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The cast of Tartuffe (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

Reasons to see: Tartuffe at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Carly-Ann Clements

By Carly-Ann Clements Published 1 June 2018

During times of change at Theatre Royal Haymarket, a classic Moliére was bound to remind everyone what theatre is all about. And while sat in the beautiful auditorium, you could feel the electricity and anticipation for Gerald Garutti’s Tartuffe. After opening this week, the show will run until 28 July. And here’s why you should see it.

Paul Anderson and Audrey Fleurot in Tartuffe (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

Paul Anderson and Audrey Fleurot in Tartuffe (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

The cast

As the show is in both English AND French, the cast is, of course, bilingual. Along with their linguistic skills, these actors know their way around a stage. The cast as a whole sweeps you away to a land of excess, greed, and suspicious. But Audrey Fleurot, Claude Perron, and Paul Anderson’s performances were particularly strong. And though the show is called Tartuffe, Audrey’s portrayal of the neglected and abused, yet enviably intelligent and elegant wife, Elmire, stole the show.

Dorine

Though she’s a minor character, Dorine provides the major lolz. The maid has a sharp tongue, eye and wardrobe which really makes her character stand out. Who knew sarcasm sounds even better in French?

The cast of Tartuffe (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

The cast of Tartuffe (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

The set

Andrew D Edwards’ set is so slick and deceptively simple, the timeless tale could be placed in any century or decade. The large cube that looks like it belongs in an art gallery in East London provides not only a “private space” where dark deeds and spying can take place but also an imposing force that consumes the stage.

The contemporary update

When Tartuffe was first written, Moliére included a speech about King Louis XIV. In the current production of the classic comedy, an enthusiastic monologue about an American president that was not named but was 100% unmistakable was given instead. Jibes about the controversial politician’s views, business, and personal dealings were carried out with praise, joy, and love… from the character at least. Such blatant references left the audience tittering and highlighted the enduring wit of the French playwright.

To get your tickets to Tartuffe, click here.

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