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Mrs Midnight

Whats in a name ?


In the middle of the eighteenth century, Mrs Midnight (i.e. Christopher Smart in drag) used to run a number of burlesque shows in pubs - if they had music or animal acts they could evade the law that said there should only be 2 theatres in London. So they would sometimes have animal acts (this is a pic of one), or MUSIC to get round the claim that they were theatrical perfomances - because Mrs M. did lots of 'orating' - often quite radical, politically.
Of most interest to us is the fact that the music part was all based on the opposition to the vogue for Italian opera... so they promised 'Ancient British Music' and used hurdy-gurdies and salt-boxes and jaw's harps & broomhandle string basses. It was very funny - geezer called Skeggs played the bass and they called him 'Skegginello' ... and it was a ROARATORIO... great name for a singing group, I thought... It must have been wonderful, but no-one quite knows what it sounded like!
So anyway, the animals are connected- sort of early version of circus..

More on the music side later!

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