Honesty the Best Policy

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Honesty the Best Policy is a popular title for theatrical works.

Plays with this title

There have been a number of plays known by this name over the years, or containing the phrase it in its full title.

Such texts include:

Honesty the Best Policy, a two act farce featuring a bookseller, a naturalist, a poet, and a middle aged man, written by an anonymous author, and printed in 1791, but censored and withdrawn from performance at the Covent Garden theatre.

The World As It Goes, or Honesty the Best Policy, a farce by J. H. Colls. Performed at the Norwich Theatre, 1792, and also at the Wolverhampton Theatre. (The same as the previously censored work?)

Honesty the Best Policy a drama in two acts by Mark Lemon (adapted from the French), first performed and published in 1800.

Honesty is the Best Policy, or True to the Core, a play in one act and one scene by John Maguire, published in New York by C.T. De Witt, 1877.

Plays by this name known to have been performed in South Africa

Honesty the Best Policy by Mark Lemon (1800)

This is a drama in two acts by Mark Lemon (1809-1870)[1].

The original text

Described as "adapted to the English stage", from a French text. The source text was possibly L'Honnête Homme, ou Le Rival Généreux, a three act comedy ("comédie en trois actes et en vers") by Dumaniant (1752-1828)[2], first performed on 5 February 1789 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris and published by Cailleau in Paris the same year.

Lemon's version was first performed in London in 1800, and was published by Davidson in the same year.

Performance history in South Africa

1854: Originally scheduled for production on 5 June 1854, and finally performed (as Honesty is the Best Policy) in Cape Town's Garrison Theatre by the Garrison Players on 18 September 1854 as part of a benefit performance for the comedian Mr Kirton, along with The Spitalfields Weaver (Bayly) and Middle Temple (Peake).





Facsimile version of the first edition of the Dumaniant text, Google E-book[3]


Biographia Dramatica, A-L, Volume 1 (1812)[4]

Biographica Dramatica, M-W, Volume 3 (1812)[5]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [6]: pp. 407-9,

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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