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The present revival of perhaps the greatest as well as the last of the comedies of the Restoration period. "The Beaux' Stratagem" by the Jewett players at the Repertory, shows in colorful style the author's laughing mastery over action, for eminence in which George Farquhar's name has slipped through generations of drama lovers.
Though to those eyes and ears which do not abide Restoration drama in all its grossness this expurgated edition may be accepted with loss protest. A keen admirer of the Restoration gentleman, with all his artifices and crass language, chills and stratagems, will come away feeling that Pope's forever branding, "What pert low dialogue has Farquhar writ!" cannot possibly here apply, For Farquhar's diction, provincial and picaresque, his "unforced buoyant gaiety!" as Mr. William Archer has put it, has been so toned down for the unsullied Bostonian ear that Archer's daring, ".... you may have the same pleasure out of me, and still keep your fortune..." has become, "... you may still keep my friendship."
As Boniface,--whose name has become proverbial of his class--houser of highwaymen yet honestly eloquent over his Anno Domini, Thomas Shearer is excellent. All of the actors and actresses save two, in fact, feel their parts and present them compellingly. There is a well-presented Scrub, with his cowardice and itching palm, whose happy phrase, "... and I believe they talked of me for they laughed consumedly" is one of the famous bits of the play. Archer and Aimwell, the Restoration gentlemen, played by Arthur Sircom and Milton Owen, fail to convince. Their stilted stage poise is an overdoing of the mannerisms of the epoch they mean to portray. The characters they should represent seem always just without their reach.
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