Robert M Smith
"The Man of Mode" Play Review
With extravagant costumes, flowery language and exaggerated gestures, "The Man of Mode", perfectly captures the frivolous and ridiculous antics of the aristocratic upper class society of England in the 1660s, after the restoration of King Charles II.
Originally written by Sir George Etherege, and adapted and directed by Dr. Mikell Pinkney, the play is a restoration comedy of manners known for witty dialogue and many sexual innuendos.
In the play we are introduced to the two-faced "pimp," Dorimant, with a reputation for seducing as many upper class London women as possible, as he tries to distract his current lover, Mrs. Loviet, with the foolish Sir Fopling Flutter so that he may have her friend, Belinda. Meanwhile, his friend Bellair is forced into an arranged marriage of which neither he, nor his future wife Harriet, are willing to comply- as they are both in love with other characters. However, the impossible to satiate Dorimant, turns his attention to the witty Harriet- a much bigger challenge.
The plot then follows the self-absorbed characters as they try to achieve their ends through the use of jealousy and manipulation. Their self-absorbed nature and foolish obsessions with material goods is obvious through their gossip and interactions.
The most foolish of the characters, Sir Fopling Flutter, will certainly bring the audience to laugher as he parades around the stage in a ridiculous costume of pink velvet and lace bragging about his sophisticated sense of Parisian style.
The exaggerated gestures of the characters, as well as their extreme overreaction to events, are entertaining. However, to catch the satire in the play one must listen closely. If you do not pay attention, the jokes and innuendos that make the play a parody may go unnoticed.
Besides the humor that can be found in the dialogue, the play is full of rich flowerily language used during the 1660's. Far from the everyday language of today, words such as foppish, odious, disconsolate, and officious spill from the characters mouth as they rant about their situations in exasperation. They depict each other in long, drawn out descriptions full of hilarious comparisons.
The play is undoubtedly entertaining yet intelligent enough to keep the audience on their toes. The witty lines and playful characters will certainly bring laughter to the audience as the play pokes fun at the excessive lifestyles of the high class.
If you interested in seeing "The Man of Mode," tickets can be purchased at the University box office in the Reitz Union Colonnade. The play runs from Friday, March 30 until April 7.