AUTHOR: PEAKE, Richard Brinsley Peake (Mary W. Shelley)
TITLE: Presumption! Or The Fate of Frankenstein. This Evening, Tuesday, Juy 29th, 1823. Will be presented (for the SECOND TIME) an entirely new Romance of a peculiar interest. Theatre Royal, English Opera House, Strand.
PUBLISHER: London, 1823.
DESCRIPTION: THE SECOND PERFORMANCE OF THE FIRST ENGLISH PRODUCTION. Printed letterpress playbill/broadside, 13" x 7-7/8", stab holes to the left margin presumably bound up at one time.
CONDITION: Some mild foxing but largely clean and bright.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The play's author, Richard Brinsley Peake (1792-1847), was a prolific dramatist of the London popular theatre from 1818 until the time of his death. Presumption! appeared at the Lyceum (the English Opera House) in the late summer of 1823. During the autumn of the same year, other serious adaptations of Frankenstein appeared at the Royalty and the Coburg. The part of the Monster was taken by Thomas Potter Cooke (1786-1864), a former sailor who had already earned popular and critical attention by his performance as Ruthven in The Vampire in 1820. The part of Victor Frankenstein was given to James William Wallack (1791-1864), perhaps the most recognized of the Lyceum's coterie of leading men. Presumption! continued to play with great success through the first half of August, always heading the program and followed by other melodramas, farces, or musical comedies. Although Presumption! was not the first successful Gothic melodrama of the 1820s, the popularity it achieved had an immediate effect on London theatre managements. Presumption! had helped to illuminate a public appetite for horrifying stage fantasies with morally unambiguous resolutions. The play was seen by Mary Shelley and her father William Godwin on 29 August 1823 at the English Opera House, shortly after her return to England. Shelley approved of the way the Creature, played by T.P. Cooke, was represented by a series of dashes in the advertising. Mary Shelley had mixed feelings about the play when it opened but, echoing Lord Byron, wrote: "But lo and behold I found myself famous! Frankenstein had prodigious success as a drama and was about to be repeated for the twenty-third night at the English Royal Opera House".