Venue: Jericho Arts Centre, Vancouver
Date(s): April 5-28, 2002
Reviewer: Jane Penistan
Chandeliers and a proscenium arch with a red curtain
flanked by candelabra bring back memories of the excitement of waiting
for the curtain to go up. Jericho Arts Centre's elegant
transformation into a 17th century theatre promises delight to come.
Stylized acting, period costumes and fantastic masks and make-up
realize this anticipation when the prologue is spoken and the magic
Michael Fera has produced an evening of fun as this biting Moliere satire romps its way through rhyming couplets to its final denouement. Following Moliere's example, Madame Pernelle and her servant Flipote are played by men, Gil Hayward as the autocratic widowed mother of Orgon and Curtis Greyeyes as her maid.
Deluded Orgon, the dominating husband, father and wealthy citizen, is a quiet-voiced aristocrat in the hands of Jeff Smyth. The contrasting characters of his sensible brother-in-law Cleante (Gavin Landsiedel) and his volatile son Damis (Rob Monk), try to persuade Orgon that Tartuffe is a charlatan, but he will have none of it.
To the dismay and horror of his family, Organ determines that his deliciously attractive adolescent daughter Marianne (Michelle Weisbom) shall marry Tartuffe, rather than her betrothed lover Valere (Sean Topps). In spite of Elmire's (Meghan Gardiner) pleas for her daughter's happiness, Orgon is adamant that Tartuffe shall be his son-in-law and inherit all his wealth.
Dorine, the lady's maid, sees Tartuffe for what he is and goes about to help the women oppose Orgon. Rachel Peake 's Dorine is a wise and clever woman and her intermission dancing a joy. As Tartuffe, Marco Soriano is a crafty hypocrite, one minute all sanctimony and the next, exulting in his chicanery. That versatile actor, Curtis Greyeyes takes on three more different roles, those of Laurent, M. Loyal, the lawyer and the court officer in quick succession, all with equal aplomb.
In the ninety-five minutes of this production, there is so much to laugh at and enjoy without the sacrifice of the satire of Moliere.
© 2002, Jane Penistan
Tartuffe runs at the Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery Road, April 5 - 28, 2002. Thursday through Sunday at 8.00 p.m.
Special talkback session April 11th. Tickets $10.00 - $15.00 available at the door.
Phone 604-224-8007 or visit www.unitedplayers.com for reservations and more information.
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