The Routledge Pantomime Reader: 1800-1900 (Routledge Companions)
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 lesser-known plotlines such "Peter Wilkins" and "The Prince of Happy Land", demonstrates how popular narratives were adapted to the current moment, but also shows 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.
Daniel O'Quinn is a Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. Jennifer Schacker is Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.