Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1774, The Rivals is a romance told with unconventional wit and emotion, and is one of the funniest jewels of late-Restoration comedy. In order to woo the idealistic Lydia Languish, to whom wealth means nothing, Captain Absolute offers himself to her as a poor naval officer. Standing between the two lovers is an extraordinary collection of comic characters: the captain’s acrimonious father, Sir Anthony Absolute; Lydia’s quick-tongued aunt, Mrs. Malaprop; and the affable Bob Acres, the captain’s friend turned rival. An ingenious play with keenly drawn characters, The Rivals is not just a romantic comedy but a human comedy about the lengths one goes to capture true love. Director Keith Baxter returns to the Theatre to direct this comedy of errors and mistaken identities.
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