The Critic is a witty parody of the eighteenth century London stage. Satirizing contemporary stage conventions, Sheridan’s comedic play revolves around Mr. Dangle, the critic of the play’s title. Along with his fellow critic, the aptly named Mr. Sneer, the two men firstly review the work of the arrogant playwright, Sir Fretful Plagiary. In acts two and three, they then convene to oversee rehearsals of the latest play from their friend and writer, Mr. Puff. Puff is a man of many words, who has made his living from publishing fake reviews, compiling false advertising, and generally using the English language to his own financial advantage. He has now written a play, “The Spanish Armada”, which showcases the worst features of the contrived and pretentious dramas of the period. Sheridan uses Dangle and Sneer’s unrelenting and sardonic observations of the play to remind his audience of the absurdities of many of the dramas featured on the London stage during the late eighteenth century. It is believed to be based on George Villiers’ Restoration play, The Rehearsal (1671).
The Critic guide sections