George Etherege’s Man of Mode is one of the most renowned plays of Restoration England. Critic Gamini Salgado wrote, “Its chief merit consists in the uncompromising realism with which it investigates the implications of Restoration libertinism.”
The play was Etherege’s third, last, and most popular. Some of this popularity arose because many of the main characters were assumed to be based on real individuals: Sir Fopling Flutter was based on Beau Hewitt, Dorimant was based on either Sir Charles Sedley or John Wilmot, and Medley based on Etherege himself. The play was written and performed in 1676. Thomas Betterton played the character of Dorimant and William Smith played Sir Fopling.
It was immensely popular in its own day and is considered by scholars and critics to be one of the finest Restoration comedies.
It is occasionally revived for the stage, with a notable staging done in 2007 starring Tom Hardy and Rory Kinnear, with the latter receiving a Laurence Olivier Award for his role as Fopling.