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Charley's Aunt

Charley's Aunt
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Brandon Thomas
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 156
Pub. Date: 1962
ISBN-10: 0573606927
ISBN-13: 9780573606922
Cast Size: 4 women, 6 men

About the Play:

Charley's Aunt is a full-length farce by Brandon Thomas. Oxford students Jack and Charley can't court their sweethearts without a chaperone. Charley anticipates his aunt from Brazil will act as chaperone while he and classmate Jack entertain their sweethearts. But what to do when auntie's arrival is delayed? Why, ask a rugby-playing friend to dress up and fill the role, of course! With its mix of slapstick, wit, a bad wig, and some lipstick, Charley's Aunt is still a laugh-out-loud classic! Particularly suitable for schools and play contests.

Charley's Aunt is the hilarious events that arise when two students, Jack and Charles, use the excuse of the imminent visit of Charley's aunt Donna Lucia to invite their young ladies to their rooms. From Mrs. Doubtfire to Tootsie to Uncle Miltie, there's nothing more hilarious than a man in a dress! Jack Chesney loves Kitty Verdun and Charley Wickham loves Miss Amy Spettigue. They invite the ladies to meet Charley's wealthy aunt from Brazil, "where the nuts come from". Cancelling her visit at the last minute, the millionaire aunt sends the boys into cataclysmic confusion. What do they do now? The problem is solved by drafting their feckless Oxford undergrad pal into a black satin skirt, bloomers and wig. As "Charley's Aunt", this charming frump is introduced to the ladies, to Jack's father and to Stephen Spettigue, Amy's guardian. When the real aunt turns up, classic comic confusion ensues as Fancourt Babberley, posing as "Charley's Aunt", tricks Spettigue into agreeing to the marriage of his ward, the real aunt marries Jack's father, Jack gets Miss Verdun, and Fanny Babs regains the fortune he lost at gambling as well as the girl he loves.

Charley's Aunt was first produced in 1892 at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. It was a huge success and transferred to at the Royalty Theatre in London and then to the Globe (now the Gielgud Theatre) in 1893, achieving the record-breaking run of four years. It premiered on Broadway in 1894 the Standard Theatre. Widely considered one of the most sensational comedies of all time, the play has long been performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 women, 6 men

What people say:

"There's plenty of life in the nonagenarian Charley's Aunt. Brandon Thomas's farce, which had its premiere in London on Dec. 21, 1892, was reportedly the most popular play among amateur theatrical groups some 60 years later, having been translated into more than a score of languages." — New York Times

"When British playwright Brandon Thomas penned this lighthearted romp in 1892, he could have no idea this sojourn through the romantic mis-adventures of three upper crust Oxford chums would still be actively produced worldwide more than a hundred years later, or that, over the years, it would boost the careers of such Hollywood stalwarts as Jack Benny, Ray Bolger, Jose Ferrer and Rene Auberjonois." — Variety

"Charley's Aunt is to Brandon Thomas what Louie Louie was to the Kingsmen. Thomas had only one enduring hit – but brother, what a hit it was. At its peak, Charley's Aunt (1892) ran simultaneously y in 48 theatres in 22 languages, including Esperanto and Zulu. Today, it's still a popular chestnut. Charley's Aunt is regularly staged worldwide." — Times-Colonist (Victoria, B.C.)

About the Playwright:

Walter Brandon Thomas (1850 to 1914) was an English actor, playwright and song writer. He is best known for writing the comic play Charley's Aunt, which broke all historic records for plays of any kind, with an original London run of 1,466 performances.