BBC Play of the Month: Season 15, Episode 4

The Critic (23 Aug. 1982)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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In this classic eighteenth-century satire, Mr. Puff, a foppish, would-be playwright-critic, invites his literary-minded associates to see a production of his horrendous and nonsensical ... See full summary »

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(play) (as Richard Brinsley Sheridan) , (additional dialogue)
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Hywel Bennett ...
Mr. King / Mr. Puff
...
Mr. Sneer
Rosemary Leach ...
Mrs. Dangle
Norman Rodway ...
Mr. Dangle
Alan Badel ...
Sir Fretful Plagiary
...
Tiburina
Rodney Bewes ...
Constable
Christopher Biggins ...
Interpreter
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Storyline

In this classic eighteenth-century satire, Mr. Puff, a foppish, would-be playwright-critic, invites his literary-minded associates to see a production of his horrendous and nonsensical spectacular, "The Spanish Armada", confident that he has written a great play. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

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satire | theater | based on play | See All (3) »

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Drama

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23 August 1982 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Great Restoration Comedy
18 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you like restoration comedy you'll love this behind-the-scenes look at the restoration theater. This BBC production has a stellar cast but is not commercially available. During the early 80's when this was made the BBC would routinely reuse video tapes or just lose them. Not sure if the master for this still exists. There is a full domestic VCR transcription on YouTube that's well worth a watch. As well as consummate performers like Alan Badel (Sir Fretful Plagiary) this production also features Hogwood's Academy of Ancient Music plus some of the finest baroque vocalists of the era.

The Critic: or, a Tragedy Rehearsed is a satire by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. It was first staged at Drury Lane Theater in 1779. It is a burlesque on stage acting and play production conventions, and Sheridan considered the first act to be his finest piece of writing. One of its major roles, Sir Fretful Plagiary, is a comment on the vanity of authors, and in particular a caricature of the dramatist Richard Cumberland who was a contemporary of Sheridan.

Based on George Villiers' The Rehearsal, it concerns misadventures that arise when an author, Mr Puff, invites Sir Fretful Plagiary and the theater critics Dangle and Sneer to a rehearsal of his play The Spanish Armada, Sheridan's parody of the then-fashionable tragic drama. This BBC production omits Sir Fretful from the rehearsal group but includes him in a breakfast scene.

Highly recommended!


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