Good for Nothing

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Good for Nothing is a comic drama in one act by John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-1879)[1].

Also found as The Good for Nothing, The Good-for-Nothing and, apparently on account of the central character of "Nan", also known as Good for Nothing Nan ; Nan, The Good for Nothing ; or Nan the Good-For-Nothing in various parts of the world, though references here may on occasion actually be to popular vaudeville songs with these titles, based on the character from the play, rather than to the play itself.

The original text

First performed on 4 February 1851 in the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London. Published by W.V. Spencer, 1856 and in one volume with Domestic Economy (Lemon), by J. Dicks in 1897.

Translations and adaptations

Inspired popular vaudeville songs by John T. Rutledge ("Good For Nothing Nan", 1877) and Thomas and George le Brun ("Good-for-nothing Nan", written for and made popular by singer Vesta Victoria (1873-1951)[2], who admitted to basing her characterization of "Nan" on the play).

Performance history in South Africa

1857: Performed as The Good for Nothing by Sefton Parry and his company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, on 5 October, with Don Caesar de Bazan (Dumanoir and d'Ennery).

1857: Repeated, now as The Good-for-Nothing by Sefton Parry and his company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, on 16 November, with The Stranger, or Misanthropy and Repentance (Von Kotzebue).

1861: Performed as The Good for Nothing by Sefton Parry and his company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 9 September, with Othello (Shakespeare).

1867: Performed as Good for Nothing Nan by the Le Roy-Duret Company on 25 September as part of their "Grand Re-opening Night" in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, with The Swiss Cottage (Baily) and Delicate Ground (Dance), as well as a "Pas de Variation" dance by Miss Clara.

1868: Repeated as Good for Nothing by the Le Roy-Duret Company on 9 January in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, with a "Grand Legitimate Treat": The Merchant of Venice, or The Cruel Jew (Shakespeare) and a "Pas Seul" by Miss Clara.

1877: Performed as Good for Nothing by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 8 November, with The Hunchback (Knowles), and a ballad sung by Miss Wynne.

Sources

Facsimile version of the 1897 edition by J. Dicks (No 1034 of Dick's Standard Plays), The Internet Archive[3]

Paul Fryer (Ed.). 2012. Women in the Arts in the Belle Epoque: Essays on Influential Artists. McFarland:p. 193[4]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 59, 75, 99, 230, 232, 310, 315, 362.

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