The Beaux' Stratagem - A Wild Tale of Cash and Love

by George Farquhar, adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig

189th Production. This is a late restoration comedy first produced in 1707 but has been brought completely up to date (in terms of language and easy accessibility) by firstly, Thornton Wilder (who wrote Our Town) in the 30s, and then in 2004 his work was finished by Ken Ludwig (who writes farcical comedies). It is real romp, with highwaymen, wenches, alcoholics and fortune seekers all having a whale of a time. A very funny play with loads of opportunity to play for laughs and play to the audience. At the time it was highly controversial as it questioned the sanctity of marriage and even condones divorce!

Archer and Aimwell are two ‘rollicking young gentlemen’ who have frittered away their fortunes in London and arrive in the country with their last £200 determined to marry rich gullible women. They take turns playing a Lord and his servant and at the local inn in Lichfield they come across a highwayman’s plot to rob a local wealthy family – the Lady Bountiful (who is a completely hopeless ‘healer’), her beautiful daughter Dorinda, her drunken sot of a son (Squire Sullen) and his lovely wife. The innkeeper and his comely daughter Cherry are all involved in the plot and inevitably chaos ensues when our heroes fall first for Cherry and then Dorinda and Mrs Sullen. There’s a random French fop and some hopeless highwaymen and questionable clergy all thrown into the mix as well. See the plot summary on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheBeaux%27Stratagem

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Tom Aimwell - Josh Coombes

(20s-40s) – a gentleman of broken fortune acting as a Lord – in league with Archer – falls in love with Dorinda. A lead role/romantic ‘hero’

Original

Jack Archer - Nick Lund

(20s-40s) – a gentleman of broken fortune acting as his Lord’s servant (‘Martin’) – falls for Cherry but ends up pursuing Mrs Sullen. A lead role/romantic ‘hero’

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Boniface - Paul Foster

(50+) the landlord at the inn – rough and ready but likeable – bit stupid – in league with the highwaymen. Good comedy part

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Cherry - Emma Thompson

Boniface's daughter (20+) – comely and likeable, flirty – falls for Archer when she thinks he’s a servant but soon sees through him. Cleverer than her father. In league with the robbers, but has a conscience. Ends up with Sir Charles.

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Gloss - Marc Anderson

(any age) – a man of two professions – highwayman and clergyman. Slimy, key role with some good lines.

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Lady Bountiful - Linda Russell

(60+) – wealthy mistress of the local mansion where she is head of the household. Advertises herself as a healer and people come from all around to enjoy her bone saw and phlebotomies. Needless to say she is absolutely useless, and lethal, suggesting amputations for the commonest complaint. Riotous comedy part.

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Dorinda - Anderley Walton

(20-40) Lady Bountiful's beautiful unmarried daughter in search of love and adventure. Lead role/’heroine’ – has considerable comic potential

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Squire Sullen - Neil James

(35+) Lady Bountiful's drunken sot of a son who hates his wife and anything that interferes with his drinking. Unpleasant, but great fun to play!

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Mrs Sullen - Louise Elliker

(20-40) - Squire Sullen's long-suffering wife. The other lead ‘heroine’ who has a sharp wit and very modern views on marriage!

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Scrub - Ian Thomas

(any age) – the household servant. Comedy gold as he is involved in several plot devices and joins in the drinking with Sullen and the ‘boys’.

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Sir Charles Freeman - Tony Frier

(45+) – Mrs Sullen’s posh brother – arrives late in the play to help resolve the chaos and the plot! Walks out with Cherry in the end.

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Foigard - Ian Creese

(any age) a French parson anxious to perform a wedding. Supporting role who only arrives at the end. Good comedy cameo with a silly accent.

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A Country Woman - Gillian Smithies

Come for medical help. Small role

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A Lady and Sullen's Servant - Georgina Sandford

Small role. The victim of highwaymen (but not ravished, much to her disappointment)

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Hounslow and Daniel - Julian Humble

With Bagshot, Hounslow are two highwaymen who need to fight with swords

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Bagshot - Tom Keating

With Hounslow – two highwaymen who need to fight with swords

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Director - Mark Humble

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Stage Manager and Props - Clare Pinnock

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Lighting and Sound - Jonathan Miller

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Musical Director - Chris Winslet