The Routledge Pantomime Reader is the first anthology to document this entertainment genre—one of the most distinctive and ubiquitous in nineteenth-century Britain.
Across ten different shows, readers witness pantomime’s development from a highly improvisational venue for clowning, dance, and musical parody to a complex amalgamation of physical and topical comedy, stage wizardry, scenic spectacle, satire, and magical mayhem. Combining well-known tales such as "Cinderella", "Aladdin", and "Jack and the Beanstalk" with the lesser-known plotlines of "Peter Wilkins" and "The Prince of Happy Land", the book demonstrates not only how popular narratives were adapted to the current moment, but also how this blend of high and low entertainment addressed a whole range of social and cultural anxieties. Along with carefully annotated scripts, readers will find detailed introductions to all of the collected pantomimes and supplementary materials such as reviews, reminiscences, and a host of visual materials that bring these neglected entertainments to life.
The plays collected here provide a remarkable perspective on the history of sexuality, class, and race during a period of vast imperial expansion and important social upheaval in Britain itself—essential reading for students and scholars of theatre history and popular performance.
Table of Contents
General Introduction; Chapter 1: Three Sadler’s Wells Entertainments (1800); Chapter 2: Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper (1804); Chapter 3: Harlequin and Mother Goose, or, The Golden Egg (1806); Chapter 4: Aladdin; or, The Wonderful Lamp (1813); Chapter 5: Puss in Boots; An Original Comical, Magical, Mew-sical Fairy Burletta, in One Act (1837); Chapter 6: The Prince of Happy Land; or, The Fawn in the Forest (1851); Chapter 7: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves; or, Harlequin and the Genii of the Arabian Nights (1866); Chapter 8: Robinson Crusoe, or Friday and the Fairies (1868); Chapter 9: Bluebeard; The Old Story Re-Told (1879); Chapter 10: Jack and the Beanstalk (1899); Recommended Readings
Jennifer Schacker is Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, Canada.
Daniel O’Quinn is a Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, Canada.
"Providing more than a century of pantomime texts as incontrovertible evidence, Professors Schacker and O’Quinn offer a wonderfully fresh approach to the study of English pantomime, demonstrating the genre’s mutability over time whilst focusing precise scholarly attention on performance and on the changing cultural circumstances in which pantomimes were conceived, performed, and enjoyed." - David Mayer, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Manchester, UK