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Previewed 27 September 2007, Opened 9 October 2007, Closed 12 January 2008 at the Haymarket Theatre in London
A major revival of William Wycherley's The Country Wife in London starring David Haig, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens with Fiona Glascott in the title role, directed by Jonathan Kent.
One of the greatest and funniest comedies of the Restoration, William Wycherley's The Country Wife tells the story of Horner, a notorious and lascivious man-about-town and his ingenious scheme for the rampant and mass seduction of the women of London society. By spreading the false rumour of his own impotence, he gains the sympathy of the husbands of the town and, more importantly, free access to their wives. Meanwhile the newly-married Pinchwife desperately attempts to keep his na´ve country bride from the clutches of predatory London bachelors. When she and Horner meet, events spiral out of his control...
The cast for The Country Wife in London features Fiona Glascott in the title role as 'Mrs Margery Pinchwife', David Haig as 'Pinchwife', Patricia Hodge as 'Lady Fidget', and Toby Stephens as 'Homer', with Catherine Bailey as 'Lucy', Timothy Bateson as 'Boy', Tristan Beint as 'Dorilant', Janet Brown as 'Old Lady Squeamish', Liz Crowther as 'Mrs Squeamish', Nicholas Day as 'Sir Jaspar Fidget', John Hopkins as 'Harcourt', David Shaw-Parker as 'Quack', Jo Stone-Fewings as 'Sparkish', Lucy Tregear as 'Dainty Fidget', and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh as 'Ms Alithea'.
Directed by Jonathan Kent with designs by Paul Brown, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Steven Edis, and sound by Paul Groothuis.
"There were life-size fake cows parked outside the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, for the opening night of The Country Wife, the first play in Jonathan Kent's season. Within, the behaviour of all the characters in Wycherley's sex comedy of exceptionally bad manners is rather more bestial and far less dignified than your average farm animal... The whole thing is presented as a farcical romp, with no harm done and everyone looking gorgeous. The costumes are fabulous: jeans and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen-style frock-coats for the chaps (pinstriped for the businessmen, shot silk for the flash), and the women spilling shamelessly out of their corsets. It may have been the way of the world then - as it is now - but it surely misses Wycherley's moral dimension." The Mail on Sunday
"The entire corpus of Restoration comedy was dismissed as 'trivial, gross and dull' by one critic... it might not strike us as outstandingly gross or vile nowadays, but the charges of 'trivial' and 'dull' could still stand, even against the best of them, such as Wycherley's The Country Wife. Jonathan Kent's inaugural production with the new Haymarket Theatre Company is a vigorous and stylish riposte to such condemnation, with a sublime comic performance from David Haig... This is as skilful a modern interpretation of this beruffled and peri-wigged romp as you could get, and a cracking start to this theatre's new venture. Country matters have never seemed so fascinating. Trivial, maybe. But dull? Never." The Sunday Times
"Like a robust red wine, you have to be in the mood for a bawdy farce. William Wycherley's The Country Wife, which kicks off the first season of the Haymarket Theatre Company under Jonathan Kent, dates from the late 17th century... I am not sure that it has aged terribly well, but this unsubtle and impudent little number undoubtedly provides a great showcase for the talents of Toby Stephens... Overall Kent directs with brio. It is, however, Stephens's fine tour de force as Horner - half Alan B'Stard, half Sid James - that makes the whole thing go down a treat." The Sunday Telegraph
The Country Wife in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 27 September 2007, opened on 9 October 2007 and closed on 12 January 2008.