(Charles Spencer’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 2/15.)

Josie Rourke’s campaign as the new artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse gets off to a tremendous start with George Farquhar’s wonderful English play about soldiers and townsfolk in early 18th century Shrewsbury.

Though usually described as a Restoration comedy The Recruiting Officer (1706) is worlds removed from the heartless hermetic plays of the period set in high society London.

There is a whiff of clean country air and a sense of new horizons about it, and though the comedy is often bawdy and robust, there is a generosity of spirit, and lack of viciousness about The Recruiting Officer that proves hugely attractive.


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