Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer is set in Shrewsbury in 1704 and describes what happens in a country town when the army come to stay. With cross-dressing and confusion in plenty, this is a comedy exploring the timeless themes of love and war. One of Farquhar's last two plays, The Recruiting Officer is both entertaining and touching. It has a light, humane touch and its original depiction of a real-life provincial town comically explores the impact that ongoing warfare had on its civilian society.
'The language is everywhere that of Men of Honour, but their Actions are those of Knaves; a proof that he was perfectly well acquainted with human Nature, and frequented what we call polite company.' --Voltaire
'Congreve quitted the stage in disdain, and comedy left it with him.' --A contemporary