To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Farquhar’s death, Michael Sargent directs a lively cast to resurrect this early restoration work that paved the way for Sheridan, in this delightful new space in Hoxton, London.
Richard McStay steps in at the last minute to the role of Archer, the dominant of two flamboyant friends, seeking wealthy wives after frittering away their money in London. Not that you would notice as he plays the part with poise and confidence while Gareth Rubin’s laid back Aimwell is cool and sensitive.
It is a shame that the relationship between the two characters is not developed more in the script as there is not always the close physical familiarity between the two actors playing long-time chums.
It is difficult not to play a brawly restoration caper without some cliches, but the supporting cast overcome this with depth to substantiate comic characters, especially Lane Paul Stewart’s hunched Scrub and Paul Strickland’s down-mouthed Sullen. Denis Delahunt and Susanna Tidy play jolly father to exasperated daughter Cherry with vigour. Lucy Le Messurier’s Mrs Sullen has sincerity but seems awkward standing in the middle of the stage during her speeches. Only Beatrice Rose’ soppy Dorinda seems two-dimensional.