Company B, Belvoir Theatre
Playwright: Ben Jonson
Director: Neil Armfield
Geoffrey Rush … Subtle
Hugo Weaving … Face/Lungs/Jeremy
Gillian Jones … Doll Common
Max Cullen … Sir Epicure Mammon
The Alchemist is a play in five acts by Ben Jonson. It was first staged in 1610, probably at the Globe Theatre. Of his plays, this is most commonly considered the best, though some prefer Volpone or Bartholomew Fair.
The play is set in contemporary 17th century London, and concerns the adventures of three low characters, Subtle, Face, and Dol Common, who have set up a fraudulent alchemical workshop in order to swindle gullible townspeople.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that The Alchemist was one of the most perfectly constructed plots he knew, the others being Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles and Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.