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(!).
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).
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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