The Lying Valet

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The Lying Valet is a farce in two acts by David Garrick (1717 – 1779)[1].

It also appears with a subtitle as: The Lying Valet, or The Masters Deceived

The original text

Apparently based on the second act of All Without Money by Peter Antony Motteux, which was in turn inspired by a French play. It was first performed "gratis" at the Goodman's Fields Theatre on 30 November 1741, then removed to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1742.

Printed for and sold by Paul Vaillant and J. Roberts,1742. Published in the USA by Charles Wiley, 1824

Translations and adaptations

A Dutch translation by an anonymous author, entitled De Logen om Best Wil, was published in Algemeene Spectatoriaale Schouwburg, deel 7c in Amsterdam by Hendrik Gartman, Willem Vermandel en Jan Willem Smit, 1793.

There is a reference in Bosman (1928) to another Dutch title (De Liegende Knegt = "The lying servant"), but this is probably only a translation of the title not the text by a Dutch journalist in Cape Town.

Performance history in South Africa

1808: Performed in English, as a benefit for the Widows and Orphans of the Royal Artillery and Engineers, in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the Garrison Players on 3 June, 1808, with The Old Maid (Murphy), occasional comic songs, and an epilogue written an spoken by Captain Collins. Rather uniquely F.C.L. Bosman (1928[2]: p.75) however, quotes the names of the plays from the bilingual newspaper The Cape Town gazette and African advertiser = Kaapsche Stads courant en Afrikaansche berigter in Dutch ( as De Oude Meid [sic!], and De Liegende Knegt) - but this is simply a translation of the titles, they were most probably performed in the original English by the company.

1818: Performed in English in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the Garrison Players on 25 April with The Will (Reynolds).

1830: Performed in English by All the World's a Stage in the "South African Theatre" on 6 March, with The Castle Spectre (Lewis), and a variety programme, led by and starring Mr H. Booth.

1836: Performed in Dutch as De Logen om Best Wil, with Shakespeare's Othello, of De Jaloersche Zwart ("Othello, or The Jealous Black"), by Vlyt en Kunst in the Liefhebbery Toneel (Hope Street Theatre)in Cape Town on 19 August 1837, directed by C.E. Boniface. The production appears to have been successful, but did elicit some criticism from a writer called "Philemon" who protested at the gruesome and immoral nature of Othello.

1848: Performed in English under its full title (The Lying Valet, or The Masters Deceived) on 20 March by the Dalle Case Company in the Hope Street Theatre, with a "Great Intermezzo of music and dance", and the comic ballet The Family of Pierrotts (Anon.).

1849: Performed in Dutch as De Logen om Best Wil by Tot Oefening en Vermaak in the Hope Street Theatre, Cape Town on 30 October, along with Zoë, of De Zegepraal eener Standvastige Liefde, with as "divertissement", an original sentimental song (Geene Bandieten) by an unnamed South African, and a "comic dance".


Facsimile version of a list contained in De uil op de mis: kluchtspel in twee bedrijven by August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue: p. 51 (Google E-book)[3]

Original text from 1742, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Text Creation Partnership[4]

Facsimile of the 1824 American edition by Wiley (Google eBook)[5]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [6]: pp. 75, 154, 185-6, 212, 235, 437, 455.

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