THEATRE REVIEW: The Beaux’ Stratagem

WORTH A LOOK: ***

WHERE: National Theatre

WHEN: 6/8 runs to 20/9

Beaux Aimwell (Samuel Barnett) and Archer (Geoffrey Streatfield), down on their luck and planning to fleece heiresses, are the best reasons to see this adaptation of George Farquhar’s 1707 comedy.

The chemistry between them is terrific and Barnett (History Boys, and TV’s Vicious, 2012, Not Safe For Work and Beautiful People) in particular is especially hilarious as he falls for his prey.

Elsewhere we have an unhappily married woman, her drunken husband, a highwayman, an innkeeper on the make and his daughter to complicate the plot. The cast is nicely rounded out by jealous butler Scrub (Pearce Quigley).

The comedy in Simon Godwin’s production is at its most entertaining when the onstage musicians lend a hand with The Trifling Song, performed twice, most memorably when the entire cast joins in for the finale and this enthusiastic matinee audience claps along in time.

We saw Mark Gatiss, currently starring in Three Days In The Country at the same venue, in the audience. Brilliant to witness such theatrical camaraderie.

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