The Rover

29 - 30 July 2007

by Aphra Behn

The Rogues stark mad for a wench!

A decadent Spanish Carnival is set to arrive this year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; complete with a barrage of rampant 17th century Cavaliers in tow, intent on indulging their most debauched desires. Spain’s most infamous courtesan is in town to set up shop and invites from gentlemen callers of all classes are welcome – so long as the price is right. Meanwhile all the young girls are ready to throw off their virtue and put on their masquerade.

Aphra Behn’s masterpiece first appeared on the English stage in 1677 and delighted its audience with a mixture of rakish rogues and wanton whores. Yet, as one of the first professional female authors, Behn’s message about female oppression, violence and sexuality make The Rover strikingly contemporary to a modern audience.

Hunter Productions is a young London based company, specialising mainly in the darker plays of the Restoration. Last year saw the company perform two plays in rep: Joe Penhalls modern family tragedy The Bullet. A riveting play, tightly directed and moving with pace (One4Review) alongside Stephen Jeffreys’ The Libertine; the story of the debauched and short lived life of The Earl of Rochester. The Libertine proved a huge success with reviews consistently sensational: A delightfully devious production (Three Weeks). Rochester was played by Tom Hunter who was described as having treated [his] audience to a masterclass in acting (Three Weeks). This year Hunter is set to play Willmore and Aphra Behn more than alludes to the similarities between the character and her good friend Rochester. Natasha Dawn who played Rochesters lover Elizabeth Barry in The Libertine, and also directed the show. ‘Dawn’s production … boldly tackles every taboo head on’ (Edinburgh Guide) is now set to play Angelica Bianca the courtesan, Willmore’s mistress in The Rover, a play that Barry herself appeared in at the first ever production.