[NORMANBY, Lord]. Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden. This present Thursday, January 24, 1828, will be acted (for the 2d time) a new Domestic Tragedy called The Serf; or the Russian Brothers …
[London:] Printed by W. Reynolds …  [1828].
Playbill (354 × 209 mm), in very good condition.
‘Its success was unequivocal: and if tragedy, or the representation of passion at all can draw houses in these laughter-loving days, the Serf will prove a grand attraction. For our own parts, we may say that it gave us a sincerer pleasure than we have experienced at the theatre for many a day’ (London Magazine).

‘The scene is laid in Russia, and the fraternal strife of two princely-born brothers, one legitimate, the other illegitimate, both enamoured of the same lady, forms the subjects of the plot. In consequence of the parent at his death not manumitting the illegitimate brother, who had arrived at high military honours, and was betrothed to the Countess of Olga, the legitimate brother, instigated by jealousy, takes advantage of the Russian law, declares the other to be his serf, and degrades him to the rank of domestic slave. The result naturally is that the most deadly rancour supervenes; and in the denouement they perish by one another’s swords. The piece, on the whole, was respectable, but not enthusiastically received, though announced for repetition amidst partial applause’ (Gentleman’s Magazine).

I was unable to find that the play was ever printed at the time, and it is not listed in Cross, The Russian Theme in English Literature.

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