Florence Marryat on the stage Florence Marryat on the stage

Florence Marryat was both an actress and a playwright. As such, many of her novels have a strong theatrical theme, or plots that lent themselves to stage adaptation. Although a number of her novels were adapted for the stage, it wasn’t always with her consent. She wrote a letter to The Era in December 1886 to complain that Blythe had adapted Her World Against a Lie and Phyllida without acknowledgement, and also alluded to Daly’s Pique, based on Her Lord and Master. The absence of copyright laws meant that theatre managers could adapt novels with impunity, leaving the author with no recognition or royalties.

Marryat did herself adapt Her World Against a Liewith George Neville and took the role of Hephzibah Horton when the play opened at the Adelphi Theatre in February 1881. In 1871 she co-authored Miss Chester with Sir Charles Young, and it enjoyed a run at the Holborn Theatre, although not critical acclaim. 1888 saw the appearance of The Golden Goblet, a theatrical entertainment devised with her son Frank. Her final play, a collaboration with Henry McPherson, was The Gamekeeper, which was produced at Brighton in 1898.

Marryat was also renowned for having a powerful pair of lungs and used them to good effect in Entre Nous, a musical review with George Grossmith. The pair toured extensively during 1876-77 and later both took roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Marryat as Lady Sangazure in The Sorcerer and Lady Jane in Patience. 1883 saw her tour with her one-woman show Love Letters, which was a great success.