The Beaux Stratagem, Norwich

FRANK CLIFF Like his Recruiting Officer Farquhar's The Beaux Stratagem broke the mould of Restoration Comedy in featuring provincial as opposed to London life.

FRANK CLIFF

Like his Recruiting Officer Farquhar's The Beaux Stratagem broke the mould of Restoration Comedy in featuring provincial as opposed to London life.

The broad social spectrum of its characters, more earthy and three-dimensional than those of some of the more genteel contemporary comedies made it one of the most popular plays of its age and makes it one of the most frequently revived today.

Tim Seeley's excellent production for the Maddermarket moves the play along at a cracking pace helped by the ingenious and elegant design of John Stokes.

Turlough Lloyd's dashing Aimwell and Peter Moore's versatile Archer are brilliant foils for each other as the two beaux whose stratagem is to restore their depleted fortunes. Equally well contrasted are Amy Cudden, an attractive and convincing Dorind and Elena Hewett who grew in stature throughout the evening in the more complex role of the unhappily married Mrs Sullen; in this production deprived of one of her would-be lovers Count Bellair.

From the rest of an excellent cast mention must be made of Kay Hill's feisty Cherry and Noel Jones as the splendidly irresolute highwayman Gibbet. Flashes of comic genius from Trevor Markworth as Foigard; Irish renegade disguised as French priest and Barnaby Matley's Scrub who can suggest more than enough with one shifty look.

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t Continues until July 5. Box office: 01603 620917.

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