Dion Boucicault

Plays by Dion Boucicault


Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Written in 1864 and set during the Irish rebellion of 1798, Arrah na Pogue is an rollicking tale of romance and misadventure with rascally rebels, despicable villains and love-struck youths.

As night falls on the Wicklow mountains, the popular but incorrigible rebel Beamish MacCaul is lying in wait. He’s out to ambush the cowardly rent-collector Michael Feeny and collect some rent from him in turn. That done, he’s off to marry Fanny Power. Down in the valley, love is in the air for Shaun the Post and the play’s heroine Arrah Meelish too. But Arrah has a secret, and Michael Feeny has found it out. As Shaun and Arrah celebrate their wedding, revenge comes a-calling. Now love must conquer all – including the hangman’s noose. The play is brim-full of Boucicault’s trademark comic roguery, farce and melodrama.

London Assurance

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Following the courtships and disguises of its satirical, farcical characters, London Assurance is a merry parade of wittily constructed skirmishes between love and money, town and country, nature and artifice.

The preening Sir Harcourt sets off to Oak Hall in the country in order to marry the lovely eighteen-year-old Grace, little realising that his son, Young Courtly, is simultaneously wooing the same beauty under the assumed name of Augustus Hamilton. But Sir Harcourt finds himself stirred instead by the rumbustious Lady Gay Spanker, who married an exceedingly rich bachelor out of pity, and having squashed his spirit is now ready to flirt to the hilt with the devoted Sir Hamilton. The double courtship, surrounded by a set of brilliantly comic characters, ultimately exposes the falsity of judgements based on money or fashion, as well as gleefully lampooning all manner of social eccentricities.

The first performance of London Assurance was in 1841 at Covent Garden, London.

video London Assurance (NT)

National Theatre
Type: Video

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 28th June, 2010.

Grace has agreed to marry Sir Harcourt in return for his financial support of her family. At a house party in her father's place, Harcourt's son Charles also falls in love with Grace. When his father appears on the scene, he has to convince him that there is a case of mistaken identity and he is somebody else. Then Lady Gay Spanker, a married woman also visiting at the house, is persuaded by Charles to seduce his father and thus divert his attention from Grace. Much confusion and scheming ensues.

Originally written by Dion Boucicault, Nicholas Hytner directs Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw in this a new version by Richard Bean about life, love and mistaken identity in 19th Century London.

For teacher resources, visit this page.

Cool: Nick Sampson
Martin: Richard Frame
Charles Courtly: Paul Ready
Richard Dazzle: Matt Cross
Sir Harcourt Courtly: Simon Russell Beale
Squire Max Harkaway: Mark Addy
Pert: Maggie Service
James: Simon Markey
Grace Harkaway: Michelle Terry
Mark Meddle: Tony Jayawardena
Lady Gay Spanker: Fiona Shaw
Mr Adolphus Spanker: Richard Briers
Mr Solomon Isaacs: Junix Inocian
Doctor: David Whitworth
Servant: Mark Extance
Servant: Prasanna Puwanarajah
Doctor's daughter: Fiona Drummond
Doctor's daughter: Laura Matthews
Music Director /Accordion: Ian Watson
Fiddle: Sophie Solomon
Double Bass / Tuba: David Berr

Director: Nicholas Hytner
Designer: Mark Thompson
Music: Rachel Portman
Sound Designer: John Leonard
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin
Textual Revisions: Richard Bean
Choreographer: Scarlett Mackmin

Dion Boucicault (b. 1820) was an Irish playwright and actor, known as much for his colourful life as his enduring dramas. Called 'the most conspicuous English dramatist of the 19th century' by the New York Times, he was a great favourite of Queen Victoria, who commissioned a portrait of him to hang at Windsor Castle.

Boucicault lived on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming a theatrical innovator (championing matinees, and sensational on-stage spectacles) and, with 1895's Octoroon, one of the first authors to depict the life of black people in the US. London Assurance is probably his best known work, though other plays such as The Colleen Bawn and The Shaughraun went on to influence the next crop of Irish dramatists from Wilde to Synge and O'Casey.