The Rivals (2004)

by Richard Sheridan
directed by Bardy Thomas

The play is set in Bath, Somerset, England, in the mid-18th century and revolves around two rich young lovers, Lydia and Jack. However, Jack pretends to be young, poor Ensign Beverley in the hopes of sweeping Lydia off her feet with the romantic idea of running off and eloping with a poor officer.

Faulkland, Jack's friend, is in love with Julia, but his worries and paranoia nearly ruin their relationship. He fears for her life and health, but when told that she is well, he's upset at the thought that he has worried in vain. He resents her “robust health” and calls her “unkind” and “unfeeling” because she did not fall ill from missing him. When he learns she sang at a party, he becomes jealous, and when he hears she also danced, he insists she must have “run the gauntlet through a string of amorous palming puppies." However, his fears are completely unfounded. Jack Absolute calls him a “teasing, captious, incorrigible lover” and a “slave to fretfulness and whim” as Faulkland cannot accept that he has found true love. Only when Julia gives up trying to reassure him, and in frustration leaves, does Faulkland realize his error of judgment and embrace Julia's love.


" I am in no doubt that I wouldn't be doing what I am doing now without her. When I was at RADA, Bardy was a teacher who didn't just give me a craft, she gave me a love for it. We recognised in each other a shared passion for the work that we loved; great acting in great plays, with a formal respect for words, but an emotional and physical freedom in bringing them to life. She both teaches and directs with enormous passion, love and dedication and her infectious, playful, irreverent spirit has been a lasting inspiration." Tom Hiddleston  (BardyThomas)

Overture: The Rivals, for recorder (treble/ descant/sopranino) or oboe, bassoon (or cello), and harpsichord (or piano) (2005) (5 min. approx.)

This Overture is a potpourri from cues written as incidental music for a production by Bardy Thomas of Sheridan’s comedy, given at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the end of November 2004. The opening theme was used for the various comings and goings on the North Parade in Bath.

The section from bars 62 to 79 represents Mrs. Malaprop’s lodgings, and bars 81 to 105, in a calmer mood, represent Julia’s dressing room. The lively section between bar 105 and bar 126 was used for an amusing moment as Lydia and Lucy desperately try to hide their library books before Mrs. Malaprop and Sir Anthony Absolute arrive (Act 1 Scene 2). There is a hint of the music for the duel (the four bars at 127) before the main theme returns to conclude the Overture (note provided by the composer). The style of the music is ‘naughty neoclassical’, as befits an eighteenth century saucy romp – shades of Poulenc and Stravinsky! Chattering harpsichord and bright cheeky woodwind bring back to this writer happy memories of John Addison’s witty score to Tom Jones. It is good that this winning incidental music is preserved in a form suitable for concert performance. I recall playing in the original
recording of the cues for the RADA production, with Graham Salvage on the bassoon and a trumpeter whose music is now given to the other instruments, and it was at my suggestion that the tunes were so happily strung together to form this Overture.  Peacock