… effervescent Restoration comedy … 

RSC The Swan Restoration Shakespeare

Sophie Stanton absolutely shines as the exuberant Mrs Rich. It’s obvious she is having the time of her life as this widow in search of QUALITY to match her enormous wealth. Surrounded by tricksters and card sharps, her adventures rattle along at a tremendous pace and comes to a satisfying conclusion, with all flapping subplots neatly squared away.

The whole cast look like they are having a ball: with the sprightly Daisy Badger as Lady Landsworth, trying to test the quality of her chosen suitor, Clerimont; Aretha Ayeh struggling with her fan as the young Lucinda Rich; and Jessica Turner as the artful, Mrs Clerimont.

This play was written in 1700 by playwright, Mary Pix. She wrote the characters of Mrs Rich and Lady Landsworth for especially for leading actors of the day, Elizabeth Barry and Anne Bracegirdle; and the play’s delightful theme of female ambition against society’s limitations has a particularly modern feel about it. The male parts are secondary to the action and it makes to a refreshing change to see women take centre stage in this Restoration comedy.

The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (or the Beau Defeated) by Mary Pix is at the Swan Theatre, RSC, Stratford Upon Avon until 14 June. (Running time: 2 hrs 20 mins + 20 mins interval). Further details can be found on their website here.