The Road to Ruin
BY THOMAS HOLCROFT
4 September 2002 — 12 October 2002
First performed in 1792, it was one of the most successful comedies of its time - written by a reforming, atheist, republican who shortly after the production of Ruin found himself indicted for treason. The highlife gambling ways of Harry Dornton threaten even to bankrupt his much-loved father's bank. Is the only solution from him to sacrifice himself and marry the wealthy Widow Warren? Or will Mr Sulky outwit Mr Silky, the lost Will be discovered and Harry get Sophia - instead of her mother!
The great essayist and critic William Hazlitt, who completed the Memoirs Holcroft left unfinished at his death, wrote of the play that it 'carried his fame as a dramatic writer into every corner of the kingdom. Nothing could exceed the effect produced by the play at its first appearance, nor its subsequent popularity. It not only became a universal favourite, but deserved to be so.'