[LA PEROUSE] The Grand Serious Pantomime De la Perouse.
With New Scenery, Machinery, Dresses and Decorations.
[Liverpool] : E. and W. Smith, Printers, Pool-Lane, . A good copy, with a very small amount of edge loss at lower left.
Playbill, single sheet (285 x 190 mm), advertising a performance at the Theatre-Royal, Liverpool, on Friday, September 15th, 1809. The play opening the bill is ‘The Suspicious Husband’, and the evening is a benefit for ‘The Three Misses Adams‘. The full cast for ‘La Perouse‘ is listed, with the protagonist played by Mr Terry and Madame Perouse by Miss H. Adams.
A relatively early example of a playbill for this stage work, productions of which are recorded from 1801 onwards. An earlier play about La Perouse by the German playwright Kotzebue had been published in 1798, in which La Perouse is depicted as the only survivor of his shipwreck, living with an empathetic native woman on a deserted island until Madame La Perouse and his son discover him. The native woman and Madame La Perouse end up co-habiting on the island, with La Perouse becoming something of a brother to them. Although this story clearly inspired Fawcett, his version of the tragedy had a different conclusion which was designed to suit English public taste: the native woman turns out to be evil, and with the help of newly-arrived natives she plots the destruction of La Perouse, his wife and son – until foiled by a clever chimpanzee and crew of the ‘Astrolabe’, who massacre the natives and return to France with the La Perouse family.