The Flying Lovers Outwitted? London’s Rival Productions Of Perseus And Andromeda Compared

On 15 November 1728, the first performance of Perseus and Andromeda: With the Rape of Colombine; or, The Flying Lovers, by Monsieur Roger and John Weaver, was given at Drury Lane. The pantomime was danced throughout, with Michael Lally and Hester Booth in the title roles. More than a year later, on 2 January 1730, the first performance of Perseus and Andromeda; or, The Spaniard Outwitted, with a libretto by Lewis Theobald, was given at Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields. The title roles were taken by the singers Mrs Barbier and Mrs Chambers, and the pantomime included at least two danced divertissements. During the 1720s, Drury Lane and Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields several times produced rival versions of the same pantomime, and although at both houses the comic part invariably drew on commedia dell’arte style mime, at Drury Lane the serious part was usually danced, whereas at Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields it was usually sung. This paper will compare the use of dancing in the serious parts of the rival productions of Perseus and Andromeda, with particular reference to the representation of the title roles and the spectacular scenic effects in each pantomime.

Moira Goff
Author affiliation
Independent dance historian, London, UK