Scenes from Robinson Crusoe

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Scenes from Robinson Crusoe is a reference to a Cape Town production of scenes from Daniel Defoe's novel, done by the Disney Roebuck company in 1877-1878.

The original text

See also the entry on Robinson Crusoe

Translations and adaptations

No indication is given of which of the many dramatized versions of the text was being used in this case, nor any indication of an adaptor. It is most likely a reference to a selection from the pantomime by Henry J. Byron (1835-1884), called Robinson Crusoe, or Friday and the Fairies , the full version of which Roebuck had been performing in Cape Town in this period.

Performance history in South Africa

1878: A piece referred to simply as Robinson Crusoe was performed by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 6 and 7 May, featuring The Paultons , with Stage Struck to follow (Cobb/Dimond). F.C.L. Bosman ascribes the piece to Stanley Rogers (fl 1890s)[1], but this is probably wrong, as Rogers was the author of a 1899 version of Robinson Crusoe - thus highly unlikely to have been the one used here. It was more likely to have been Byron's full version which Roebuck had used before, or his own adaptation of scenes from the play or novel, as used later the year.

1878: Produced as "scenes from Robinson Crusoe" (Defoe)by Disney Roebuck in the Theatre Royal on 16 May, with The Lost Baby (Suter?). .

1878: Performed as "scenes from Robinson Crusoe" (Defoe) by the Disney Roebuck company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on "Regatta Night", 22 May, with Pygmalion and Galatea (Gilbert) as a benefit for Miss Frances Delaval.

1878: Performed as "the main scenes from Robinson Crusoe" (Defoe) by the Disney Roebuck company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on "Regatta Night", 24 May, with The Captain's not a Miss (Wilks) and Jack and Jack's Brother (Anon)


D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

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

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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