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The Clandestine Marriage, Garrick and Colman
Clandestine marriages were a hot political topic at the time of writing (mid 1700s), with numerous young lovers eloping to Gretna Green in order to get married against parental wishes and avoid arranged marriages that had little motivation beyond the financial and social climbing aims of parents. This play comes down heavily and unsubtly on the side of young love, with every character's portrait singly coloured using a paint roller in order to fit in with the necessary scheme. A bunch of stereotypes, really, the worst of which is the Swiss idiot who exists solely so he can be portrayed as a moron with a silly accent whilst serving as confidente to someone else who is pivotal to the plot. Stereotypes heightened for comedic effect, bumbling around chaotically getting into a huge tangle that gets resolved extremely quickly in the fifth Act with much ado and hullabaloo preceding.
It's saving grace is that it is funny, whilst making its swipe at marriage laws, the crude taste of the nouveau riche merchants and speculators, the snobbery of Old Money and the notion that income is more important than affection when it comes to marriage. It would be even more so in performance, so it's disappointing to learn that the play has received little attention in recent years, though it has been filmed once. This, however, does not apply to the Epilogue which, despite its attempt at meta-humour about Society and Theatre, is just utter garbage.