Sheridan’s romantic comedy The Rivals gets a modern day makeover
Transposing Brinsley Sheridan’s Georgian-set romantic farce into 1920s Monte Carlo plays out well in this new production by The King’s Players.
The playwright’s tongue in cheek take on young love and the plotting of their moneyed guardians, hell-bent on dowries and prestige, is still the plot’s basis.
Main couple, handsome Jack Absolute (Pearce Sampson) and na�ve young Lydia Languish (Lucy Walker-Evans) are about to be matched up by his comically malevolent father and her nutty aunt.
But little do the plotting duo know that Lydia is already in love with pauper Beverley – who is actually Jack taking on the guise of a free wheeling young cad.
Once Lydia realises she has been lied to, it is up to smooth operator Jack to sweet talk, manipulate and eventually duel his way back into her heart.
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The interchanges between Pearce Sampson and David Bentley, who plays his father Sir Anthony, are hilariously wry.
While the outmoded language does sometimes appear a bit out of line with the 1920s, the play worked well in its new form at pub stage, Upstairs At The Gatehouse.
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Part of the Camden Fringe, it shows reworks still have a place in local theatre.
For future shows see upstairsatthegatehouse.com