A brief history of the popular 19th century farce
The following article was originally published in A Dictionary of the Drama. W. Davenport Adams. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1904.

A "romance of real life," in one act, by J. Maddison Morton, Box and Cox was adapted from the Frisette of Mm. Labiche and Lefranc (Palais Royal, April. 1846), with some indebtedness to La Chambre à Deux Lits. It was first performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on November 1, 1847, with J.B. Buckstone as John Box, Harley as James Cox, and Mrs. Macnamara as Mrs. Bouncer. "Though every comedian for the last thirty-five years has played the farce, I have never," said Edmund Yates, "seen so thoroughly artistic a conception of Box as that of Charles Mathews, who took the part when Harley left the theatre." The piece was played at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, London, in 1867 with G. Honey as Box, J. Hare as Cox, and Mrs. Leigh Murray as Mrs. Bouncer; and at the Haymarket Theatre on October 16, 1889, with H. Nicholls as Cox, E.M. Robson as Box, and Mrs. E. Phelps as Mrs. Bouncer. It was first performed in America at the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, with W.E. Burton and Joseph Jefferson in the title rôles.

The popularity of Box and Cox suggested the production of Box and Cox Married and Settled: a farce in one act, by J. Stirling Coyne, first performed at the Haymarket on October 15, 1852, with Buckstone as Box, Keeley as Cox, Coe as "an anonymous gent," Mrs. Caulfield as Mrs. Box, Mrs. Buckingham as Mrs. Cox, and Mrs. Selby as Mrs. Bouncer. Box and Cox was afterwards adapted to the lyric stage under the title of Cox and Box.


  • The Earliest English Comedies - A history of the development of English comedy; specifically examines Nicholas Udall's Ralph Roister Doister and the anonymous Gammer Gurton's Needle.
  • Purchase Box and Cox

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