Our Wife, or The Rose of Amiens

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Our Wife, or The Rose of Amiens is a comic drama in two acts by John Maddison Morton (1811-1891)[1].

The original text

Referred to as a "petite comedy" and according to Ganzl (2002), "adapted from a French vaudeville", it was first first performed at the Royal Princess's Theatre, London, on 18 November, 1856. Published by Thomas Hailes Lacy in London in the same year.

Translations and adaptations

The Morton play was adapted as a comic operetta in two acts called Désirée by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)[2] in 1882-1884. Originally produced by the McCaull Opera Comique Co., 1884, it was billed as "America’s First Comic Opera".

Performance history in South Africa

1857: On 11 February 1859, while the H.M.S. Boscawen was in Table Bay, the Boscawen Amateurs (officers of H.M.S. Boscawen) put on a performance of it (with the title The Rose of Amiens, or Our Wife) in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, (Morton). The officers were supported by Mrs Delmaine, Miss Delmaine and Miss Rowlands, as well as a number of local amateurs. W.R Jeffreys was the star once more, while the rest of the cast included R. Wells, C.B. Sevecke, J.R.F. Fullarton, T.A. de Waal, C.T. Layton, C.R. Smith, W.S. Brown, W.H. Maxwell and J.C. Plow. Also played was Don Caesar de Bazan (Pinel and D'Ennery/Webster and Boucicault).

1859: Performed in February as The Rose of Amiens, or Our Wife by the Boscawen Amateurs in Simonstown, with Don Caesar de Bazan (Pinel and D'Ennery/Webster and Boucicault).

1874: Performed as Our Wife in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 28 February, with a shortened version of Black-Eyed Susan (Jerrold).

1877: Performed as part of a "Grand Military Night" in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck and his company on 3 October, along with A Cup of Tea (). The band of the Connaught Rangers also participated.


Facsimile version of the 1856 edition of the original text, Hathi Trust Digital Library[3]



Kurt Ganzl. 2002. Lydia Thompson: Queen of Burlesque. 2002. Routledge: pp. 39-41.[4]



F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 131, 230, 312, 313, 361

William Groom. 1899-1900. Drama in Cape Town. Cape Illustrated Magazine, 10(4): 478-481, 517-520, 547-552, 580-584, 640-643, 670-672, 706-708.

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