The Rivals publicity piece

Kelvedon Players are proud to announce a new adaptation of Sheridan’s much-loved restoration comedy The Rivals, for performance at Kelvedon Institute on May 12, 13, 19 and 20.  Directed by Andy Millward, the play blends period drama, rib-aching farce and  satire on the social mores of the day, many familiar to modern audiences.

Captain Jack Absolute tries to win the heart of Lydia Languish, hopelessly romantic reader of popular fiction by pretending to be a low-ranking soldier in their correspondence.  Jack discovers that his volatile father Sir Anthony Absolute and Lydia’s “old weather-beaten she-dragon” of an aunt, renowned mangler of the English language Mrs Malaprop, are trying to marry him to the same lady.

But Lydia has two more suitors, each prepared to fight for her hand. Chaos ensues as the larger-than-life charcacters scheme and tangle against “the very pineapple of politeness.”  Cowardly country squire Bob Acres, dressed in the latest fashions, is goaded into challenging the mythical Ensign Beverley to a duel by penniless Irishmen Sir Lucius O’Trigger.   The bloodthirsty baronet is tricked by Lucy into believing the secret love letters signed Delia are from Lydia, but who is really writing to him?

Meanwhile, Jack’s friend Faulkland is in a dither about Lydia’s beautiful cousin Julia Melville, much to her frustration.  He almost loses the love of his life, entirely due to his own stupidity.  Expect love, romance, mistaken identity and unique insults in this family-friendly romp.

A fine cast includes veteran actress Jo Austin, thrilled to be playing the legendary Mrs Malaprop.  Kelvedon regular Heidi Hamber is a charming Lydia, while Russell Winsor plays the irascible Sir Anthony.  Fresh from panto, Michael Howard plays Faulkland, while Eleanor Kent-Dyson returns to the stage as Julia.  Barbara Hardwick plays the go-between and “traitress” Lucy. Gavin Baldry returns as crafty manservant Fag, while Michael Horne is Sir Lucius O’Trigger.  Sue Ellen plays Daphne and the director makes a cameo as Thomas the Coachman!

The group is pleased to welcome newcomers Tom Campe and James Oakley for their Kelvedon debuts as Captain Jack and Acres, respectively.

Tickets are available from the following the Master Butcher in Kelvedon; online bookings via, and telephone bookings by calling 07742 532192.

Blogs, reviews, novels & stories