One of GBS’ ‘Plays Political’, The Apple Cart (1928) is a satirical comedy which follows the fictional English King Magnus as he spars with, and ultimately outwits, Prime Minister Proteus and her cabinet, who seek to strip the monarchy of its remaining political influence.

Shaw’s preface describes the play as:

‘… 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.

The play was completed in December 1928 and first performed at Warsaw (in Polish) the following June.  Its English première was at the first Malvern Drama Festival in August 1929.

Shaw based King Magnus largely on himself, and Amanda Postlethwaite, the ‘Powermistress-General’, is said by the biographers of Beatrice Webb to be modelled on Susan Lawrence, an old colleague of Shaw’s from the Fabian Society.

The Cast

DirectorMichael Arnell
Assistant DirectorKate Fysh
The Palace 
King MagnusIan Moth
Queen JemimaKathryn Ward
Princess AliceSusan Simpson
SemproniusRobbie Gwinnett
TapnellCory Gibbs
VanhattanJoel Leverton
The Government 
ProteusGinnie Orrey
Amanda PostlethwaiteFiona Gwinnett
LysistrataMarylyn Ford
BoanergesColin Ford
NicobarDavid Stradling
CrassusChris Hicks
PlinyCarole Crow
BalbusNick Turvey

Production photos