Yet John H. Dorenkamp, in his 1967 edition of the play, rejects Beaumont's presence and attributes Acts I, II, and V to Massinger. (Dorenkamp agrees with Hoy and earlier critics in assigning Acts III and IV to Fletcher; Fletcher's distinctive pattern of strylistic and textual preferences makes his contribution easy to recognize.)
The question of Beaumont's possible authorial contribution complicates the question of the play's date. Beggars' Bush enters the historical record when it was performed for the Court at Whitehall Palace by the King's Men in the Christmas season of 1622 (on the evening of December 27, "St. John's Day at night"). Some commentators argue that the play was probably new and current in that year, and was likely written shortly before — which would eliminate Beaumont, who had died in 1616. Scholars who favor Beaumont's presence must date the play prior to 1616, though evidence for such an early date is lacking.
The picture is also clouded by the question of the nature of Massinger's contribution; some critics have seen him as a direct collaborator with Fletcher, others merely as the reviser of an earlier Beaumont and Fletcher play. The text does show some of the discontinuities that can frequently be found in revised plays. (In the opening scene, for example, the usurper Woolfort calls Florez by his pseudonym Goswin, something he should not know.)
Beggars' Bush was revived and adapted during the Restoration era. Samuel Pepys saw an early production at Gibbon's Tennis Court on November 20, 1660. In a January 3, 1661 performance of the play, Pepys, for the first time in his life, saw women appear onstage. One popular adaptation titled The Royal Merchant was published, probably in 1706 (the quarto is undated). This was later adapted into a opera, which was published in 1768. Another adaptation, called The Merchant of Bruges, was printed in 1816, 1824, and 1834. And John Dryden modeled the main plot of his Marriage A-la-Mode (1672) on Beggars' Bush.
Although the timeframe is inconsistent, Beggars' Bush is set seven years after a fictional war between Flanders and Brabant. The victorious Flemish general Woolfort has usurped the throne of Flanders. The rightful royal family, including Gerrard and his daughter Jaculin, have fled, their current whereabouts unknown. Gerrard has adopted a masquerade as Claus, who is elected king of the beggars. Other characters also maintain disguises and have hidden identities, including the missing daughter of the Duke of Brabant. The play's plot shows the working-out of these complexities and the restoration of the rightful rulers; true lovers are also re-united. Yet the play also contains serious aspects that have caused it to be classified as a tragicomedy by some commentators; "Through mixed modes Beggars Bush exhibits serious sociopolitical concerns to earn a classification that at first seems incongruous — a political tragicomedy.
New store project sparks traffic fear NEW OSCOTT: Lidl hope to open supermarket by congested Beggars Bush junction
Jun 29, 2006; A NOTORIOUS Sutton Coldfield road junction is set to become even more congested if plans for a new supermarket are approved, say...