The Theater: Old Play in Manhattan, Dec. 9, 1957

The Country Wife (by William Wycherley) exhibits a panoramic view of sex. Wycherley saw in sex the key to a whole faithless, pleasure-loving Restoration society—a society he exposed by unlocking one bedroom door after another, by unloosing a succession of farcically indecent pranks. The result is about equally crude and complicated in its bawdiness, is both wildly improbable and somehow too close for comfort, is now dated in its assumption, now faded in its effects. But what Critic William Archer once called "the most bestial play in all literature" is still, of its own kind, one of the best. To its...

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