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The Apple Cart

A Political Extravaganza


  • Playwright

    George Bernard (GB) Shaw 

  • Setting

    The Royal Palace, sometime in the future.

  • Synopsis

    Shaw's 1928 preface describes the play as "a comedy in which a King defeats an attempt by his popularly elected Prime Minister to deprive him of the right to influence public opinion through the press and the platform: in short, to reduce him to a cipher. The King's reply is that rather than be a cipher he will abandon his throne and take his obviously very rosy chance of becoming a popularly elected Prime Minister himself." It is believed that the character of King Magnus may have been based on Shaw himself.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female



  • Date of First Production

    19 August 1929

  • Production Notes

    'The Apple Cart' was first produced in Polish at the Teatr Polski in Warsaw in June 1929. The Malvern Festival production listed here was the first performance of the play in English.

  • Producer

  • Original Venue

  • Venue Notes

    Presented at the Festival Theatre, Malvern.

Original Cast  
Mr Vanhattan, the American Ambassador James Carew
Lysistrata, the Powermistress General Eileen Beldon
Pamphilius, a private secretary to the King Wallace Evennett
Sempronius, a private secretary to the King Scott Sunderland
Boanerges, President of the Board of Trade Matthew Boulton
Magnus, King of England Cedric Hardwicke
Alice, the Princess Royal Eve Turner
Proteus, the Prime Minister Charles Carson
Balbus, the Home Secretary Frank Moore
Nicobar, the Foreign Secretary Clifford Marquand
Crassus, the Colonial Secretary Julian d'Albie
Pliny, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Aubrey Mallalieu
Amanda, the Postmistress-General Dorothy Holmes-Gore
Orinthia Edith Evans
Queen Jemima Barbara Everest




The information for this entry was taken from The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw: Volume 6.