THOSE who love the language of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward will be thrilled with William Congreve’s 1700 comic masterpiece The Way of the World, a baroque gem in the crown of English theatre.
The subject matter of this most lustrous and elegant language is treachery, trickery, lust for control and fortune, revenge, adultery, jealousy – yet ultimately love, acceptance and justice.
Its characters are the idle and titled rich, recently freed from the strictures of Puritanism, charged by creative exuberance in a new world in which prodigality is the manifestation of generosity. And it’s especially a new world for women.
Mirabell, the play’s hero, wants to marry Millamant, but her aunt, Lady Wishfort, opposes the match.
At the gambling table the intricate scheming begins.
Renowned director Raymond Omodei, who in his first venture at Guildford’s Garrick Theatre, will direct the play for the fourth time.
Omodei said of the hundreds of plays he had directed over the years, this one resonated the most with him.
“It’s my favourite. The play is masterly written, with a touch of many of the human frailties and vices that are as timeless as the beauty and elegance of this work,” he said.
“Written over 300 years ago, it still holds true as a fast-paced comedy of manners and is full of colourful characters with hidden agendas and suspicious motives.
“The play has a quality and humour so great that I will probably never tire of it.”