A: Arthur Wing Pinero Pf: 1885, London Pb: 1892 G: Farce in 3 acts S: Posket's home, a supper room, and a Magistrate's room, London, 1890s C: 13m, 3fCis Farringdon is a remarkable 14-year-old: he flirts, drinks, and gambles. In fact, he is 19, but his mother Agatha lied about her age when she married her second husband, the amiable Mr Posket, magistrate of the Mulberry Street Police Court. Encouraged by Cis, Posket and Cis go off on a binge to a smart hotel, unaware that Mrs Posket has also gone there secretly. She is meeting Cis's godfather Captain Lukyn, who has just returned from Bengal, in order to persuade him not to reveal the truth about her age. In a police raid for after hours' drinking, everyone but Cis and Posket are arrested, and the next day the dishevelled Posket finds himself passing sentence on his own wife. His fellow magistrate quashes the sentence, and the penitent Agatha admits her real age. When the coat that Posket left at the hotel is found, he too may have to come before the law. Cis, however, will marry his piano teacher, the lovely Beatie, and, thanks to a large financial bribe from his stepfather, will emigrate to Canada.
A: Arthur Wing Pinero Pf: 1885, London Pb: 1892 G: Farce in 3 acts S: Posket's home, a supper room, and a Magistrate's room, London, 1890s C: 13m, 3f
With The Magistrate Pinero not only had an instant success (it ran for 363 performances), but it also was the first in a line of well-plotted and funny farces, influenced by French models, but set in a convincingly English setting. The main focus and source of fun is the title character Posket, a decent man, who is tempted by a supposed 14-year-old, suffers indignities in escaping from the police, passes a severe sentence on a woman defendant only to find out that she is his wife, and then faces criminal charges himself.