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September 02 , 2007

The Return Of A. J. Raffles

An Edwardian comedy in three acts based somewhat loosely on E.W. Hornung's characters in The Amateur Cracksman


This play produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company has as its chief characters A. J. Raffles, the literary creation some seventy odd years ago of E. W. Hornung. The cool daring of the impeccable Amateur Cracksman, always torn between the rival claims of burglary and cricket, ensured his popularity in Edwardian England. Evading the dogged pursuit of Inspector Mackenzie of Scotland Yard, Hornung's character eventually met a hero's death in South Africa in the Boer War.

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Graham Greene's The Return of A. J. Raffles begins some months after. Raffles' loyal assistant Bunny still mourns his friend's death in Raffles' chambers in Albany, despite the blandishments of Lord Alfred Douglas. A visitor forces his way in - Raffles has cheated death as he once cheated Inspector Mackenzie - and immediately Lord Alfred sees in the Amateur Cracksman and Bunny heaven-sent instruments to revenge and disgrace of Oscar Wilde on his odious father, the Marquess of Queensberry...

Graham Green never fails to surprise and delight admirers of his comic genius, and the twists and turns of this story of Edwardian high life, when Raffles returns to the scene of his earlier triumphs, provide a richly satisfying entertainment.

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