The Mistake

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The Mistake is a comedy attributed to Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726)[1].

The original text

Apparently the play was created in collaboration with Thomas Betterton (c. 1635–1710)[2], and was an adaptation of Molière's Dépit Amoureux (1653) (which in its turn had derived from L' Interesse by Nicolò Secchi).

The Vanbrugh and Betterton version was first performed on 27 December 1705 at the Haymarket. It was first published without the author's name by Tonson in January 1706.

Translations and adaptations

Known in South Africa largely through productions of Lovers' Quarrels, or Like Master Like Man, a farce in one act, attributed to Thomas King (1730-1805), though often credited to Vanbrugh, since it was an shortened adaptation of The Mistake. Allardyce Nicoll (A History of English Drama, 1660-1900, 2009) also mentions two other adaptations under the same title, one by "D.L." (1816) and one by "Vic." (1864).

Performance history in South Africa

Translations and adaptations


Allardyce Nicoll. 2009. History of English Drama, 1660-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Republished new edition).

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: p. 124,

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