Author(s): John Gay
The tale of Peachum, thief-taker and informer, conspiring to send the dashing and promiscuous highwayman Macheath to the gallows, became the theatrical sensation of the eighteenth century. In "Beggar's Opera", John Gay turned conventions of Italian opera riotously upside-down, instead using traditional popular ballads and street tunes, while also indulging in political satire at the expense of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. Gay's highly original depiction of the thieves, informers, prostitutes and highwaymen thronging the slums and prisons of the corrupt London underworld proved brilliantly successful in exposing the dark side of a corrupt and jaded society.
Born in 1685, John Gay's first major success was THE SHEPHERD'S WEEK. It was followed by a number of other works, the most enduring of which is THE BEGGAR'S OPERA. Gay died in 1732, and is remembered as a popular and genial man whose self-penned epitaph reads 'Life is a jest, and all things show it, I thought it once, and now I know it'. Loughrey and Treadwell worked together at Roehampton Institute and have both published in scholarly journals.