The Spectre Bridegroom, or A Ghost in Spite of Himself

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The Spectre Bridegroom, or A Ghost in Spite of Himself is a farce in two acts by William Thomas (W.T.) Moncrieff (1794-1857)[1].

The play is sometimes listed as The Spectre Bridegroom only.

The original text

Founded on a story of the same name in The Sketch Book by Washington Irving (published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. in serial form 1819 and 1820).

First performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Monday, July 2, 1821 by Elliston.

Published in London and New York in 1821. Printed by J. Tabby, 1821.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1831: Performed by All the World's a Stage under the management of Mr Booth in the African Theatre on 17 December, 1831 as afterpiece to Der Freischütz (Weber) and The Lawyer in the Sack (Booth).

1833: Performed, with Wild Oats, or The Strolling Gentleman(O'Keefe), as part of a "Farewell Benefit" for Mr Booth by All the World's a Stage in the African Theatre on 5 March, 1833.

1834: Performed, under the patronage of the Governor, by the "Private Amateur Company" (a civil society), in the Amateur Theatre (Liefhebbery Toneel) on 30 September, as afterpiece to Julius Caesar (Shakespeare).

1838: Performed by the English Amateur Company in the Cape Town Theatre on 13 October, 1838, as afterpiece to Ambrose Guinett, or a Sea-Side Story (Jerrold). The name of the author is wrongly spelled "Moncrieffe" in the source for this production. (According to F.C.L. Bosman, 1928, this was to be the last production mounted in the African Theatre before it was sold and turned into a church, and it was also the last production by English amateurs in Cape Town till 1843, for the Methodist movement to close the theatres had temporarily won the battle.)

1838: It may also have been performed in Grahamstown as The Castle Spectre in this year by the Grahamstown Amateur Company, performing under the motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (Though there is some difference of opinion between F.C.L. Bosman and P.W. Laidler on whether it was not perhaps the performance in Cape Town - see Bosman, 1928: pp. 388-9).

1858: Performed as The Spectre Bridegroom by the Charles Fraser and a company of amateurs in the Cape Town Theatre on 27 December, with A Blighted Being (Lefranc/Taylor) and The Irish Tutor (Butler).

1860: Performed for on 29 October in the Cabinet Theatre, Cape Town, by the Cape Town Dramatic Club with The Rivals (Moncrieff).

1861: Performed on the Eastern Cape Border by the regimentals drama company known as the Amateurs of the Band on June 5, featuring F. Girton (Mr. Nicodemus), J. M'Kechnie (Squire Aldwinkle), J. F. Gay (Dickery, his man), J. Mann (Captain Vanntington), W. Dansie (Paul), T. Paterson (Thomas, a servant), J. Davies (Georgiana Aldwinkle) and J. Durney (Lavinia, her cousin). The evening also included tow more plays, Poses-De-Vaux (Anon.) and Slasher and Crasher (Morton).


Copy of the text in the Internet Archive[2]

Copy of Samuel French text[3],_William_Thomas_(DNB00)

Worldcat website[4]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [5]: pp. 205-6, 208, 218, 225, 389.

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

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