Academic journal article Theatre Notebook

Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage, Scripts, Music and Context

Academic journal article Theatre Notebook

Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage, Scripts, Music and Context

Article excerpt

Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage, Scripts, Music and Context

Roger Clegg and Lucie Skeaping (eds.)

University of Exeter Press, 2014

30 [pounds sterling], pb., 352 pp., 14 b/w ill.

ISBN 9780859898782

That dramatic performances in the Early Modern period were often, if not always, succeeded by some form of jig is well-known to every student. But in searching for information the industrious scholar is generally driven back to C.R. Baskerville's 1929 study--surely one of the very few works of its period still to be regularly cited. Roger Clegg and Lucie Skeaping give new life and presence to this elusive genre in their study which, after a detailed introduction that synthesizes recently published scholarship, offers performance texts of nine surviving jigs.

As the Introduction makes abundantly clear, the jig is a genre that can only be loosely defined. It is "a meeting point of various branches of song, dance, slapstick, sword-play, satire, word-play and popular comedy, most characteristically taking the form of short musical dramas, and featuring ebullient stock characters and dialogue feathered with double entendre" (12). Furthermore, jigs were not necessarily confined to the London stage--two of the jigs printed here survive only in court records, as evidence in libel suits brought by those who felt they had been defamed in impromptu performances of tales adapted to particular local circumstances. …

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