The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Two gorgeous lurchers nearly steal the show in a largely forgotten 1700 comedy by Mary Pix.
Originally The Beau Defeated, it has been renamed The Fantastic Follies Of Mrs Rich and stars Sophie Stanton as a deep-pocketed London widow who aches to marry a titled gent.
Jo Davies’s Royal Shakespeare Company production opens with four female saxophonists jamming away in period garb.
Welcome to Restoration comedy with footlights and a daub of pink graffiti on the back-cloth.
Alongside the story of hungry Mrs Rich, and the message that real class is invisible, is a sub-plot.
Handsome nobleman Clerimont (Solomon Israel) has been denied his family inheritance.
The money has gone to his older brother, a scarcely house-trained squire besotted by his hounds (enter lurchers Lossie and Theia, who tickled my 15-year-old daughter’s attention when the first half was flagging).
Miss Stanton hurls herself into the fray as Mrs Rich, curling her lip filthily, wriggling her eyebrows and generally giving it full wallop as this voracious, but shrewd, social climber.