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N.B. this show has been cancelled
"What the Devil should I do with a virtuous Woman?"
In 17th-century Naples, in the midst of carnival season, a clutch of renegade noblewomen meet their match - and their loves - in a merry band of exiled English Royalists. Sisters Hellena and Florinda, desperate to escape the control of their brother Don Pedro, flee in disguise into the revelry of the Neapolitan streets - only to meet with the romantic Belvile (Florinda's secret love), the roguish Willmore (Hellena's perfect match) and an attendant retinue of other explosive characters.
The result is what has stood for three centuries as "Behn's most popular and respected play". The only female dramatist of the Restoration era, Aphra Behn's classic comedy of romance and disguise, enormously popular during her lifetime, fell into critical disregard in later centuries for its outrageous treatment of female sexual agency and refusal to centre the male gaze. Rediscovered and retriumphed in recent years, The Rover, or The Banish’d Cavaliers, with its dynamic feminism and carnival sensuality, is being staged as this year's Heywood May Week Play.