Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Atkinson, Joseph

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ATKINSON, JOSEPH (1743–1818), dramatist, was born in Ireland, and served in the army until he obtained a captain's commission. In 1785 he produced a comedy in Dublin, the ‘Mutual Deception,’ which, in the following year, was altered by Colman, the serious scenes being omitted, and, under the title of ‘Tit for Tat,’ presented at the Haymarket. Atkinson professed himself indebted to an Italian original for the comic portion of his play, which was found closely to resemble the earlier comedies of the ‘Double Deceit’ and ‘Love's Metamorphosis,’ first performed in 1735 and 1776 respectively. In 1786 Atkinson produced in Dublin ‘A Match for a Widow, or the Frolics of Fancy,’ an opera in three acts, the music by Dibdin, founded upon a French comedy which Mrs. Inchbald had previously converted into the English play of the ‘Widow's Vow,’ and of which Miss Sheridan had availed herself in writing her farce of the ‘Ambiguous Lover.’ In 1800 Captain Atkinson produced at the Cork Street Theatre a comic opera called ‘Love in a Blaze,’ borrowed from a French play, which had done duty in an English form as ‘Gallic Gratitude’ at Covent Garden in 1779. The music to ‘Love in a Blaze’ was composed by Dr. (afterwards Sir) John Stevenson, to whose assistance the production is said to have been indebted for the success it obtained.

[Thespian Dictionary, 1805; Genest's History of the Stage, 1832.]

D. C.