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The Rivals Paperback – January 1, 2006
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From the Inside Flap
A L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance with Rosalind Ayres, Kenneth Danziger, Lucy Davis, Neil Dickson, Sarah Drew, Julian Holloway, Christopher Neame, Lloyd Owen, Moira Quirk, Alan Shearman, Simon Templeman and Matthew Wolf. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In his preface Richard Brinsley Sheridan reminds the readers that this play was not initially well received and, in fact, he had to withdraw the play to remove imperfections. His later version was more successful and today The Rivals is one of the few English comedies from that period that continues to interest modern audiences.
I found the beginning slow. The author's wordy preface was followed by a prologue in which two lawyers plead with the audience to give this play fair consideration. On the tenth night a new prologue replaced the pleading as it was now obvious that the revised play was indeed successful. In Act 1 I had some difficulty keeping track of the characters and I chose to reread the first act before proceeding. Thereafter, the going was much smoother and I began to appreciate the foibles of the characters and their confused machinations.
The protagonist, the young Captain Absolute, was sensible for the most part, although his plan to woo the capricious Lydia Languish was obviously destined for trouble. The other characters included his excitable father Sir Anthony Absolute, his father's patient ward Julia, the silly Mrs. Malaprop, the comic gentleman wooers Faulkland, Acres, and Sir Lucius O'Trigger, and the conniving servants Fag, David, Thomas, and Lucy. While Sheridan does encourage us to laugh at his characters, his satire is gentle.Read more ›
Here we meet the chatty Mrs. Malaprop, who proudly tells us "if I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs"; her niece Lydia, lost in the world of lurid half-bound romantic novels; Sir Anthony Absolute, often wrong but never in doubt; Sir Lucious O'Trigger, of BlunderBuss Hall; and the rest. The dialogue and plot devices are well-crafted and funny; the social commentary is perceptive and satisfyingly naughty; but what stays with you is the humanity of each of the characters. These are not the charicatures of Restoration comedy, but personalties the reader will remember; ridiculous like all humans, but engendering empathy as well as laughter.
I know everyone has their own reading style, so this may not bother everyone. However, when I'm reading an older piece of literature, I enjoy looking at footnotes. I'm sure that some skip over them, but I do not. In this edition, however, the footnotes were there, but there were no indications in the text to let me know when to look at the footnotes. The only indication was the line number, which was written right before each footnote. This was irritating to me, and so I went through the whole play ahead of time and marked the parts where I had to look for footnotes, which was very time consuming.
I would definitely recommend reading the play, because it is very funny and there are a number of interesting literary devices going on that I won't go into here, but I would not recommend this particular edition (New Mermaids).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Going to the play? Going to be in the play? You got to read the play.Published 12 months ago by V.J. Lawrence
Ordered this book for a college english class. Shipped fast and was a great deal, why order a new book when there are used ones in great condition!Published on September 23, 2010 by Kristina K