Paul Pry (play)

Infobox Play
name = Paul Pry

image_size =
caption =
writer = John Poole
chorus =
characters = Paul Pry
mute =
setting =
date of premiere = 1825
country of Origin = England
original language = English
series =
subject =
genre = Farce

"Paul Pry" (1825), a farcical comedy in three acts, was the most notable play written by 19th century English playwright John Poole. It premiered in London on 1825-09-13 [cite book |url= |pages=pp.780 |title=Encyclopaedia britannica; a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, 11th edition |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1910-11 |publisher=The Encyclopaedia britannica Co |location=New York |oclc=1303014] at the Haymarket Theatre and ran 114 performances. The play continued to be popular until the early 1870s.


The storyline is centered around a comical, idle, meddlesome and mischievous fellow consumed with curiosity. Unable to mind his own business, he's an interfering busybody who conveniently leaves behind an umbrella everywhere he goes in order to have an excuse to return and eavesdrop. At the end, however, Pry becomes a hero for rescuing papers from a well that incriminate more serious troublemakers. [cite web |url= |title=American Theater Guide: Paul Pry |accessdate=2008-07-22 |coauthors= |date= |work= |] [cite web |url= |title=Dictionary of Phrase and Fable |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last=Brewer |first=E. Cobham |date=1898 |work= |] cite web |url= |title=John Liston as Paul Pry |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |] "Cherry Ripe", the 17th century English folk song to words by the English poet Robert Herrick, is adapted into the play.cite web |url= |title=Paul Pry 1825 |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |]


Rumors abounded that the Pry character was based on the eccentric Thomas ("Tommy") Hill, editor of the "Dramatic Mirror", who took daily walks with Poole at Kensington Gardens. [cite web |url= |title=Kensington Gardens |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |] However, Poole was quoted in magazines as saying,

"The idea was really suggested by an old invalid lady who lived in a very narrow street, and who amused herself by speculating on the neighbors, and identifying them, as it were, by the sound of the knocks they gave... It was not drawn from an individual, but from a class. I could mention five or six persons who were contributors to the original play." [cite book |url= |pages=267 |title=Sobriquets and Nicknames |last=Frey |first=Albert R. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1887 |publisher=Whittaker |location=London |oclc=187041119]


In the original 1825 London production, Madame Vestris sang "Cherry Ripe", and John Liston portrayed the title character. His costume included striped pants, hessian boots, top hat, and tailcoat. Liston's portrayal was so popular that images of Liston as Pry appeared on signs, shops, warehouses, handkerchiefs, and snuff boxes. Porcelain and pearlware factories in Staffordshire, Rockingham, Derby and Worcestershire produced figurines of Liston as Pry. The Liston as Pry image was even stamped on butter.cite web |url= |title=Papers and Porcelains |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |]

The following year, in 1826, the play was produced in New York City at the Park Theatre, featuring Thomas Hilson. [cite web |url= |title=American Theater Guide: Paul Pry |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |]

It returned to London's Adelphi Theatre, for the 1851-52 season, featuring Edward Wright and Sarah Woolgar, receiving extensive, positive press comment. [cite web |url= |title=Seasonal Summary for 1851-1852 |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |]

The play wasn't produced in Australia until Friday, 1890-12-19, when it premiered at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, featuring John Lawrence Toole. [cite web |url= |title=DECEMBER 1890 |accessdate=2008-07-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |]


External links

* [ Paul Pry, definition] at Dictionary of American Regional English, p. 59
* [ Etching, 1827/28, Paul Pry as humanly dressed monkey]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Paul Pry — may refer to:* Paul Pry (play) , 1825 English play * Paul Pry (1831 1836), newspaper published by Anne Royall * The Adventures of Paul Pry , nine stories by author Erle Stanley Gardner * William Heath s artist pseudonym …   Wikipedia

  • paul pry — ˈpȯlˈprī noun (plural paul prys) Usage: usually capitalized both Ps Etymology: after Paul Pry meddlesome hero of the comedy Paul Pry (1825) by John Poole died 1872 English playwright : an excessively inquisitive person we don t want any Paul… …   Useful english dictionary

  • pry — Synonyms and related words: Paul Pry, Paul Pry, Peeping Tom, backseat driver, bar, beam, beat the bushes, bend the eyes, boom, burrow, busybody, cant hook, claw bar, crank, crow, crowbar, delve, delve into, dig, dig into, direct the eyes,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • John Poole (playwright) — Infobox Writer name = John Poole caption = pseudonym = birthdate = 1786 birthplace = deathdate = 1872 deathplace = occupation = Playwright and author nationality = English period = 1810 ndash;1872 genre = Satire, farce subject = movement = = 1959 …   Wikipedia

  • George Grossmith — (9 December 1847 ndash; 1 March 1912) was an English comedian, writer, composer, actor, and singer. His performing career spanned more than four decades. As a writer and composer, he created 18 comic operas, nearly 100 musical sketches, some 600… …   Wikipedia

  • mess around — Synonyms and related words: Paul Pry, bat out, botch, bungle, busybody, butt in, coquet, dabble, dally, dash off, do anyhow, do by halves, do carelessly, do offhand, doodle, fake up, fiddle, fiddle with, fiddle faddle, fidget with, finger with,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • Royall, Anne Newport — orig. Anne Newport born June 11, 1769, New Baltimore, Md. died Oct. 1, 1854, Washington, D.C., U.S. U.S. writer, generally considered the nation s first newspaperwoman. Royall journeyed across the country and during 1826–31 published 10 accounts… …   Universalium

  • Zeitungen u. Zeitschriften — Zeitungen u. Zeitschriften, literarische Erzeugnisse, welche an bestimmten Orten u. zu bestimmten Zeiten erscheinend, Nachrichten über Gegenstände bringen od. Fragen erörtern, welche gerade nur für die Zeit Interesse haben. Während das Wort… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Frederick Hobson Leslie — Frederick George Hobson, known as Fred Leslie (1 April 1855 ndash; 7 December 1892), was an English actor, singer, comedian and dramatist.Beginning his career in operetta, Leslie became best known for starring in, and writing (under the pseudonym …   Wikipedia

  • quidnunc — n gossip, gossipmonger, rumormonger, newsmonger, newshound, scandalmonger, Sl. yenta, Archaic. flibbertigibbet; meddler, intermeddler, busybody, pry, Paul pry, snoop, Inf. snooper, Inf. busy, Inf. nosy, Inf. nosybody, Inf. nosy Parker, Inf.… …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.