# 34946

ROYAL GRECIAN THEATRE (LONDON); CONQUEST, George Augustus (1837-1901)

Royal Grecian Theatre. Forget & forgive ; or, Love me, leave me not.

$1,750.00 AUD

At head of title: On Monday, April the 8th, 1861, and during the week, the performances will commence with a New Drama, in 4 acts, by Mr. G. Conquest, partly founded on a tale by Pierce Egan, Esq., entitled … Whitechapel : Pownceby, Steam Printer, 43 Leman St., [1861]. Double-page playbill, 340 x 430 mm; lithograph printed on thin paper; original central fold, in very good condition.

A rare large-format playbill produced for the opening night of Forget & forgive ; or, Love me, leave me not, at the Royal Grecian Theatre (formerly the Eagle Tavern) in London’s Shoreditch in April 1861. The theatre’s proprietor, Benjamin Conquest (1803-1872), also managed the Garrick Theatre in nearby Leman Street – where the present playbill happens to have been printed by Henry Pownceby. George Conquest, Benjamin’s son, not only wrote this play; he also produced, directed and starred in it. This would have been one of the first of around 100 productions that the father-and-son team staged during the 1860s and early 1870s.

The first act of this three-act melodrama is set in the ‘Crags and mountain tops of Australia’. The characters listed on the playbill are Dick Stoney, an escaped convict (played by Mr Alfred Rayner); Nut Gull, an ‘anythingarian, and lover of money’ (Mr George Conquest); Francis Fairland, ‘a wealthy trader’ (Mr Holland); Henry Moreland, ‘a settler in Australia’ (Mr William James); and Adele, ‘a wild girl and half Native, wife of Henry Moreland’ (Mrs Charles Dillon). The final part of this opening act is described thus: ‘A Dell near the Sea! The Hut and Home of Adele, The Wild Girl of Australia … the Loving Wife … Love me, leave me not! The Flight … the Shot.’ The action then moves to England, where the final two acts take place, and the paths of Dick Stoney, Nut Gull, Henry Moreland and Adele all cross once again.

The performance of Forget & forgive was followed by a burlesque – also written by Conquest – entitled Guy Faux!, and a single-act play, Ostler’s Vision, penned by local actor Alfred Rayner. A musical concert with free admission, held in the Assembly Room, concluded the evening’s entertainment.

Trove locates a single example of this playbill in Australian collections (SLNSW)