QUINTESSENTIALLY English, it is no surprise that London Assurance was written by an Irishman. Dion Boucicault (pronounced BOO-see-coe) wrote the play in 1841, almost as a midway point between fellow countrymen Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ and paving the way for the works of Wilde, Shaw and Yeats. There is something about this ‘outsider looking in’ role that allows the objectifying of the comedy to work, sometimes. Granted, the play, as it stood, did require the ‘Mr. Sheen’ effect. As an example of Restoration theatre it was stacked well with stock characters and themes. Boucicault admitted, “I can spin out these rough- and-tumble dramas as a hen lays eggs. It’s a degrading occupation, but more money has been made out of guano than out of poetry.” Undoubtedly a shrewd businessman, recognising that more profit was to be made from popular rubbish than in creating fine art, there are juxtapositions aplenty between urban and rural, rich and poor, young and old, and male and female which, if handled correctly, could lift the play past Mr. Boucicault’s own disparaging remarks. Wilder than Wilde could work, but sadly misses the mark on this occasion.