The Lady's Not For Burning A Comedy Author:Christopher Fry [Inside Front Cover Flap]: — "Mr. Christopher Fry...is without doubt one of the brightest hopes in the British theatre. A poet and a wit, he is also that even rare creature, a man of rich and abundant fancy with an ironic sense of humour...The Lady's Not For Burning...has phrases Ben Jonson would have nobbled gratefully and as many ripe images as... more » would last most modern dramatists a lifetime." PUNCH.
[Review from Amazon.com]:
"...The Lady's Not for Burning is a wonderful rural-social-fantasy in which 'the costumes are as much 14-century as anything else'. Thomas Mendip is a world-weary soldier fed up with living who wanders into a small medieval town determined to get hanged. He swears he's the devil, 'he who sings solo bass in Hell's madrigal choir' (and who's voice should on no occasion be confused with that of a peacock!) and insists that the towns people hang him at once.
The only problem is that the town is in a right flap over another supernatural phenomenon, that of Jennet Jourdemayne, the ravishing, solitary daughter of a deceased alchemist who tinkers with her father's chemistry equipment, talks french to her poodle and dines with her pet peacock on Sundays. The old adage that unconventional, independent women got burned at the stake rings true in this comical drama, as the townspeople are convinced that Jennet is a witch and are hammering on the mayor's door insisting that she be tindered.
All very inconvenient, when you consider that young Alizon Elliot is arriving from the nunnery to meet her betrothed: slow, uninspiring Humphry, son of the Mayor - who is currently being petitioned by Thomas for a sentence and hanging.
Things come to pass at a dance to welcome Alizon that night, where Thomas and Jennet pace it out, one wants to die, the other wishes to live, and the frivolous self-absorbed townspeople are making them both wait before they can discover their fates.
This play is an absolute gem, I've read before that Fry's images lack symmetry, but I find the description of a castle 'draughty as a tree' absolutely delightful. It's a bittersweet story about two reluctant lovers who find falling in love more complicated and inconvenient than anything else. But in the end, the 'pitshaft of love' is what saves one of them from life, and one of them from death. Jennet and Thomas's jaded romance is balanced by a subplot involving the young, foolish, all-consuming love that develops between our two orphans: Alizon and the mayor's servant, Richard. One of the reasons the play works so well is that one can recognise both predicaments tenderly from experience..."« less