Review: Fools With Heart: A Review of The Rivals at American Players Theatre

Posted August 31, 2022

The Rivals 5

By Ted C. Fishman, NewCity Stage

There is still a bit of time to rush up to Spring Green, Wisconsin to see American Players Theatre’s smart, uproarious production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s “The Rivals.” Rev your engine and aim for the sticks. Or should I say shticks? In my experience, Sheridan is most often produced on small intimate stages by small, worthy companies. Nothing kills comedy like worthiness. This version, directed by Aaron Posner, a veteran of many of the country’s most formidable classical stages, including Chicago Shakespeare and The Folger, is not that. Posner goes big with a cast of seasoned clowns who can stretch humor as broad as it can go without breaking. The magic is that they are clowns who live the parts. Wall-breaking mugging is not allowed. It also helps that APT’s large outdoor stage and the production’s exceedingly clever set give the physical comedy room to roam. Watch the seat cushions, for instance; they’re all but characters in the play.

Full Story