17 Jan: Rebooting ‘The Rivals’

The first night of Richard Sheridan’s classic comedy ‘The Rivals’ did not go according to plan. Critics thought it was too long, the Irish gentry in the audience were insulted, and an actor was pelted with rotten fruit. It closed after one performance on 17th January, 1775.

But then… after eleven days of rewrites, recasting and edits (a process Sheridan called “prunings, trimmings and patchings”), the show re-opened – and became the much-loved hit it remains to this day.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly expose how Sheridan exploited his notoriety in Bath to put bums on seats; unpick how the play’s famous ‘Malapropisms’ achieved seminal status; and revisit the best of Sheridan’s real-life one-liners…

Further Reading:

• ‘The scourge of Bath’ (The Guardian, 2004): https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2004/may/15/theatre

• The Dramatic Works of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Cavan Library): http://www.cavanlibrary.ie/file/Local-Studies/Library-Scanned-Docs/The_dramatic_works_of_Richard_Brinsley_Sheridan.pdf

• ‘What Are Malapropisms?’ (Bright Idea, 2021): 

We had EVEN MORE to say about Sheridan’s second draft. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors or on Apple Podcasts.

(*top two tiers only)

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

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