The Recruiting Officer

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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. The stage is lit with dozens of candles which create a delightful golden glow, and the show is intermittently accompanied by a folk band performing Over the Hills and Far Away.

Port Authority, Southwark Playhouse, review. Will the king find his voice on stage? Queen to mark Charles Dickens anniversary. Farquhar served as a recruiting officer himself in Shrewsbury and his comedy has the satisfying tang of lived experience about it. His hero, Captain Plume is certainly no angel, with a long list of lovers and illegitimate children to his name — though he ensures they are well looked after.

His sidekick Sergeant Kite, meanwhile, is deeply devious when it comes to enlisting innocent yokels into the ranks of the army against their better judgement, which he has in any case addled with alcohol.

This is one of those rare evenings when one wants to go through almost the entire cast merrily sprinkling praise and approval. The performances are almost all blessed with freshness and revealing comic detail, even in the smallest roles, and the whole show goes with a tremendous swing. Tobias Menzies has exactly the right blend of swagger, lust and generosity of spirit as Captain Plume, and is especially fine and funny in his baffled dealings with Silvia in her disguise as a young recruit.

The Recruiting Officer | American Players Theatre

This straight- down- the- line heterosexual suddenly finds himself attracted to someone he believes to be a man. This is no surprise as she is played by the superb Nancy Carroll who brings a lovely mixture of warmth and keen good sense to the role as well as piercing moments of emotional vulnerability. Mackenzie Crook, fresh from his success in Jerusalem, make an unforgettable Sergeant Kite, cunning, ruthless, gawkily disconcerting and never better than when he dons the disguise of a preposterous Germanic fortune teller in a scene in which the comedy lurches into wild and inventive farce.

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Meanwhile Mark Gatiss, hard on the heels of his success with Sherlock Holmes proves a deliciously preposterous yet oddly endearing of Restoration fop, Captain Brazen. It is a terrific evening which suggests that after Sam Mendes and Michael Grandage, the Donmar remains in safe hands under Josie Rourke. Terms and Conditions.

Ambush, parley, retreat, siege, blockade, defense, surrender. This is a very modern play. And it is as much about identity as it is about love. What is it to be a man? What is it to be a woman?

The Recruiting Officer, Donmar Warehouse, review

The astutely written characters in this play are paired up and crazy in love. And they are scared to death to admit it. To get back to why this play is never done. The Recruiting Officer is one of many brilliant English comedies written in the 17th and 18th centuries that are rarely seen outside of universities. It requires astonishing actors with fierce language skills. That is an APT specialty. But I also think these plays have been dismissed as being phony or trite.


Waving fans and lots of bowing. All style and no substance.

The Recruiting Officer (dramatic reading)

I think these plays are really about paring away our delusions to find the truth. The crazy, wacky truth of our lives. What could be funnier?

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Newsletter Thanks for signing up! Production History The Recruiting Officer. By George Farquhar Directed by. William Brown. Select a date to see availability or purchase tickets. Cast Sergeant Kite. Jefferson A. Christian Wilson. Andrea San Miguel. Emily Daly. Alejandro Cordoba.