Winning formulas and chemistry is the science required to cast a leading pair in a play and for the comedy-farce "The Rivals", written by Richard Briey Sheridan, it seems to have paid off so far.
Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles have been paired together before, most famously for the 80s TV comedy-series, "To the Manor Born" in which she played Audrey Forbes-Hamilton, an ex-lady of the manor resigned to giving up the property but opting to live in the lodge-house at the end of the manor drive, only to see Bowles' character Richard de Vere, a grocery-store magnate, buy it, swagger in and live like a relative hermit with 'his dear old mother'. They will now appear together again at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for this new West-End run for Sheridan's comedy, having been transferred from Richmond Theatre.
Well-to-do characters also appear in the stage production of "The Rivals", a farce that tells the story of a day in the 18th-century life of members of a fashionable set who retire to the city of Bath and enjoy its society attractions, including a spot of romance. Mix in a blustering Irishman, a 'bumpkin', a hopeless (and hapless) romantic, ill-manners and ill-advised attempts at being romantically-suited by the end of the day. It seems that the healing waters of Bath Spa may well have gone to their heads, judging by the 'outrageous' behaviour.
Tickets are now on sale for the four month run, starting on 10th November 2010 and expected to run until the end of February, with prices ranging from £30.50 to £50 (plus fees).