A house party on a sultry autumn evening. A marriage has been arranged between Cynthia and Mellefont.
All should be plain sailing, but the young couple must contend with the jealousies, vanities and vagaries of a host of brilliantly drawn comic characters. Above all, they must overcome the Machiavellian machinations of Maskwell – the eponymous Double Dealer.
In a world of artifice and guile, how are we to judge whose behaviour is beyond reproach?
This delightful restoration comedy, written by Congreve at the age of only 24, provides an irresistible foretaste of the kind of iconic characters which appear in his subsequent great comedies, The Way of the World and Love for Love. Selina Cadell recently directed the latter to critical acclaim for the RSC and appeared at the Orange Tree in Humble Boy.