London Assurance (originally titled Out of Town) is a six-act comedy by Dion Boucicault; his second play, but his first to be produced. Its first production, from March 4, 1841 at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (by Charles Matthews and Madame Vestris’ company), was Boucicault’s first major success.  The play is considered an intermediate point between the 18th-century comedies of Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Oliver Goldsmith on the one hand and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest on the other.

The play is best described in the summary by the National Theatre of their 2010 production:

‘Sir Harcourt Courtly is lured away from the epicentre of fashionable London by the promise of a rich and beautiful bride, Grace, several decades his junior.  Arriving at Oak Hall, Gloucestershire, he marvels at this rural Venus until her charms are eclipsed by her hearty cousin, the foxhunting Lady Gay Spanker.  Meanwhile his disguised son turns up in flight from his creditors and falls head over heels for Grace.  When Lady Spanker discovers the young couple, she needs little prompting from the visiting chancer Dazzle to lead Sir Harcourt astray … Dion Boucicault, the Irish genius of London theatre in the age of Dickens, wrote the brilliantly funny London Assurance in 1841 and thereby created – in Sir Harcourt and Lady Spanker – two of the great comic roles of the English stage.’

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Production photos

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Director Michael Arnell
Assistant Director Kate Fysh
Mrs Cool Pam Cranefield
Martha Carol King
Charles Courtly Drew Adcock
Richard Dazzle Jonathan Webb
Sir Harcourt Courtly Michael Arnell
Squire Max Harkaway Peter Boffin
James David Pratchett
Mrs Danvers Di Evans
Polly Pert Gwen Stevens
Grace Harkaway Dawn Powell
Mark Meddle Alain Smith
Mrs Bridges Evie Watts
Lady Gay Spanker Rose Kelsey
Fanny Freda Wheeler
Adolphus Spanker Paul Stevens
Solomon Isaacs Di Evans