Young England

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There appear to be two plays by this name:

Young England a play by "Morton" (1860s)

A play by this name, and ascribed to an unspecified "Morton", is mentioned by F.C.L. Bosman (1980,p. 230), as being performed in the Cape Town in 1867.

No other reference has been traced so far to a play of this name by any of the three Morton playwrights: Thomas Morton (1764-1838), John Maddison Morton (1811-1891) and the impresario Charles Morton (1819-1904)[1].

The original text

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1867: Performed as Young England (and ascribed to "Morton") in the Theatre Royal, Harrington Street, Cape Town, by the Le Roy and Duret company on 14 and 17 October, with a dance performed by Miss Clara and Guy Mannering (Scott/Terry).

Young England a melodrama by Walter Reynolds (1934)

The original text

Young England was a patriotic melodrama about a scoutmaster battling the evils of drugs and alcohol, written by Walter Reynolds (1852-1941)[2], that ran in London for 278 performances at the Victoria Palace Theatre, then the Kingsway Theatre and finally playing at Daly's Theatre.

The play is often cited as the worst play ever written, but became a great success at the time, a cult classic in its time, with some people going to see it 20 times. Noel Coward apparently brought parties of friends to the theatre to watch it as it he considered it hilarious

The text was published by Gollancz, London, in 1935.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa


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 1932. (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: p.230

"Young England – the worst play ever?", The jot101 website[3]

Young England, in Wikipedia[4]

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