The Bengal Tiger

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The Bengal Tiger is a farce in one act by Charles Dance (1794-1863)[1].

This play should not be confused with Un Tigre du Bengale by Édouard Brisebarre (1815-1871)[2] and Marc-Michel (1812-1868)[3], first performed in 1849.

The original text

Telling of a visit by a rich but stingy uncle from India, it was first performed at Madame Vestris's Royal Olympic Theatre on 16 December, 1837 and published in London by J. Dicks as Issue 366 of Dicks' standard plays; Volume 15 of Modern English Comic Theatre, and Chapman and Hall, all in 1838

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1858: Performed by J.E.H. English and the Gentlemen Amateurs in the New Music Hall in Buitekant street, Cape Town, as part of a benefit for Mr Gough, on 10 August. Also performed were The Hard Struggle (Marston), minstrel songs and dances by The Carolina Minstrels, and various song- and-dance items by individual performers (e.g. "Paddy's Wedding"[4], "Jim Crow's Dance"[5] etc.)

1893: According to F.C.L. Bosman, a play called De Bengaalsche Tijger (and accredited to "Brissebarre and Michel") was performed as one of seven plays done in the President Theatre, Pretoria, by Onze Taal in this year, most probably directed by Dirk Balfoort. Given the title, this may of course have been the Dance play.


Facsimile version of the Lelong text, Google E-book[6]

Facsimile version of the 1837 text of The Bengal Tiger by Dance, Hathi Trust Digital Library[7]

David Worrall. 2015. Harlequin Empire: Race, Ethnicity and the Drama of the Popular Enlightenment, Routledge[8]

Bernth Lindfors. 2011. Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare in Europe, 1852-1855, Boydell & Brewer[9]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 120-121, 484.

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