The Road to Ruin

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The Road to Ruin is a play by Thomas Holcroft (1745 – 1809)[1].

The original text

His most successful play, it was produced , at Covent Garden in 1792. A revival in 1793 ran for 118 nights. Published by J. Debrett, with 8 eidtions in 1792 alone.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1808: A performance was planned by the Garrison Players in Cape Town on 18 June, but this was postponed (cancelled?), and replaced by other plays.

1818: Performed by the Gentlemen Amateurs (Garrison Players) with the help of Mr Cooke and his company of ladies, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 13 June, with the "Grand Pantomime" Valentine and Orson (Dibdin).

1823: Performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the Garrison Players on 21 October, 1823, with The Apprentice (Murphy), as a Benefit for J. Corbishly.

1831: A production is planned for 13 August by All the World's a Stage led by Mr Booth, but finally takes place on Monday 19 September in the Cape Town Theatre, with Fortune's Frolic, or The Ploughman Made Lord (Allingham)

1854: Performed by the Amateur Theatrical Society Port Elizabeth in the new Port Elizabeth Theatre (The Lyceum) on Friday 7 July, with The Thumping Legacy (Morton).

1875: According to F.C.L. Bosman (1980) the Disney Roebuck Company performed a play listed as Ruin (no author mentioned) in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, on 13 July. It was most probably Holcroft's play and was presented with Betsy Baker (Morton) and Royalists and Republicans (Anon/Dance & Planché).


Facsimile version of the 8th edition 1792[2]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 75, 154, 185, 217, 508

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 325,

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