Bury Fair

Bury Fair is a play by Thomas Shadwell, a raucous Restoration comedy dating from 1689. This new version by John Baxter (who also directs) was performed by students at LAMDA; as part of the ‘LAMDA At Large’ programme the performance took place at POSK, the Polish Social and Cultural Association, in Hammersmith.

The play is set at the time of the Bury Fair in Bury St Edmunds, a town Shadwell, a former Poet Laureate, clearly knew well as he was educated at Bury St Edmunds School. It is a satire involving a young woman disguised as a boy, another woman frustrated with her stepmother, a pair of friends and love rivals, and a scam involving a tailor disguised as a French count.

The play is often very funny and the young cast give strong performances, but the whole thing moves on at such a breathless pace that I was a bit overwhelmed. Still, it’s an amusing glimpse into the Restoration theatre world.

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