Thursday, May 04, 2017

tartuffe at the tobacco factory theatre…

Moira and I went along to the Tobacco Factory Theatre last night to see Andrew Hilton’s and Dominic Power’s adaptation of Moliere’s “Tartuffe” (first performed some 350 years ago) as part of the annual “Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory” season (yes, I know, Moliere isn’t Shakespeare!). It’s a complete reinvention of the play which follows Moliere’s pattern of using rhyming couplets (somewhat awkwardly at times for my liking), but set in today’s world of fake news and political uncertainty(!).
Moliere’s original ’victim’ character, Orgon, is here transformed into a gullible government minister Charles Ogden - played in Yes Minister mode by Christopher Bianchi - who is fooled into bequeathing his family fortune (and almost his wife and daughter) to Tartuffe, played by Mark Meadows, as some sort of present-day cultural guru – whose greed and ideology is capable of destroying lives for his own ends. I wasn’t entirely convinced that the family could have been naïve enough to allow the Tartuffe character to live in their house rent free (and meals provided) for as long as he did… but, hey!
A very enjoyable, entertaining evening (although, at times, I felt the play verged on becoming too farcical). I particularly enjoyed the performance of the Polish maidservant, Danuta (yes, they even included an EU migrant worker!), played by Anna Elijasz (Polish herself and who trained at the State Academy in Warsaw).
It seems like an awful long time since we last went to the Tobacco Factory Theatre (a couple of years perhaps?)… we’ll be back again soon. Promise.

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