How to Win a Widow

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How to Win a Widow is the title of a farce by an unknown author.

The original text

There is a reference to a South African production of a work by this title in F.C.L. Bosman (1980: p.241) in the 1868-69 Cape Town theatre season. However, no such play has yet been traced, except for this reference. It may possibly have been a version of Who Wins? or The Widow's Choice, a musical farce in two acts by John Till Allingham (1776-1812)[1] (also found as The Widow, or Who Wins?), that was first produced at Covent Garden in 1808. The text published in London by John Cumberland, 1834 as Cumberland's British theatre, no. 244.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1868-69: How to Win a Widow was probably performed as part of their repertoire by the W.J.S Bennee and Fanny Raynor (his wife), done in association with local amateurs, while on a 15 month tour in the Eastern Cape and the Orange Free State. Definitely done as How to Win a Widow (but no author named) when they presented a farewell benefit in Cape Town under the auspices of the Governor and the Freemasons in on 31 May, 1869. Also performed were Personation or Fairly Taken In (Dieulafoy/Decamp) and Hamlet (Shakespeare).


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.241.

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