A Figure of Fun, or The Bloomer Costume

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A Figure of Fun, or The Bloomer Costume is an original farce, in one act, by Edward Stirling (1807-1894)[1]

Also found with various other the titles, such as: The Bloomer Costume, or A Figure of Fun (in the USA), The Bloomer Costume and A Bloomer Costume - F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 405-6) even has it as A Bloomer's Costume (citing the Cape Monitor of 15 April, 1854).

The original text

The title of this late play by Stirling appears to have its origins in an early Stirling farce (A Figure of Fun or, An Evening at Richmond, first performed on 16 Feb 1821), and was written in a response to the "Bloomer costume" of the 1850s, consisting of a full jacket with full baggy Turkish-style pants gathered by elastic bands a little above the ankle, which had been popularized by Mrs Amelia Bloomer.

First performed in this form at the Punch's Playhouse and Strand Theatre on September 22nd, 1851, and first published in London by S.G. Fairbrother in 1851/1852.

Apparently Stirling's play was called The Bloomer Costume, or The Figure of Fun in America, and - according to one source[2] this was published by W. Taylor in New York in 1850, though elsewhere no date is given, so presumably it was actually only published after the first production in London.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1854: Performed under the title The Bloomer Costume in Cape Town by the Garrison Players in the Garrison Theatre on 2 May 1854, with Mr Hall, Mr Kirton, Mr Henslowe, Mrs Oswin and Mrs Arlington. It was part of a programme also including St Cupid, or Dorothy's Fortune (Jerrold) and Perfection, or The Lady of Munster (Bayley).




A History of Early Ninteenth Century Drama 1800-1850, CUP Archive[3]


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 405-7,

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