Set at the close of the nineteenth century, Rogues and Vagabonds tells the story of three out of work music hall actors who conspire to carry out a daring scam. The Boer War is raging, arousing patriotic fervour for the Empire, and rumblings of discontent, in almost equal measure. The long depression of the 90s has hit the poor hard. As the new century approaches there is talk of Armageddon and the Second Coming. Against this background Maud Peach, Male Impersonator, Bridie O’Faolin, Queen of the Emerald Isle, and Little Tom Higginbottom, Juggler and Trick Cyclist, devise a scheme that will see them beat the poorhouse, and live in comfort for the rest of their lives. The resolution of the story brings together the themes of female liberation; sexual and economic oppression; history’s uncanny ability to repeat itself; and the enduring capacity of human beings to believe in miracles.
Australian version: Vagabonds.