First performed by the Mercators at the 1982 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Take a splash of Commedia Dell'Arte, blend with wry Scottish humour and mix into a Venetian setting for a hilarious brew
12 Productions in the UK
Published by Brown, Son & Ferguson
Characters (4m 4f)
Tam Mickle: Servant to Angus Nairn Lucietta: Landlady of the Inn Angus Nairn: A Scottish exile, resident at the Inn Irina Nazarovna: Resident at the Inn Ophelia Stratford: Visitor to the Inn Granville Stratford: Visitor to the Inn Kate Skinner: Visitor to the Inn Renzo Chiarelli: Visitor to the Inn A Manservant: (non-speaking)
The Setting: The courtyard of Lucietta's Inn, Venice
Period: The close of the 17th Century
Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
The setting is a 17th century Venetian Inn. Lucietta, the tempestuous landlady of the establishment has set her sights on one of her guests, Angus Nairn, an exiled Scottish Laird, but with his dour reserve and her Latin temperament, the chances of a romance seem remote until the arrival of a runaway wife with a sad story, followed by a philanthropic English milord, the deadliest swordsman in Turin and an Italian maid with an odd accent.
The newcomers transpire to be a penniless company of Commedia Dell'Arte actors. Their efforts to rehearse their latest appalling production with a trainee Harlequin, a Pantalone played by a would-be Shakespearian tragedian, and a hero with a hangover, are interwoven with Angus's ill-fated attempts to woo Lucietta with the aid of an aphrodisiac, which cause unexpected and hilarious results.
Lucietta, in turn, has encouraged another two rivals for her affections, a stratagem, which she hopes will provoke a jealous response from Angus, but her scheme goes awry when one of the actors becomes too earnest a rival and challenges Angus to a duel.
The next morning the rivals clash swords, but a combination of fate, furtiveness and feminine guile guarantees a happy ending. Created for an Edinburgh Festival Fringe premiere by the Mercators in 1982, the play has since been revived by Edinburgh People’s Theatre and Leitheatre for two more Fringe productions.