Although first staged over 225 years ago, The Rivals has been one of the most frequently performed plays of the 18th Century, and continues to captivate audiences with its joyous, exuberant energy and a story line worthy of a Whitehall farce.
Lydia Languish yearns for a romantic elopement rather than a more convential marriage. Thus the wealthy Jack Absolute has wooed her in the guise of impecunious Ensign Beverley. Mrs Malaprop, Lydia's aunt and guardian, disapproves of the attachment, and has forbidden her neice to see this penniless suitor.
As the title suggests, there are other rivals trying to win Lydia's hand; namely Acres, a less-than-fashionable country squire, and Sir Lucius O'Trigger, a fortune-hunting Irish baronet.
The plot is further complicated by Mrs Malaprop's own amorous designs on Sir Lucius.
|Sir Anthony Absolute
|Captain Jack Absolute
In love with Beverly
Aunt to Lydia, masquerading as Delia
In love with Julia
A country squire, pursuing Lydia
|Sir Lucius O'Trigger
Friend to Acres, pursuing Delia
Lydia's cousin, in love with Faulkland
Captain Absolute's servant
|Jim Bond, Nick Capey, Ronnie Dykstra, Ian Mairs, Simon Webber, Diana Boswell, Mike Rhodes