Jump to navigation Jump to search

Taste is a satirical comedy in two acts by Samuel Foote (1720–1777)[1].

The original text

A satire on the 18th century growth in the art and antiquities market, with a focus on aristocratic collectors. First produced in London in 1752, at the Drury Lane theatre.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1800: Apparently first produced in South Africa by Dr Somers and Officers from the Garrison (in a venue referred to as Sea-line by Mrs Somers) in the the Military Hospital, Cape Town in May 1800. According to Lady Anne Barnard (cited in F.C.L. Bosman, 1928[2]: p. 61) the play's title was given as "Teasle" and it featured Dr Somers (given as "Lady Bentweazle" instead of "Pentweazel"), Major Glegg ("Carmine"), Colonel Barlow ("Puff"). This performance was the spark that inspired Sir George Yonge to create The African Theatre. It also contained what is claimed by Bosman (citing P.W. Laidler's Annals of the Cape Stage, p. 11) to possibly be one of the earliest pieces of local writing for the theatre in Mrs Somers's prologue to the performance, even though the text has been lost.

1807: Performed (ostensibly as a one-act version) at the Garrison Theatre in Cape Town on the 20th of June, as an afterpiece to Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer. The company included Captain Frazer, Mr Morgan and Captain Collins and the production was managed by Mr Morgan, who also read a prologue written for the occasion by Captain Frazer, who in turn sang a song he had written (in character as "Lady Pentweazle" in Taste), while Captain Collins read an epilogue he had written. According to F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 70)[3] these pieces are the oldest extant remnants of local theatrical writing (though not, he emphasizes, the earliest piece of written text or performance text, since there are records of earlier indigenous performances, prologues and even texts - e.g. Mrs Somers's prologue to the first performance of Taste in 1800).

1808: Performed in The African Theatre by the Garrison Players on 2 July 1808, as afterpiece to The Gamester (Moore).


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 61-2, 70-71, 76,

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: p. 22


Go to the ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page