by Dion Boucicault
London Assurance will be broadcast live on 28 June 2010, find your nearest venue .
5 STARS ‘This is an absolute corker of a production, one that will be talked about and chuckled over with reminiscent affection for years to come.' Daily Telegraph
5 STARS 'London Assurance is the funniest and most assured comedy in all of London.' Sunday Express
Sir Harcourt Courtly is lured away from the epicentre of fashionable London by the promise of a rich and beautiful bride, Grace, several decades his junior. Arriving at Oak Hall, Gloucestershire, he marvels at this rural Venus until her charms are eclipsed by her hearty cousin, the foxhunting Lady Gay Spanker. Meanwhile his disguised son turns up in flight from his creditors and falls head over heels for Grace. When Lady Spanker discovers the young couple, she needs little prompting from the visiting chancer Dazzle to lead Sir Harcourt astray.
I am about to present society with a second Lady Courtly: young – blushing eighteen; lovely – I have her portrait; rich – I have her banker’s account. An heiress and a Venus!
Dion Boucicault, the Irish genius of London theatre in the age of Dickens, wrote the brilliantly funny London Assurance in 1841 and thereby created – in Sir Harcourt and Lady Spanker – two of the great comic roles of the English stage, played at the NT by Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw.
Give me the trumpet neigh, the spotted pack just catching scent. What a chorus in their yelp! The view-halloo, blent with a peal of free and fearless mirth! That’s our old English music – match it where you can.
Read an interview with Richard Briers in The Times
Listen again to Richard Briers on Radio 4's Front Row
Read an interview with Simon Russell Beale in the Guardian
Read an interview with Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw in the Daily Telegraph