Review: The Beaux Stratagem at City Theatre

Showtimes: Thursday 7:30pm, Friday 7:30pm, Sat 2pm & 7:30pm, Sun 2pm; Through 3/17; $10-$18; Performing Arts Center at Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard; (916) 558-2228;
Rated 3.0

There are so many things that are thoroughly enjoyable about City Theatre’s production of The Beaux’ Stratagem, a Restoration-era play written in 1707 by George Farquhar.

First is the play—it’s a classic English comedy of manners about two young gentlemen who partied their inheritance away and now plan on weaseling their way back into money. Their ruse is to portray themselves as a lord and his servant to wile their way into the house and hearts of the local heiress and her family.

Then there are wonderfully playful and entertaining performances by the entire cast—especially the four leads: Vincent Emilio Barnett as Francis the gentleman Archer; Emmi Warford as miserably married Kate; Said Noori as second gentleman Aimwell; and Gillian Rains as desirably rich and single Dorinda.

The beautiful and clever set, costumes and music capture the simplicity of a local tavern as well as the glorified glamour of an 18th century English estate.

For all the positives of this Sacramento City College production, there remains one major hurdle: the overly strong accents make the dialogue and storyline really difficult to follow. Though striving to be true to the time and place, it’s frustrating not being able to understand what’s being said.

However, in the second half, cast members started to slow down their diction, allowing the audience to capture the clever dialogue and plot twists that make The Beaux’ Stratagem such a fun play.