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The Beaux’ Stratagem

By Leslie Milk

The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar, adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig, is a frothy farce about English society with just enough intelligence to keep things interesting.

One look at James Kronzer’s delightfully elaborate set, complete with doors for quick exits, drapes and screens to hide behind, and props aplenty and you have a pretty good idea of what lies ahead. George Farquhar’s late-Restoration comedy, first performed in 1707, provides ample opportunity for farce as it follows the adventures of two young rakes bent on matrimony for financial gain.

The two arrive in a country town, masquerade as a titled lord and his servant, and attempt to entice a wealthy young beauty. But their plans are complicated by a hilarious cast of local characters including a minister who moonlights as a highwayman and the lady of the house who fancies herself a healer of the sick.
The minister with a deep, personal attachment to sin is deftly played by Rick Foucheux. The incomparable Nancy Robinette plays Lady Bountiful with maniacal glee. These characters are so delightful that the two heroes pale in comparison.

Veanne Cox shines as Lady Bountiful’s droll daughter-in-law who—saddled with a sot of a husband—survives, wit intact, despite the idiocy around her. Her quiet delivery gets the biggest laughs in an evening with laughs aplenty.

The Beaux’ Stratagem is a delicious piece of nonsense, beautifully mounted and acted. There are no deep lessons to be learned and no dark emotions to be probed. It is just a fun night in the theater.

14. Nov 2006

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