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Anne Johnston reviews The Rover at the RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon Avon

Students and staff from across the School went to see Aphra Behn’s great Restoration play The Rover at the RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, last Wednesday. Second-year English Literature student Anne Johnston reviews the play below. The photo is courtesy of Aman Atwal, who took some great photos for our gallery.  Our thanks to both students.

On a cold night in February a small group ventured out to Stratford Upon Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Rover written by Aphra Benn, England’s first female professional playwright, and directed by Loveday Ingram. As soon as we took our seats we were transported to ‘the fast and furious world of the South American carnival’. While the play is originally set in Naples, Ingram and stage designer Lez Brotherston decided to set the play in a South American port city. This allowed them to use a South American style of music, composed by Grant Olding, which sets the atmosphere and keeps it going throughout the production. The frenzied carnival atmosphere was constantly present, sometimes in the forefront of the production with a flourish of petticoats and rhythmic dances. And sometimes quietly in the background, with a single saxophone humming in the wings – but always present, reminding the audience of the setting as well as keeping the tone of the production at a fun, sensual level. The play follows three English cavaliers who cross paths with three young women running from an arranged marriage, life in a convent and a controlling brother. This Restoration comedy is fantastically witty and full of adventure. It’s about sex, deception and varying types of love. All hilariously intertwined and culminating in an uplifting happily ever after ending – assuming all the marriages end well!

Photos are reproduced for educational purposes only.

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