The Rivals – Location, Tickets, Reviews

The Rivals

The Rivals – Location, Tickets, Reviews

The Pearl Theatre Company revives The Rivals, a 1775 comedy of manners by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, directed by The Pearl’s new artistic director Hal Brooks. Carol Schultz reprises the role of Mrs. Malaprop, an elderly woman who prides herself on having advanced language skills, but continuously butchers idioms. It’s a role she also played for The Pearl in 2003.

Poking fun at the upper class’s proclivity for unnecessary melodrama and caprice, The Rivals traces the relationships of several rich lovers in Bath, England. Young heiress Lydia Languish, enthralled by contemporary romantic novels, craves a forbidden affair. Aware of her desires, aristocrat Captain Jack Absolute disguises himself as a penniless low-ranking military officer. When Lydia’s aunt Mrs. Malaprop learns of the scandalous relationship between her wealthy niece and this mysterious man, she enlists the help of her friend, Sir Anthony, to match Lydia with his honorable son – the very same Jack Absolute. In the meantime, two other men vying for Lydia’s affection are entangled in the identity scheme, while another relationship, between Lydia’s friend, Julia, and Jack’s friend, Faulkland, suffers when the latter can’t stop his jealous rages and doubts.

The Rivals is a light-hearted comedy with many timeless dialogue gems but, also, a few stale plot points. In this production, it’s the performances that stand out. Chris Mixon, as the awkward country squire Mr. Acres, and Dan Daily, as the pompous Sir Anthony, are both hilarious and excellent. The two lovers at the heart of the tale, Cary Donaldson as Jack Absolute and Jessica Love as Lydia, are charming and engaging. There is a lot of hysteria and shouting through out this show, so much so we grew weary of it and at times it interfered with some of the nicer subtleties that the text offers. Overall, we were pleased.

Critics’ Review

New York Times
[F]or the most part, the buoyancy is pummeled out of the play by all the shouting, straining and busy gesticulating of the colorfully outfitted and bewigged cast.

New York Theatre Review
The performers make this Rivals a lot of fun, but a more dazzling production would trumpet newness over familiarity. Finally, this Rivals is proficient but rarely surprising.

The Rivals is just as funny now as it must have been in Sheridan’s day, because people are still just as ridiculously silly about love.

Theater Pizzazz
Several other actors, delivering their speeches, in volumes that differed from those of their stage-mates, simply called attention to the fact that they were acting – each in their own productions.


$65 (click here for tickets)


Performances through May 25, 2014


The Pearl Theatre
555 West 42nd Street
New York City
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2 hours 45 minutes, 1 intermission

(partial list)

Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Directed by Hal Brooks

Featuring Rachel Botchan, Dan Daily, Cary Donaldson, John C. Rgan, Kambi Gathesha, Brad Heberlee, Jessica Love, Sean McNall, Chris Mixon, Joey Parsons, Carol Schultz


The Pearl Theatre Company – The Rivals