W.S. Gilbert’s Dulcamara

Samantha PillingHistory

comedy and tragedy masks old background

Dulcamara, otherwise known as The Little Duck and the Great Quack, was W.S. Gilbert’s first piece of stage-work. It came about through a chance conversation between Tom Robertson and Miss Herbert, lessee of Saint James’s Theatre in London. Miss Herbert was after a Christmas piece – the only downside was she needed it written in a fortnight!  Dulcamara, or The … Read More

W.S. Gilbert and the accomplishment of a lifelong dream

Samantha PillingHistory

Stage Door Sign

On 13th February 1878, W.S. Gilbert finally got to realise his lifelong dream. That date was the Gaiety Theatre’s Wednesday Matinee performance of a pantomime Burlesque, entitled The Forty Thieves. It was a charity production that listed, among other amateur and professional actors, W.S. Gilbert – playing the part of Harlequin. The Forty Thieves was created as a charity benefit, … Read More

W.S. Gilbert, writer of Victorian burlesque?

Samantha PillingHistory

Victorian Lady

W.S. Gilbert’s first solo success came in 1866. It came about after his friend and mentor, Tom Robertson, was asked to write a pantomime but declined, due to the timescale – two weeks. He recommended Gilbert. The pantomime ‘Dulcamara, or the little duck and the great quack’ was the end result. The pantomime was a Victorian burlesque, based on Gaetano … Read More