Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1775, The Rivals features one of English theatre's most famous comic characters, Mrs Malaprop, whose mangling of the dictionary prompted its own entry. It centres on the romantic affairs of two couples - Lydia Languish, who wants to elope with the penniless (but false) Ensign Beverley, and Lydia's dithering cousin Julia, who has lost her heart to the jealousy-prone Faulkland.
Imrie will play Mrs Malaprop, while Smith, who won Newcomer at both the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for Fat Pig, is in line to play Julia.
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