the Theatre Royal in Harrington Street, Cape Town, with The Sea of Ice (d'Ennery and Dugué).

1868: Performed by the Lanarkshire Dramatic Club (amateur players from the 99th Regiment) in the Garrison Theatre, Cape Town, on 23 and on 25 April, with Betsy Baker (Morton), as "an Officers Performance in aid of the Club".

1875: Performed by Disney Roebuck and company in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, on 8 July, with Meg's Diversion (Craven).

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Barnes_Rhodes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombastes_Furioso

https://archive.org/details/bombastesfurioso00rhod

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [2]: pp. 153, 184, 192, 194, 222, 388-390, 403.

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 144, 166-7, 227, 262, 283, 325.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 7. June 13, 1861.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 13, July 23, 1862. (Keiskama Hoek)

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