A grifter charms his way into an elite household by convincing them that he is a messenger of God. The master of the house is persuaded but the rest smell a rat. Is he imposter or saint? This is Molière’s Tartuffe, a 400-year-old French farce, translated, modernised, and Australianised by Justin Fleming.
In a rare departure for Bell Shakespeare, Tartuffe is a modern English verse play written in 12-syllable lines of rhyming couplets.
“Shakespeare can take a little bit of time to tune your ear to but rhyming verse is something that we all grew up on,” says Kate Mulvany who plays the maid, Dorine. “It’s a bubbly and vibrant text with lots of spice that people will be able to tune into very easily.”
Once cast, it’s the chemistry of the rehearsal room that sets the energy for any show and here Mulvany is unbridled in her enthusiasm. “The Drama Theatre is such a wide space, it gives these big, often loud characters full comic scope,” she explains. “Expect loud costumes, big wigs, heels, and on-set faces that wouldn’t look out of place on the Benny Hill Show.”
Only once in a blue moon does Sydney get to see a Molière – especially Tartuffe – so this one is not to be missed. (GW)
Jul 26-Aug 23, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $35-$79, (02) 9250 7777, sydneyoperahouse.com