A brief synopsis and history of the play by Sir George Etherege
The following article was originally published in A Dictionary of the Drama. W. Davenport Adams. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1904.

The Comical Revenge; or, Love in a Tub, a comedy by Sir George Etherege, was acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1664, with Harris as Sir Frederick Frolic, Price as Dufoy, Betterton as Lord Beaufort, Smith as Colonel Bruce, Nokes as Sir Nicholas Cully, Underhill as Palmer, Sandford as Wheadle, Norris as Louis, Mrs. Long as Widow Rich, Mrs. Betterton as Graciana, and Mrs. Davis as Aurelia. "Lord Beaufort and Colonel Bruce are in love with Graciana. Aurelia is in love with Colonel Bruce. At the conclusion she is married to him.... Palmer and Wheadle are sharpers, who swindle Sir Nicholas out of a promissory note for £1000. The Widow Rich is in love with Sir Frederick, and at last married to him. Dufoy is Sir Frederick's French valet," whom the Widow's servants put into a tub when rendered insensible by opium. "This play," says Downes, "brought £1000 to the house in the course of a month, and gained the company more reputation than any preceding comedy." The comedy was revived at the Haymarket in December, 1706, with Bowen as Dufoy, Wilks as Frolic, and Mrs. Oldfield as the Widow [Graciana and Aurelia omitted]. It was seen at Drury Lane in 1713, with Mrs. Knight as the Widow, Mrs. Bradshaw as Graciana, and Mrs. Porter as Aurelia; in 1720 with _Cibber_ as Dufoy, and in 1726 with Mrs. Cibber as Aurelia. Pepys saw the play performed "by the Duke's people" at "the new playhouse" in Whitehall in 1666; he thought it "silly," but admits that he was ill, and that the piece was "done ill" also. It is partly in prose and partly in rhymed couplets, and was therefore, says A.W. Ward, "the earliest regular play in which the use of rime was actually attempted, unless its isolated application by Dryden in two passages of The Rival Ladies be taken into account." "In the underplot, the gay realistic scenes which give the play its sub-title, Etherege," E.W. Gosse thinks, "virtually founded English comedy, as it was successively understood by Congreve, Goldsmith, and Sheridan."


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