Pig in a Poke, as the title suggests, is a play about a case of mistaken identity: expecting a famous tenor to come and perform in his daughter’s rewriting of Faust, the wealthy sugar-baron Pacarel instead receives, unbeknownst to him, the son of his friend Dufausset.
In his introduction, translator Kenneth McLeish writes: 'Pig in a Poke (Chat en poche was first performed in 1888, a year after Feydeau's first big 'hit', Tailleur pour dames. It is a masterpiece of construction, not so much an arch as a continuous escalation of confusion – and the Meilhac/Halévy influence, in that the characters' apparently ordinary dialogue (the kind of language you might have heard in an drawing room of the time) belies the astounding content of what the people are saying or the thoughts inside their heads . . . Pig in a Poke may be chamber music compared to the grand symphonic structures of A Flea in Her Ear or The Girl from Maxim's, but is also one of his most accomplished works.'
Pig in a Poke premiered at the Théâtre Déjazet, Paris, in 1888.