Frances Burney’s satirical comedy, “The Woman Hater,” pokes fun at the misogyny of her era. Presented by Red Bull Theater, it is a little-known gem, brimming with eccentric characters and witty dialogue — in addition to a rather generous dollop of melodrama, romanticism, and sentimentality.
…enjoy this rare opportunity to experience a wrongfully neglected work and an evening of fun and frivolity.
When the play begins, it’s been 17 years since Sir Roderick’s (Matthew Saldivar) fiancé, Lady Smatter (Veanne Cox), abandoned him before their wedding. It is a shattering experience that launched his uncompromising hatred of women.
To complicate matters, the story also includes a dramatic breakup in the West Indies, children switched at birth, and the arrival of Old Waverly (Arnie Burton) ― a geezer convinced that a teenage girl is lusting after him. This gives you an inkling of the delicious blend of absurdity, sheer folly, and uproarious hilarity that awaits you.
Directed by Everett Quinton, the exceptional cast breathed light and life into the 18th century play, a work that languished in anonymity until it finally debuted in 2007, more than 200 years after Burney completed it.
Exceptional performances abound. Veanne Cox beautifully embodied the absentminded Lady Smatter. Cherie Corinne Rice (Sophia and Joyce) made a seamless transition from spoiled brat to devoted daughter, and Rebecca S’Manga Frank (Eleonora) deftly communicated her sense of desperation and righteous indignation. Matthew Saldivar left no doubt that Sir Roderick harbored an uncompromising hatred of women whereas his nephew, young Waverly (Nick Westrate) made clear that he in no way shared his benefactor’s contempt for the fairer sex.
David M. Barber’s visual designs and Sara Jean Tosetti’s costumes contributed immeasurably to the production’s charm and vitality.
Pour a glass of wine and enjoy this rare opportunity to experience a wrongfully neglected work and an evening of fun and frivolity.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with one 10-minute intermission.
The Red Bull Theater’s production of “The Woman Hater” premiered virtually at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021. A recording of the livestream event will be available until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 29. Tickets are free but donations are welcome. For more information, click here.