Although THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE is not one of George Bernard Shaw's best plays, it is a pretty fair historical piece, boasting, as it does, one of his more genuinely witty characters, in the personage of John Burgoyne, sometimes Parliamentarian, sometimes playwright, and always, in this show at least, possessed of a sardonic turn of phrase.
The plot of it concerns the relationship between the man of action and the man of thought and their easy ability to impersonate and, indeed, become each other. Shaw's plays are often composed of arguments in which the straw man argues fiercely and well until ultimately simply being unable to stand the blows of his opponents. In this show, when Dick Dudgeon becomes the Reverend Anderson and vice versa, they simply exchange registers and the pair of them become actors exchanging parts in repertory, while Ian Richardson as Burgoyne gets to say all the amusing lines. History becomes reduced to a minstrel show or Shakespearean male actors playing women who disguise themselves as men.
Well, if history is farce, then Shaw's witty lines make it an amusing farce. See it for that.
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