It would be a mistake to think of Garrick exclusively as a Shakespearean, or a tragedian, when audiences so loved him in comic roles. He had over 90 roles in his repertory but played Benedick, Ranger, Sir John Brute, Archer, and Bayes—all comic roles—more often than Hamlet, Lear, or Richard III. Two other parts (Kitely and Abel Drugger) were played almost as much. Garrick was a natural in motley. It was said he “could have performed Abel Drugger, a tobacconist, in his sleep.” The young man whose “besetting weakness” was a fear of ridicule made people laugh at him, for decades.
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