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Froufrou is a French play in five acts by Henri Mailhoc (1831-1897)[] and Ludovic Halévy (1834-1908)[1].

Also found as Frou Frou and Frou-Frou in various versions.

The original text

First performed in the Théâtre du Gymnase, Paris, in 1869. Text published in Paris by Michel Levy Frères in 1870.

Translations and adaptations

Translated and adapted into English as "Frou Frou" by Augustin Daly (1838-1899) and first performed in the Fifth Avenue Theater, New York, on 15 February, 1870. Published in New York by Samuel French, c1870 as no CCCLIX of French's Standard Drama. Subtitled "A Comedy of Powerful Human Interest".

Another version, entitled Fou-Frou, or A School for Levity was written by Benjamin Webster (the Younger), and first performed in the Brighton Theatre, on 14 March 1870 and at the St James Theatre, London on 14 April, 1870 (now renamed Frou-Frou, or Fashion and Passion.

Many film versions were made over the years, including a 1914 silent film by Eugene Moore; Frou-Frou, directed by Alfredo De Antoni (Italy, 1918), Frou-Frou directed by Otto Rippert (Germany, 1922), Frou-Frou directed by Guy du Fresnay (France, 1924); Frou-Frou directed by Augusto Genina (1955, Italy), etc.

Performance history in South Africa

According to Boonzaier (1923), initially there was some public disapproval of the play's content on moral grounds, but it nevertheless had a number of performances in Cape Town.

1875: The Webster English version was performed as Frou-Frou, or Fashion and Folly by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, on 7 May, with Stage Struck (Dimond).

1875: The Webster version was performed by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, on 6 July (and repeated on 6 September), with The Swiss Cottage (Bayly)

1878: Performed by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, for four evenings (27 and 28 February, 1 and 4 March).

1892: The English version (now specifically credited to Webster) performed by Potter-Bellew Company under the auspices of Luscombe Searelle, as part of their repertoire while on tour in South Africa. They played the piece at the Exhibition Theatre, during their sojourn in Cape Town.


Facsimile version of the 1870 French text by Michel Levy, The Internet Archive[2]

Facsimile version of the 1870 English text by Daly, Hathi Trust Digital Library[3]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.323-329, 366, 394

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