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Restoration comedy among Hostry Festival’s mix of shows

17:11 27 October 2014

The Country Wife in rehearsal for the Hostry Festival. Jo Reil as Margery Pinchwife and Peter Barrow as Mr Pinchwife. Photo: Bill Smith

The Country Wife in rehearsal for the Hostry Festival. Jo Reil as Margery Pinchwife and Peter Barrow as Mr Pinchwife. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant � 2014

A bawdy Restoration comedy from the time of Charles II is the headline show at this year’s Hansells Hostry Festival.

William Wycherley’s play The Country Wife opens at Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry tomorrow and is being performed every night until Saturday.

Performed by a mix of both professional and amateur actors, the show pokes fun at the humourless, the jealous and the adventurous alike.

It features a country wife whose husband believes she is too naive to cuckold him – or is she?

“It’s a bawdy Restoration comedy, really fast and really witty,” said Peter Beck, who is directing the show.

“The show was quite controversial in its day – it talks about the so-called virtuous society which was actually pretty lewd behind the scenes. It was making a social comment about people who pretended they were pure and innocent.”

The Country Wife was first performed in 1675 by the King’s Company at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London.

It was just 15 years after the theatres – closed by the Puritans for 18 years – were reopened following the restoration of King Charles II.

But the show was later banished from the stage for many years.

“Recently there have been a lot of revivals of The Country Wife, and we are doing ours in a very traditional way with big Charles II wigs and costumes,” said Mr Beck.

The Country Wife is at Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry from tomorrow until Saturday Performances at 7.30pm each night.
Tickets £15 (£12 concs). To book call 01603 598676.

Hansells Hostry Festival runs until November 2.

For details of all the festival events visit www.hostryfestival.org

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