The Rivals – Arcola Theatre

When I think of classic Restoration comedies, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals is one of the first to spring to mind.  A tangle of mistaken identities, love, lies and of course, malapropisms.  As I walked into the Arcola, I was met with a hubbub of actors getting the stage ready and nattering to the audience, all bathed in a warm candle-like glow and a minimalist set, straight out of an 18th century illustration.

The dashing Captain Jack Absolute has created himself an alter ego, Ensign Beverley and in this guise is planning to elope with his lover, Lydia Languish (who has read one two many romantic novels).  Jack’s father, Sir Anthony and Lydia’s aunt, Mrs Malaprop have arranged that Lydia will marry someone else – Captain Jack Absolute.  You’d think this would make things very simple, but instead Lydia is mortified at the unromantic prospect of marrying someone who has her aunt’s approval.

My tickets were courtesy of Bargain Theatre.  To read the review in full, please click here.

The Rivals is on until Saturday 15th November 2014 at the Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL.  For tickets and more information go to


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