Performed and recorded live at Bristol Old Vic. The Rivals, Sheridan's first play, is a portrait made of material from his own life, his scandalous marriage to a popular singer of the age and the characters he had come to know in the town of Bath. As his biographer Fintan O'Toole said it was an attempt 'to inflate everything that people thought they knew about him into a huge, hysterical burlesque. Instead of inventing a story and pretending it was real, he could present his own reality as if it were an invention'. Sheridan's great satire turns the familiar world of arranged marriages, courtship and rivalry on its head. One of the sharpest and funniest social comedies of the late eighteenth century is presented here in the perfect setting of a theatre built just nine years before the play was written.