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National Theatre Live: The Beaux' Stratagem (2015)

Simon Godwin (Man and Superman) directs George Farquhar's wild comedy of love and cash.


Simon Godwin


George Farquhar




Credited cast:
Samuel Barnett ... Aimwell
Geoffrey Streatfeild Geoffrey Streatfeild ... Archer
Susannah Fielding ... Mrs. Sullen
Pippa Bennett-Warner ... Dorinda
Amy Morgan ... Cherry
Lloyd Hutchinson ... Boniface
Joplin Sibtain ... Gibbet (as Chook Sibtain)
Pearce Quigley ... Scrub
Timothy Watson Timothy Watson ... Count Bellair
Jamie Beamish ... Foigard
Richard Henders ... Mr. Sullen
Molly Gromadzki Molly Gromadzki ... Gipsy
Jane Booker ... Lady Bountiful
Nicholas Khan Nicholas Khan ... Sir Charles Freeman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Esh Alladi ... Bagshot


The 'Beaux': Mr Aimwell and Mr Archer, two charming, dissolute young men who have blown their fortunes in giddy London. Shamed and debt-ridden, they flee to provincial Lichfield. Their 'Stratagem': to marry for money. Lodged at the local inn, posing as master and servant, they encounter a teeming variety of human obstacles: a crooked landlord, a fearsome highwayman, a fervent French Count, a maid on the make, a drunken husband, a furious butler, a natural healer and a strange, turbulent priest. But their greatest obstacle is love. When the Beaux meet their match in Dorinda and Mrs Sullen they are most at risk, for in love they might be truly discovered. Written by National Theatre

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Release Date:

3 September 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

National Theatre Live - Strategia golych kawalerów See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

National Theatre See more »
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User Reviews

24 October 2015 | by newatt-2See all my reviews

This version of the Beaux is alright if you don't care about accuracy in costuming or music or comic restoration acting style.

The costumes range from the 16th to the 21st century (yes, sometimes on the same person) and are bizarre (I mean in the sense of bizarre textile patterns). I was disappointed by this because I find accuracy more interesting and I find inaccuracy distracting. I found the costuming utterly annoying.

The music was folky-Irishy stuff, completely unlike the popular music of its time, some of which would have easily supplied some great catchy music for this play. It was perfectly enjoyable so long as you forgot you were watching a play from 1707.

Boniface throws away the humour of all of his "as the saying is" lines and Froigard is terribly unclear in his Irish accent. Cherry is miscast - she strains for the flashing keen flirtatiousness demanded by the part - it seems to me that Dorinda and Cherry may have played each other's parts much more effectively. Archer is firmly grounded in the 21st century in affect (as are nearly all of the cast) and is believable as an attractive man, but not as a dangerous rake (ah Paul Freeman, I wish I'd been able to tape your performance of this role way back when - you oozed sexiness in that long red lovelocked wig).

The director does not seem up to the task of making this uneasy comedy comic. The fight scene is silly. The dance scenes are just made-up "folky" choreography. The emphasis on the word "consent" in Mrs. Sullen's last speech was silly and did not make it topical, it just sapped the speech's power.

If you don't care about any of those things, I think you'll really like it, but I do care about all of those things, so I thought it was okay.

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