The Review, or The Wags of Windsor

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The Review, or The Wags of Windsor is a musical farce in one act and/or in two acts (depending on the edition) by George Colman the Younger (1762 – 1836)[1].

Sometimes referred to as either The Review or as The Wags of Windsor.

The original text

The play was involved in some controversy, for the one character had been based the lead character in Throw physick to the dogs by Henry Lee, (printed in 1809 under title, Caleb Quotem and his wife! or, Paint, poetry, and putty, an opera in three acts). Lee however refused Colman the right to publish the sections containing excerpts from his play. Hence Colman then took up the same material from Dibdin's The mad guardian, or, Sunshine after rain, which Colman claimed had been Lee's own original.

In the 1808 Cawthorn edition, the material from Dibdin's play appears[2], while the 1822 edition by Oxberry provides the original material from Lee's play[3].

First performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, September 2nd, 1800.

Published in a variety of editions: As a musical farce in one act by Thomas Hailes Lacy in London, and as a musical farce in two acts by J. Cumberland in London - both in 1800. Later editions, some merly referring to it as "a farce", include ones by D. Longworth, New York, in 1804, by J. Cawthorn in London in 1808, one by W.Oxberry, W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, London in 1822 (with a preface and all stage directions for the Oxberry production of the play) and one by John Cumberland in London in 1826.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1811: Produced in the African Theatre, Cape Town, by the Garrison Players on 21 September, with The Honey Moon (Tobin).

1812: Performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town, by the Garrison Players on Saturday, 18 January 1818, with John Bull, or an Englishman's Fireside (Colman, Jr).

1825: Performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town, by the Garrison Players on 5 November, as a benefit performance for J. Corbishley and Mrs Black with X.Y.Z. (Colman Jr) as afterpiece.

1829: Performed as The Wags of Windsor in the African Theatre, Cape Town, on 9 December, as afterpiece to Othello, or The Moor of Venice (Shakespeare), by the visiting professional actor H. Booth, supported by a number of local amateurs. Booth not only appeared in the roles of "Othello" and "Looney Mactmolter", but also sang a song as interlude.

1835: Performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town, by the Garrison Players on 28 July, as with Charles the Twelfth (Planché) as afterpiece.

1836: Performed as The Review in Cape Town by the Garrison Players on 31 August, as afterpiece to Guy Mannering (Terry/Scott).

1848: Performed in Cape Town on 4 August by the Garrison Players ("the 6th Royal Regiment") in the Garrison Theatre, with as afterpiece The Irishman in London (Macready), as well as an interlude consisting of "a variety of dancing and singing".

1860: Performed on the Eastern Cape border on July 30 and August 1, by the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot. The cast consisted of M. Rafferty (Captain Beauguard), J. M'Kechnie (Mr Deputy Bull), W. Dansie (Looney Mactwolter), T. Brooker (John Lump), W. Allen (Caleb Quotem), J. Mann (Charles Williams), T. Patterson (Sergeant Higginbottom), F. Girton (Dubbs), F. J. Gay (Grace Gaylove), J. Durney (Lucy), A. Vogado (Martha) and J. Grennan (Phoebe Williams). The evening also included dancing and comic singing by W. Lovett and J. M. M'Kechnie and the whole concluded with the farce of Richard Butler's The Irish Tutor.

1860: Performed again on the Eastern Cape border on November 26 July by the Amateurs of the Band (North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot) , with same cast as before. Also performed that evening were The Wandering Minstrel (Mayhew) and The British Volunteers (Bridgeman).

Sources M/The_review_or_The_wags_of_Windsor])

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 142-3, 184, 188, 195-6, 211, 216, 397

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 1. January 1, 1860.

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 3. November 1, 1860.

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