Imagine if you will the old movie version of “Tom Jones” with all the cast freaking out on crystal meth. That might give you an idea of the costuming and frenetic pace of the Westmoreland Players’ current production, “The Fortune Hunters,” the current production’s co-director Joy Evans’ rewrite of George Farquhar’s 1707 comedy, “The Beaux Stratagems.” In her notes on the rewrite, Evans points out that she wanted to update the language of Farquhar’s original because people don’t talk that way anymore. She did indeed. She also updated a lot of other things including having the 18th century characters take selfies at one point. At another, they appear with their faces poking through holes cut out of famous paintings. “American Gothic” isn’t exactly what one would expect among the paintings in an 18th century British manor house, but it’s funny. The whole business is funny. The play’s plot involves two out-of-pocket young gentlemen going into the country in hopes of snaring rich wives to cure their financial woes. They arrive at the Boniface Inn run by a sticky fingered innkeeper and his daughter from whom they learn there is a well to do unattached lady in the neighborhood. That’s all well and good but she has a sister who is miserable in her marriage to her drunken husband, the local squire. The squire is equally wretched with her. Next news you know, one of the gents has snared the sister. The other has snared the wife and the wife’s brother has taken up with the innkeepers’ daughter. The story doesn’t exactly proceed in a straight line. Before everything is resolved, a highwayman and his gang have colluded with the innkeeper to rob the squire’s wife’s mother and the heroes have engaged in an athletic four-way sword fight with the crooks which ends when the mother beans the main crook with a frying pan.
For the full article pick up a copy of this weeks Northumberland Echo 8/8/18