The Liars

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The Liars is a comedy in four acts by Henry Arthur Jones ( 1851–1929)[1]

The original text

A Victorian comedy of manners , or "society" drama, about the dangers of flirting. According to Barrett H. Clark (1915)[2]] it has a skilful plot, clever dialogue and good-natured satire, but "[b]ehind all the amusement is the eternal 'lesson': that society in order to exist must adhere to a set of regulations, and that any infringement of its laws invariably brings social ruin".

The play was first performed at the Criterion Theatre, London, in October of 1897 and on Broadway in 1898. The text was first published in 1901.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1898: Performed to acclaim by Herbert Flemming and company at the Opera House, Cape Town, in August, with Flemming as "Lord Deering", supported by a cast that included Malcolm Dunn, Charles Curtiss, Edwin Herrick, Charles Combe, Beverly Sitgraves and Leonie Norbury.

1902-3: Performed by Leonard Rayne at the Opera House, Cape Town, under the auspices of the Mouillot-De Jong Company, as part of a season of musical comedy and light opera beginning in December of 1902 and running into 1903.


Barrett H. Clark. 1915. The British and American Drama of Today. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915. pp. 44-46 (Cited from the Theatre Database website, 1 August 2019[3])

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. 406, 414.

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