poster image: The Double DealerUniversity Players will stage William Congreve’s comedy “The Double Dealer,” April 1 to 10 in the Essex Hall Theatre.

Restoration comedy to close University Players’ season

University Players will close its 2016 season with a fast-paced spectacle of extravagant costumes and outrageous behaviour. The Double Dealer: a comedy features a resourceful villain, love, marriage, and adulterous relationships, proving that life in high society of the 1690s was anything but boring.

William Congreve puts Machiavellian treachery and romantic knavery centre stage when Maskwell, plotting to marry into money, joins forces with Lady Touchwood to break up the match between the innocent lovers Cynthia and Mellefont. Cheating wives, jealous husbands, conniving rivals and foolish fops make for a witty comedy of manners where no one but the two young betrothed is what he or she seems.

During a time when men showed off their calves and women their bosoms, sensual innuendos and boudoir intrigues were the norm. The Double Dealer is a satire of the rakish behavior and silliness that were part of the upper class life.

“Cheating didn’t start during the restoration period—it just improved,” says director Brian Taylor. “But in the end, justice triumphs, love prevails and we all laugh.”

The play will run April 1 to 10 in the Essex Hall Theatre. Wednesday through Saturday performances are at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. A “talk back” discussion with the actors will follow the April 3 performance.

Tickets can be ordered online at or by calling 519-253-3000, ext. 2808.