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The Rivals

Citizens Theatre


An elegant 18th-century comedy of manners directed by Citizens’ Artistic Director Dominic Hill.
“as funny as the best of today’s sitcoms” The Telegraph ★★★★★

Social climber and “pineapple of politeness” Mrs Malaprop is determined to make her drama queen niece Lydia Languish a fortuitous match. Enter the inconveniently wealthy Captain Jack Absolute who, in an attempt to fulfil Lydia’s romantic ambition to marry into poverty, disguises himself as a poor soldier - with hilarious consequences.

The Rivals is an elegant comedy of manners set in a world of dress up and complex social etiquette bordering on the absurd. It was inspired by Sheridan’s own romantic entanglements which fed the gossip-mongers of his day with endless scandal and tittle-tattle.

Citizens Artistic Director Dominic Hill brings his distinctive creative style, honouring the subversive, outlandish, tongue-in-cheek spirit of the play, to this co-production with Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse.

The production opened at Bristol Old Vic and tours to Liverpool before playing at the Citizens Theatre.

The Rivals is supported by Friends of the Citizens

Citizens Theatre, Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Main Theatre

View seating plan

Recommended for 12+

Preview 2 Nov, 7.30pm
Audio Described 12 Nov, 2.30pm
Signed 11 Nov, 7.30pm
Captioned 12 Nov, 2.30pm

Wheelchair Access
Guide Dogs welcome
Induction Loop

Cast & Creative team >

Creative Team
Writer - Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Director - Dominic Hill
Designer - Tom Rogers
Lighting - Howard Hudson
Original music by - Dan Jones

Desmond Barrit- Sir Anthony Absolute
Nicholas Bishop - Faulkland
Lucy Briggs-Owen - Lydia Languish
Lily Donovan  - Lucy
Keith Dunphy - Sir Lucius O’Trigger
Henry Everett - David / Coachman
Jessica Hardwick - Julia Melville
Julie Legrand - Mrs Malaprop
Lee Mengo - Bob Acres
Shaun Miller - Fag
Rhys Rusbatch - Jack Absolute


“In its bold casualness it’s ingenious and insouciant, observing the time-honoured subversive spirit of the play and ensuring that everything feels like it’s happening in the moment” The Telegraph ★★★★★

“a mighty flurry of wigs, face-powder, and heartfelt gender politics” The Scotsman★★★★★

“The Rivals is an uproarious production with a script as sharp as ever, bolstered by a terrific cast” Bristol Post ★★★★★

“This may be a period comedy but there is nothing modern in the country to rival it at the moment” The Daily Record ★★★★

“True to Sheridan and alive to today, this is a delight” The Times ★★★★

“fun in spades” WhatsOnStage ★★★★



Dominic Hill on The Rivals


The Rivals Trailer
Production Images

The Rivals production images

behind the scenes

The Rivals - backstage images

Deaf Theatre Club Night: Fri 11 Nov, 7.30pm


If you are deaf or hard of hearing, we want to make sure you can enjoy the best night out at the Citizens Theatre. Find out more about the Deaf Theatre Club.

Post-show Talk: 15 Nov

Stay after the performance for a chance to ask questions and hear more about the show.

Tea & Scandal: The Rivals Lunch: Sat 19 Nov, 12.30pm

Director Dominic Hill shares the gossip about how he staged this 18th century comedy and the enduring appeal of Sheridan’s masterpiece.