Aug 28 2019 | By More

★★★★☆    Great comic timing

Young Critics Scheme review
Assembly Rooms (Venue 20): Thurs 1 – Sunday 25 Aug 2019
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Tartuffe at the Assembly Rooms is Liz Lochead’s new, shortened version of her adaptation of Moliere’s 17th century play into Scots.

Directed by Tony Cownie in a co-production between the Lyceum and Ed Littlewood Productions, the piece is brought to life by a wonderfully comic cast with over exaggerated, larger than life characters, making for a great watch.

Grant O’Rourke

Focusing on the themes of betrayal, hypocrisy and trust, Tartuffe shows how easy it is to be tricked by the people you least expect and how hard it can be to accept the truth.

Set in the living room of a 1940s household, the play centres around the title character Tartuffe (Andy Clark) who is lodging with Orgon (Grant O’Rourke) and his family. Tartuffe is a mischievous con man who uses manipulation tactics to get exactly what he wants.

The charm Clark brings to the role is successful in deceiving Orgon and he manages to get up to many risky things behind his back. O’Rourke is hilarious as Orgon, playing a gullible yet somewhat loveable character. It’s easy to feel sorry for him as it’s so obviously portrayed that he is being taken advantage of.

great comic contrast

The two leading ladies Elmire (Nicola Roy) and her maid Dorine (Gabriel Quigley), are the only ones who are able to see through Tartuffe’s likeable exterior – going to great lengths to reveal his true colours. They provide plenty of laughs as their common sense and sanity highlights the male characters lack thereof – making for a great comic contrast. Quigley brings sass and quick wit as she speaks directly to the audience, narrating parts of the piece.

Andy Clark and Nicola Roy

The play is written in Scots rhyming couplets which create elements of brilliant comedy – that is if you can understand it. The rhyming Scots completely narrows down the demographic this play will appeal to as it may be difficult to understand if unfamiliar with the Scottish language – potentially making the piece difficult to follow.

The four comic actors are successful in creating a fun-filled show that sustains a strong pace throughout. Although the audience for this piece of theatre is niche – it excels in what it sets out to do.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR (Venue 20)
Thursday 1 – Sunday 25 August 2019
Daily (not Tuesdays): 5pm.
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tartuffe-1


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