Rookery Nook

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A: Ben Travers Pf: 1926, Southsea Pb: 1930 G: Farce in 3 acts S: English seaside cottage, Somerset, 1920s C: 5m, 6fThe formidable Gertrude Twine has rented a charming country cottage, Rookery Nook, as a holiday home for her sister Clara, freshly married to Gerald Popkiss, but they have been delayed by the illness of Gertrude and Clara's mother. Gerald's cousin Clive, ‘a sport in his 30s’, offers to wait in the cottage until Clara and Gerald arrive. Gerald arrives, but Clara has been further delayed. On the point of retiring, Gerald is surprised by the arrival of Rhoda, a pretty young woman dressed only in her pyjamas, who is running away from her bullying German stepfather Putz. Nobly, Gerald allows her to stay in one of the bedrooms, and he and Clive are then obliged desperately to try to hide the runaway girl from being discovered, not only from Gertrude but also from inquisitive neighbours. Finally, Rhoda manages to acquire some clothes and is dressed just in time for Clara's arrival. Gerald nevertheless succeeds only with difficulty in persuading Clara of his innocence. They end in each other's arms, as do Rhoda and Clive.

A: Ben Travers Pf: 1926, Southsea Pb: 1930 G: Farce in 3 acts S: English seaside cottage, Somerset, 1920s C: 5m, 6f

Rookery Nook, based on his novel, was one of the popular nine ‘Aldwych farces’ that Travers wrote for the Aldwych Theatre in London from 1925 to 1933. Following in the tradition of French farces like Feydeau's A Flea in her Ear, Travers writes about a put-upon man, who finds himself in a compromising situation and is unjustly suspected of adultery. Being English, Travers's ‘compromising situations’ never involve anything approaching immorality, usually, as here, depending only on the accident of a young woman wearing few clothes. His plays are still widely performed by amateur groups and enjoyed professional revivals in London in the late 1970s.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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Ben Travers (1886—1980) playwright

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