upsetting ones apple cart

The Apple Cart

The Apple Cart: A Political Extravaganza is a 1929 play by George Bernard Shaw. Though it offers some laughs, the play is primarily a reflection on a number of political philosophies and characters who frequently deliver lengthy speeches defending their views. It follows the fictional King Magnus and his mistress Orinthia as they match wits with a Prime Minister, Proteus, who seeks to strip the monarchy of its remaining political powers. As Shaw puts it succinctly in the Preface it is "a comedy in which a King defeats an attempt by his popularly elected Prime Minister to deprive him of the right to influence public opinion through the press and the platform: in short, to reduce him to a cipher. The King's reply is that rather than be a cipher he will abandon his throne and take his obviously very rosy chance of becoming a popularly elected Prime Minister himself."


  • Sempronius Civil Servant
  • Pamphilius Civil Servant
  • Boanerges President of the Board of Trade
  • King Magnus''
  • Orinthia King's Mistress
  • Alice Princess Royal
  • Proteus Prime Minister
  • Pliny Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Nicobar Foreign Secretary
  • Crassus Colonial Secretary
  • Balbus Home Secretary
  • Amanda Postmistress General
  • Lysistrata Powermistress General
  • Vanhattan American Ambassador
  • The Queen

  • Entire text of the play, including a lengthy Preface and articles relating to the play can be found at

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