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Wednesday 17 Saturday 20 October 2001

The Way of the World

By William Congreave
Directed by Alexander Clements

The Way of the World has earned its reputation from its good qualities, but has become an enduring classic because of its breadth and depth. It gives a comically sharp picture of its late 17th century society from its leaders like lady Wishfort all the way down to put upon servants such as peg. The vitality and wit of this society is shown to be balanced by its pretention and foolishness.

For Congreve the broad satiric vision is not an end in itself, but a setting in which he can show that problems and disputes can be resolved or much improved by well thought out stratagems, as is ably demonstrated by Mirabell throughout the course of this comedy.

The importance of carefully considered agreements is put forward too, as in the scene where Mirabell and Millamant discuss how they will behave after they are married. That Congreve should initiate such plans for dealing with life naturally follows from the values he has given to the various characters in the comedy. The reminder that some values matter more than others was timely for the audience of Congreves' time who where undergoing a period of fashionable puritanism. That reminder equally applies to our society too.


Thomas Lyall - Cottle Fainall
Oliver Douglas - Mirabell
Josh French - Witwoud
Ben Kewin - Petulant
Paul Hine - Sir W. Witwoud
Frankie Briers - Waitwell
Hannah Gittos - Lady Wishfort
Alexandra Btesh - Mrs. Millamant
Mimi Beaufort-Spontin - Mrs. Marwood
Tracey Leyden - Mrs. Fainall daughter to Lady Wishfort
Liselore Woltering - Foible
Cerrie Burnell - Mincing
Claire Palmer - Betty, Peg