Box and Cox

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Box and Cox is a one act farce by J.M. (John Maddison) Morton (1811-1891)[1].

The original text

Morton's play is based on a French one-act vaudeville, Frisette by Eugène Labiche and Auguste Lefranc, which had been produced in Paris in the Théâtre du Palais-Royal on 28 April 1846.

Published by Editions Michel Lévy frères.

(For more on the French original, see

Box and Cox first produced in English at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 1 November 1847, billed as a "romance of real life", it became a popular nineteenth century play, billed by The New York Times of 1891 as "the best farce of the nineteenth century". The oldest extant published appears to be the one in The Minor Drama XXII by Douglas at No 11 Spruce Street, New York.

Translations and adaptations

Cox and Box, or The Long-Lost Brothers, a one-act comic opera based on Morton's play, was written by F. C. Burnand (libretto) and Arthur Sullivan (music) and first performed in 1866.

(For more on the operetta see:

Performance history in South Africa

1850: Performed on 17 September by "Captain Hall's Company" (popular name at the time for the Garrison Players) in the Garrison Theatre, Cape Town , as an afterpiece to A New Way to Pay Old Debts (Massinger).

1850: Performed again on 26 September by "Captain Hall's Company" (popular name at the time for the Garrison Players) in the Garrison Theatre, Cape Town , with Delicate Ground! (Planché), A Lover by Proxy (Boucicault) and The Sentinel (Morton).

1853: Performed on Monday 31 October by the Amateur Company in the Garrison Theatre, alongside Power and Principle (Barnett) and Circumstantial Evidence (Carew). The presentation was apparently repeated Monday 7 November.

1854: Performed on 29 March in King William's Town (Eastern Cape) by the soldiers of the garrison, possibly with The Irishman in London (Macready), in the presence of the Governor General.

1855: Part of the repertoire and thus possibly performed by the G.V. Brooke company in the Garrison Theatre, Cape Town, during the revictualling of their vessel en route to the Australian goldfields in 1854-55.

1858: Performed as Box and Cox, or Lodgings for Two by Sefton Parry and Company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 25 July.

1861: Performed by J.E.H. English and Company in the New Music Hall in Buitekant Street, Cape Town, on 16 July, with A Bachelor of Arts (Hardwick).

1861: Produced by Officers of the Regiment (North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot) in the Garrison Theatre, Grahamstown on 9 and 12 September, with Crinoline () and Only a Halfpenny (). The cast consisted of R. Annesley Esq. (Box), Sergeant J. Lydon (Cox), Corporal J. Davies (Mrs Bouncer).

1866: Performed in the Garrison Theatre by the Garrison Players, on 30 October with the burlesque Romeo and Juliet Travestie, or The Cup of Cold Poison (Halliday) (strangely titled Romeo and Juliet, or The Cup of Cold Pison in Bosman, 1980).

1867: Performed in the Theatre Royal by Madame Duret and her company on 17 September with The Isle of St. Tropez (Williams and Burnand) and The Area Belle (Brough and Halliday).


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [2]: pp. 399, 404-412, 509,

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

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