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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Reconsider or Not To Reconsider
"The Country Wife" - William Wycherley (1675)

I enjoy re-reading plays for the new ideas they give me about directing them. Sometimes, of course, I wonder what on earth I was thinking the last time I read them, or where other directors get their ideas.

I enjoy this play, but there's no denying it's long for contemporary consumption. Act Five will...
Published on 13 Nov. 2009 by M. J. Saxton

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars restoration comedy rings true today to AS students
Naive little Margery Pinchwife, the eponymous country wife, hotly pursues roue Horner in this Restoration comedy. Town breeding versus country bumpkinry, true love (of a fashion) versus immoderate lust, disguise and deception of the lewdest kind are the generic ingredients which Wycherley weaves into a plot considered masterly of its kind. The world of the Restoration is...
Published on 30 Dec. 2000


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars restoration comedy rings true today to AS students, 30 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
Naive little Margery Pinchwife, the eponymous country wife, hotly pursues roue Horner in this Restoration comedy. Town breeding versus country bumpkinry, true love (of a fashion) versus immoderate lust, disguise and deception of the lewdest kind are the generic ingredients which Wycherley weaves into a plot considered masterly of its kind. The world of the Restoration is conveyed in language that shows the playwright's keen ear for wit and polish, and, to the 21st century reader seems depressingly familiar. Materialistic, socially exclusive and preoccupied with sex, Wycherley's heroes are far from admirable characters. They strut the stage, satirical about women who only value their public reputations and about men who believe in them. Foolishness in all its forms is their target. The women (bar one, Alithea) are mercenary, immoral and hypocritical. As satire, The Country Wife lacks the energy and fierce catharsis of Jonson's work; Wycherley's railers remain self-satisfied in their viciousness. Set for AQA Syllabus A AS level Ken Bush's edition has plentry of room for note making, and easily understandable notes opposite the text to clarify language usage and point dramatic significance. There are also very valuable Resource Notes at the back of the text for teachers and students. These fill in biographical and historical details, include a useful time line and contain a series of activities appropriate to students working at this level whether in groups or individually.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Reconsider or Not To Reconsider, 13 Nov. 2009
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M. J. Saxton (Dewsbury, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
"The Country Wife" - William Wycherley (1675)

I enjoy re-reading plays for the new ideas they give me about directing them. Sometimes, of course, I wonder what on earth I was thinking the last time I read them, or where other directors get their ideas.

I enjoy this play, but there's no denying it's long for contemporary consumption. Act Five will need a lot of livening up to make it fun for a modern audience. And that's what they're going to be demanding after over two hours of fun.

It's a very talk-y act and we don't really do that these days. Everyone is justifying their behaviour and what they will do in future, or talking about what the public in general think about morals. It's good stuff, but a director would be just too tempted to get out the blue pencil and cut for the sake of getting to the bows

The trouble is that after the "infamous" china scene in Act Four like a casual post-nightclub coupling, the audience will want to get home; they've had the sexual fun and can't usually be bothered with any long chats afterwards.

That's one thing that needs to be dealt with.

I was also thinking about sexism issues: women as chattels, men dominant and selfish, imbalance of power. Then I realised that the characters work against their contemporary mores. The play is a comment on the status quo. Bingo! The characters can stand as they are (we sometimes lose this point in a welter of post-university thought policing). The actors must be fully aware of the implications of seventeenth century law and moral codes in order to play this. This play needs a director and a dramaturg. It needs an equal balance of fun. Therefore, it's a real tightrope walk of a play to produce.

Too serious, and it is a tedious drag, too comic and it becomes trivial sexist nonsense, like a bad "Carry On" (yes, there were some good ones!) More than anything "The Country Wife" needs intelligent actors who are as expert at comic technique as they are at background research, and a director who knows how to mix it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The country wife, 27 Jan. 2012
Wonderful book. Really helped me out on my latest essay. Easy to read and to understand. Very informative introduction and notes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars review, 17 Dec. 2012
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i was hoping for stage direction in this book but all i got was the play and nothing else but good otherwise
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC radio drama at its best, 16 April 2010
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Why has this glorious BBC radio 3 production languished in the BBC vaults for 25 years?
Shame on the BBC for not repeating it or releasing it earlier.

An all star cast including Jonathan Pryce (Horner, an eunuch!), Maggie Smith (Margery Pinchwife), John Duttine (Harcourt), John Moffatt (Sparkish), Bernard Hepton (Pinchwife), Harriet Walter (Alithea), Michael Aldrige (Sir Jasper Fidget)... and even Mary Wimbush and Timothy Bateson.

At two hours long, this social satire flies along with its lively dialog and a surprising degree of bawdiness.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wait another 200 years..., 7 Sept. 2010
The cover notes tells us that this BAWDY COMEDY was considered too obscene to be staged in its original form for nearly 200 years... well it is neither rude nor funny... it is painful on the ear... painful on the intellect... just painful.

BBC luvvies in drag with funny voices... embarrassing... please save your money.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 2 Nov. 2014
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Does exactly what it should when it should.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bawdy Restoration comedy., 8 April 2001
Wycherley's comedy is firmly of the restoration period, a bawdy and sometimes lewd play, one could quite easily imagine Sid James, Barbara Windsor et al in the leading roles! On another level it could be argued that this play is commenting more seriously on the free-and-easy atmosphere of Restoration England.
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