The Beaux Stratagem
by Georges Farquhar
"This version benefits from modernisation … a much wittier play than one might expect. It’s a period romp and Playing Up have done a great job of updating it for a contemporary audience..."
About the play
The Beaux’ Stratagem, a five-act comedy was produced and published in 1707. Farquhar finished the play on his deathbed and died on the night of its third performance.
The story concerns Archer and Aimwell, two penniless rakes from London who decide that in order to renew their fortunes one of them must find and wed a wealthy lady. Aimwell therefore courts Dorinda, the daughter of wealthy Lady Bountiful; meanwhile, Archer, who is posing as Aimwell’s servant, and Lady Bountiful’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Sullen, fall in love. In the course of events, Aimwell and Archer manage to foil a pair of highwaymen and thereby become heroes. Eventually Aimwell inherits the family estate, Mrs. Sullen separates from her brutish drunkard of a husband, and the play ends happily.
In addition to its lively comedy, The Beaux’ Stratagem presents a bold argument for divorce, which is voiced by Mrs. Sullen. Lady Bountiful’s name became a byword for a rich, generous, and somewhat credulous philanthropist.