Lords of Mischief:Clown Cricket and Dan Leno

Clown Cricket and Dan Leno by Eric Midwinter

Several colourful troupes of clowns travelled the nation bringing to huge crowds a jaunty parade, an uproarious cricket match against the local club, much music and dancing, plus an enjoyable concert in the evening.

They did so for some twenty years in the Victorian age, visiting hundreds of towns where they were warmly welcomed. Then, in the Edwardian period, the stellar clown Dan Leno recaptured this bright concept for charitable purposes.

Unbelievably, this happy marriage of sport and show business has earned only ephemeral mention in the annals of either cricket or music hall and circus: indeed, it might be argued it was sometimes swept under the official carpet by prudish authority.

Until now.

For the first time ever, and with a magnificent array of dazzling illustration, the full tale of clown cricket is told by renowned author Eric Midwinter, with its origins explained and its routines described — with all placed in its social context with reflections on cricket and theatre connections up to the present era.

The collaboration has been unique. Members of both the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians and the British Music Hall Society have helped with the research and picture finding.

Lords of Mischief fills a gap in the story of both fields in a joyous celebration of this coming together of cricketing and clowning.

Softback Cover, 143 pages fully illustrated.
Published: July 2022.

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