Monsieur Tonson

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Monsieur Tonson is a popular farce in two acts by William Thomas (W. T.) Moncrieff (1794-1857)[1].

(His name sometimes found wrongly spelled "Moncrieffe")

The original text

Based on Monsieur Tonson: A Tale in Verse (1796) by John Taylor (1757-1832), it was first performed at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1826, and published by John Cumberland in 1827 (Cumberland's British theatre. vol. 16).

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch as Monsieur Tonson, of De Geplaagde Barbier by B.J. van der Sandt.

Performance history in South Africa

1827: First performed in English in the Cape Town Theatre on Monday 27th August, probably by the Garrison Amateur Company, along with the "operatic interlude" Amoroso (Planché) and Miss in Her Teens (Garrick). The name of the author of Monsieur Tonson is wrongly spelled "Moncrieffe" in the source for this production.

1835: Possibly performed under the adapted title of Mr Thompson, or Which is He? in Cape Town by the Private Amateur Company on 25 May, as afterpiece to The Gambler's Fate, or A Lapse of Twenty Years (Thompson).

1835: Performed in Dutch and listed as a new farce, translated out of the English by "een Amateur", it was performed by Vlyt en Kunst in Cape Town on 15 August 1835, alongside Aballino, De Groote Bandiet (Zschokke).

1835: Announced on 16 October and performed in Dutch in the Stads Schouwburg ("Civic Theatre") Cape Town by the children's theatre company Kunst en Smaak on 21 November 1835, alongside Aballino Junior, of De Kleine Bandiet (De Lima). The cast included J. Stegman as "Tom King" and F. Langerman. The production was repeated on 31 October.

1837: Performed on 12 August in Dutch by Tot Oefening en Vermaak in the Liefhebbery Tooneel ("Amateur Theatre") in Cape Town alongside Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (a translation by M.G. Engelman, from the French play by Loaisel Tréogate).

1862: Performed in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 28 July by the Cape Town Dramatic Club, with Still Waters Run Deep (Taylor). The role of "Monsieur Tonson" played by Mr D'urban

1862: Performed in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 4 August by the Cape Town Dramatic Club, with Still Waters Run Deep (Taylor), along with a performance by Mrs Tellett and her company of A Perfect Cure (Sapte).


Facsimile version of the 1840 American text by Turner and Fisher[2]

Facsimile version of the 1827 text, Google E-book[3]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp.191, 206, 249, 271, 273, 334, 374

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 161-2

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