Philip Massinger’s 1632 play reworks Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure as a waspish city comedy intended to attack the vices of hypocrisy, greed, self-indulgence and social pretension.
Wealthy merchant Sir John Frugal takes pity on his penniless brother Luke and invites him to live under his roof with John’s own haughty wife and two foolishly conceited daughters.
As Luke plots to steal from his brother, and his daughters arrogantly spurn worthy suitors, John plans to teach them all a lesson. Retiring to a monastic life, he leaves his brother Luke in charge of the household, before returning in disguise to watch havoc unfold…
This rarely produced but surprisingly timely play was revived by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of its fiftieth birthday season in 2011.
‘a riot’ The Times
‘infinitely rewarding… a real treat’ Independent