The Rover by Aphra Behn
About the show
Aphra Benn was the first female playwright of England. She was exiled during the Interregnum after the English Civil War but returned with Charles II in 1660. The new king allowed women on stage and actively encouraged Mrs Behn. “The Rover” was a firm favourite until the 19th Century when Victorian morality led to its disappearance from the repertoire.
Three noble sisters are living in a Spanish colony in the 1650s. Their brother, Don Pedro has arranged unpalatable marriages for the elder two (Florinda and Valeria) and a thrilling career as a nun for the youngest and wittiest (Hellena). However it is carnival time, so the girls plan to disguise themselves and go out and party.
They meet three dashing Cavaliers in exile from Cromwell's England. Belville is in love with Florinda, Frederick is his friend and Willmore (the Rover) is their wild roistering mate. These three are also accompanied by a fourth Englishman, the idiot Ned Blunt. Also in town in Angelica-Bianca, a famous courtesan, who charges a thousand crowns for an hour's conversation.
Willimore is determined to seduce Angelica-Bianca, Hellena determines to seduce Willimore and Belville and Florinda attempt to elope. There are fights, alarums, drunken roistering and wit. All in all a swashbuckling Restoration romp.