The Man Of Mode.

These are photographs of a production staged by Retford Little Theatre a few years ago. The play was written by George Etherege in the late 1600s and represents a typical example of the Restoration period.

The costumes for this period are fantastic, especially for the men. Note the fans, which were an essential accessory for the ladies and a way of communicating a thousand subtle signals. The dresses have full sleeves and are festooned with ribbons and trimmings. The hair is also important. The King Charles wig for the men really sets the period.

The set was simple and yet evoked the correct period. A series of arches link together and were decorated in cream and with a stencil to lend an air of elegance and intrigue. The arches were on castors so that they could be wheeled and positioned at will. They give an element of depth and perspective to the stage.

The plot is typical of many of the period. Young Bellair loves Emilia but so does his father. The two lovers have to use wit and intrigue in order to be together as if Young Bellair angers his father he will be cut out of the will. Old Bellair tries to marry his son off to Harriet, who in turn is in love with Mr Dorimant, a known ladies man who is seemingly impervious to love's charms. The confusions and plots twist their way around the difference between the old and the young and the roles and different expectations between men and women.

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