The Bristol Riverside Theatre continues to present a fascinating array of plays. The latest is a comedy, The Rivals, which originally was written in 1775 by Richard Sheridan.
Now it has been turned into a funny musical with a cast of brilliant equity actors.
The most famous character in this ancient play is Mrs. Malaprop (played by Harriet Harris) who knows a great many words but uses then so incorrectly she startles the audience into laughter.
The story is a brilliant but non-sensible, with mismatched pairs and confusing changing circumstance. A great deal of the humor comes as the characters (other than Mrs. Malaprop) show no reaction to her bad choice of words which give a completely different meaning to the sentences.
John Treacy Egan, who plays a rugged Scotsman, gives great amusement to the audience when he enters down wearing full Scottish regalia aisle carrying what appears to be a 20 feet caber similar to one used in Scottish games and heaves it onto the stage.
This almost slap-stick play still continues to amuse audiences almost 300 years since first written. This is the first time it has been presented as a musical. They have some very witty words sung by some wonderful voices. One of the best voices was Lydia Languish- Mrs. Malaprop’s niece (played by Erin Mackey).
The play flowed effortlessly as it moved from scene to scene thanks to some ingenious sets on wheels designed by Jason Simms.
A note about Malapropisms quoted from the playbill “A Malapropisms (also called a malaprop) is the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, sometimes humorous utterance. An example is a statement by baseball player Yogi Berra ‘Texas has a lot of electrical votes’ rather than electoral votes”
This is a silly, nonsensical, lighthearted show, very well done, which is a good enjoyable evening.
This show runs through November 18. Phone 215-785-0100.