local boy R.B. Sheridan wrote The Rivals in London. Oscar Wilde wrote in Oxford, Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in Whitby, James Joyce wrote in Dublin and his work is damn confusing!! Anyway, The Rivals is the third Restoration Comedy I have seen, I saw Etherege's Man of Mode at the National Theatre starring Tom Hardy and Rory Kinnear, and that was effing brilliant. Wycherly's The Country Wife with Toby Stephens was less memorable, though the sets were psychedelic. Yes, Man of Mode was extremely good, with lavish revolving sets, modern dress and music, it was inventive and spectacular. The Rivals at the Abbey Theatre (founded by Yeats and Lady Augusta) was done with much less expense, with less set and props! But it was perfect.
The company was so good. These actors were fabulously funny (maybe the clown was a bit grating, but hey ho, the American kids in front of us loved him!) everyone was wonderful. Especially Nick Dunning as the father, he had perfect comic timing and Marion O'Dwyer as Mrs Malaprop, a brilliant character to play. Of course Sheridan is really behind it all, the scenes that worked best were the ones when just two actors were on stage speaking at each other- a different battle of wits every ten minutes. Jesus, it was only a preview but they were bringing the house down. It was by far the best production I've seen for ages. Oh, and the costumes were amazing.