The Rivals

A classy revival of one of the 18th Century's most popular comedy of manners.


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Richard Brinsley Sheridan's hilarious comedy of manners The Rivals is also a romance told with unconventional wit and emotion. Set in Bath, a British resort town, The Rivals details just how far a group of society well-to-dos will go in order to capture the elusive magic of love. Miss Lydia Languish, an idealistic and wealthy young woman, insists on marrying a poor man for the sake of true love; as a result, the equally wealthy Captain Jack Absolute, who loves Lydia body and soul, must offer himself to her in the guise of a poor naval officer. A number of secondary characters take part in Jack's pursuit, including the acrimonious Sir Anthony Absolute, Jack's father; the infamously misspoken Mrs. Malaprop, Lydia's aunt; and the likable Bob Acres, Jack's former friend and future foe. Filled with extravagant characters, exuberant energy and numerous farcical devices, The Rivals is a joyous romp that skewers marriage, class and wealth.

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