Synopses & Reviews
Immensely popular comedy of manners featuring such memorable characters as the lovely Lydia Languish, her suitor, Capt. Jack Absolute; and Lydia's aunt — Mrs. Malaprop, cleverly revolves around false identities, romantic entanglements, and parental disapproval. Brilliant comic masterpiece satirizing the pretentiousness and sentimentality of 18th-century society.
During a brief but brilliant literary career, Irish-born dramatist and statesman Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) wrote cleverly plotted plays that revealed his nimble wit and keen eye for comic situations. Two of them -- The School for Scandal and The Rivals -- are among the funniest in the English language.
The Rivals, brimming with false identities and with romantic entanglements carried on amid a cloud of parental disapproval, satirizes the pretentiousness and sentimentality of the age. It features a cast of memorable characters, among them the lovely Lydia Languish, whose pretty head has been filled with nonsense from romantic novels; Capt. Jack Absolute, a young officer in love with Lydia; Sir Anthony Absolute, Jack's autocratic father; Sir Lucius O'Trigger, a fiery Irishman; and Jack's provincial neighbor, Bob Acres, a bumptious but lovable country squire in love with Lydia.
Hoping to win Lydia's affection, Captain Jack woos the pretty miss by pretending to be a penniless ensign named Beverley, an act that nearly incites a duel with Acres. His actions also provoke serious objections from Lydia's aunt, Mrs. Malaprop, a misspeaking matron whose ludicrous misuse of words gave the English language a new term: malapropism. Ultimately, the hilarious complications are resolved in a radiant comic masterpiece that will entertain and delight theater devotees and students of English drama alike.
Immensely popular comedy of manners featuring such memorable characters as the lovely Lydia Languish, her suitor, Capt. Jack Absolute; and Lydia's aunt -- Mrs. Malaprop, cleverly revolves around false identities, romantic entanglements, and parental disapproval.