George Farquhar ‘s final play and greatest hit was written in 1707. The playwright had great success in his time, but is rarely performed today. This is a pity, if this production is any indication of his talent and not just that of the director and cast.
Antoni Cimolono directed two of my favourite Stratford actors in the lead roles – Colm Feore as Archer and Mike Shara as Aimwell. With Bethany Jillard as Dorinda, Lucy Peacock as Mrs Sullen, Scott Wentworth as Squire Sullen and Martha Henry as Lady Bountiful, one could hardly ask for anything more. (note the season reference!)
And yet there were more, with a supporting cast that included Michael Blake, Evan Buliung, Tara Rosling and Chick Reid among others.
The story is simple: two poor men decide to pretend to be rich, marry a wealthy woman and live happy ever after. Chaos ensues. There is a happy ending. And no one who saw it will ever forget Lady Bountiful leaving the stage waving the large zucchini, which (we are told) was grown by Lucy Peacock’s husband.
Great fun and a great production.