CIRCE

"ELLEN BLOOM
(In pantomime dame's stringed mobcap, widow Twankey's crinoline and bustle, blouse with muttonleg sleeves buttoned behind, grey mittens and cameo brooch, her plaited hair in a crispine net," (U15.282)

Widow Twankey is a character in the pantomime Aladdin. She is a pantomime dame (i.e., a female character played by a man) who runs a Chinese laundry in Peking, China. She has 2 sons: Aladdin, the hero of the pantomime, and Wishy Washy (or Wishee Washee), who just helps in the laundry. She is not pivotal in the plot, but more a source of jokes and innuendo, mostly centred on items of underwear on the washing line. The first Widow Twankey was played by James Rogers at the Strand Theatre in 1861. This photo shows Dan Leno in the role.

(Image courtesy of the ZJJF)