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David Porter » Reviews » The Country Wife

The Country Wife

The Country Wife
The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 30 October 2014

Restoration Comedy is a somewhat neglected genre, yet its place in the historical journey from Shakespeare to farce is significant.

So this is an inspired choice by the Hostry Festival team led by Stash Kirkbride and director Peter Beck. Presented by a cast of professionals and amateurs The Country Wife is a rude, lewd and fun piece that was shocking in the 17th Century.

The story revolves round lustful Mr Horner (Evan Ryder) pretending he’s been made a eunuch in order to reassure husbands he is safe while he seduces their wives and makes cuckolds of them.

The central wife herself (Jo Reil) and Alithea (Rebecca Aldred) are but two happy participants, while the twists and turns of deceit, lies, dissemination poke witty fun at marriage, possessiveness, a form of free love and the constraints of respectable society swirl around.

Mr Pinchwife (Peter Barrow) is the miserable, tortured man with the young wife, Robin Watson a would-be lover and Jonathan Massey is a wonderful, exaggerated fop who ends up with nothing.

It’s an unexpected romp in an usual setting – an ideal festival event.

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