School For Scandal, The

108. SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (c. 1956-England). With JOAN PLOWRIGHT, FELIX AYLMER. Television adaptation of the play by RICHARD SHERIDAN. A classic satire of the morals and manners of 18th century England, brilliantly performed by Joan Plowright (Lady Olivier) and an impeccable cast. The play, featuring characters with names like Mr. Snake, Lady Sneerwell, Mrs. Candour and Mr. Backbite, centers on the adventures and romantic exploits of two brothers, Joseph and Charles Surface: the former is moral, upright and welt-respected; the latter is a dissipated extravagant libertine. Their wealthy uncle, whom they haven’t seen for years, devises an elaborate scheme to test their true merits, eventually proving that appearances Ñ or “surfaces” Ñ are indeed deceptive. His machinations occur in the midst of an already complex musical-chair love game, made even more complicated by the meddling of the “School for Scandal” Ñ a group of malicious, hypocritically self-righteous gossips. It all results in an exceedingly intricate, wickedly funny series of events that continually twist and turn in every possible direction. Sheridan’s awesomely crafted drama provides devastating observations on society, and this production is a thoroughly engrossing, first-rate piece of live television. 100 minutes. Television-Drama