The Country Wife

The Country Wife

Horner, the central character in the comedy, The Country Wife, is a sexually voracious man about London who pretends he is impotent. Mrs Squaeamish, Lady Fidget and Margery Pinchwife, are three of his conquests, though it is Margery who is the Country Wife of the title.

Gallants (men about town), fops (foolishly effete gentlemen) and cuckolds (men whose wives have cheated on them) were nothing new to English comedy at the Restoration it was probably a combination of the character of Horner and Margery's country ways introduced into London society, that made the play different.

Here are Ernest Thesiger, Ursula Jeans and Freda Jackson (the maid) from Tyrone Guthrie's 1936 Old Vic production of the play. It was a huge success, starring Michael Redgrave (who was at that time new to the London stage,) as Horner, and Edith Evans as Lady Fidget.