London Assurance

by Dion Boucicault (revised by Richard Bean) 8 Jul 2024 - 11 Jul 2024
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presented by Global Theatre Productions

(It’s) equal to anything yet known in the way of theatrical embellishment,’ opined The Times newspaper after the opening night at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden of Dion Boucicault’s 1841 comedy London Assurance. A remarkably assured piece of work for a twenty-one year-old playwright the production excelled in its dandyish wit and its distancing devices, to Pinero and beyond: and, most of all, to Wilde, whom Boucicault encouraged and supported. The splendid tensions it sets up – town v country, father v son, and artifice v authenticity – are traditionally neat and well made. Considered by many critics as the Irish genius of London theatre in the age of Dickens, Boucicault created – in the egotistical and vain Sir Harcourt Courtly and the mischievous and fun-loving Lady gay Spanker – two of the great comic roles of the English stage.

In this version presented by Global Theatre Productions and adapted from the original script in 2010 by the award-winning dramatist Richard Bean, we meet the preening, foppish Courtley, who is lured away from the epicenter of fashionable London by the promise of a rich and beautiful bride several decades his junior. He soon discovers, however, that the exuberant character of her hearty cousin, Lady Spanker, eclipses those of his future wife’s charms. What follows is a rumbustious, and celebrated romp filled with larger-than-life characters and hilarious set pieces.