In the 19th century in England a new theatrical genre developed: the melodrama, that was an extremely simple and short play with superficial and stereotypical characters and in which good always won over evil. In this period also developed the music hall,that was a variety entertainment with songs, jokes, acrobats and belly dancers. This theatrical genre used taboo subjects such as sex through the employment of double meaning and it tended towards slapstick (comicità grossolana). The people usually went to the theatre to enjoy something carefree, exciting and funny. Much space was given to music and sound effects in order to create emotion and sensations, while the characters were stiff and flat. Were built the small theatres, that presented modern innovations like gas lighting, which replaced candles and sophisticated machinery, like the "box-set".
Oscar Wilde was certainly the most outstanding representative of the poetry of the Aesthetic Movement, but he is better known for his activity as a playwright. He gave fantasy, vivacity and a breath of new life to drama. His comedies, full of humor, intrigued and fascinated the audience.