Deeds of Dreadful Note

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Deeds of Dreadful Note is a play in one act by Alfred Dubois (nom de plume of James Stuart Bowes, 1768/69-1863)[1]

Also found as Deeds of Dreadful Note!, Wilful Murder, or Deeds of Dreadful Note, A Dreadful Deed and possibly even Crimson Crimes, or Deeds of Dreadful Note.

The original text

Styled a "romantic tale of terror in one act" and said to be "From the French of M. De Rosier" (i.e. Joseph-Bernard Rosier, (1804–1880)[2]). Though the play is never specified, it is probably De Rosier's 1840 comedy La Mansarde du Crime (lit. "The garrett of the crime"), first performed in Paris at the Theatre du Vaudeville, on 4 Novmeber, 1840.

The English version by Dubois was first performed at the Adelphi Theatre London in 1842, the text published at the time by the National Acting Drama Office and sold by Strange.

The text formally published later in London by Pickering and Chatto and in Philadelphia by Turner & Fisher (as part of Turner's dramatic library).

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1857: A "screaming farce" called Crimson Crimes, or Deeds of Dreadful Note (attributed to William E. Burton) was performed in the Harrington Street Theatre , Cape Town, on 23 September by the Sefton Parry Company. It has been suggested that it may in fact have been a parody of this one act "romantic tale of terror" by Dubois. Also performed was Who Speaks First? (Dance) and Monsieur Jacques (Barnett and Barnett).

1857: Performed as Wilful Murder, or Deeds of Dreadful Note by Sefton Parry and his company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, on 27 November, with The Honeymoon, or How to Rule a Wife (Dubois) and music by the band of the The Cape Volunteer Corps.

1859: Performed as A Dreadful Deed by Sefton Parry and his company in the Cape Town Theatre on 7 November, along with Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady (Planché), A Dead Shot (Buckstone) and a "Tambourine Dance" by Lizzie Powell.


Facsimile version of the original text of La Mansarde du Crime, Dubuisson (1840), Google E-book [3]

Catalogue of Pickering and Chatto publishers, Item 3712 (p. 527)[4]

Frederic Boase. 2018. Modern English Biography (Volume 1 of 4) A-H, Litres: p. [5]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.59, 77, 99

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