Sumptuous production of The Misanthrope

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Review: The Misanthrope, Brighton Theatre Royal, until Saturday May 4 by Samantha Clark

This was the second Moliere adaptation I had seen, penned by poet Roger McGough.

I loved his adaption of Tartuffe and when I saw this one coming up at the Theatre Royal I could not resist.

The talented poet had created a play written in rhyming verse, based on the piece written by famous French playwright Moliere.

Not only did it rhyme, but it was funny and clever - an incredible achievement.

The actors delivered the dialogue superbly and with wonderful comic timing.

My favourite characters were Clitandre (Leander Deeny), Oronte (Daniel Goode) and Acaste (George Potts) who were absolutely hilarious as the scheming and foppish courtiers vying for the love of Celimene, played devilishly by Zara Tempest-Walters.

In addition this was yet another thought provoking play from the Theatre Royal.

The costumes and set were sumptuous.

The central character, self proclaimed Misanthrope Alceste (Colin Tierney), has had enough of the superficial flatteries heaped upon members of high society in Paris and resolves to tell the truth.

And it’s a strong and powerful performance from Colin Tierney - the determined personality of Alceste dominates the action and cuts a swathe through shallow world of high society.

He chooses to stop speaking in rhyme, unlike the rest of the court, so he can better tell people exactly what he thinks of them, which highlights their differences more.

But this doesn’t win him any friends and leaves him ostracised from the court.

Meanwhile his sort of girlfriend Celimene is busily flirting with several other men.

This explores Moliere’s own relationship with his wife who was quite the coquette apparently.

It’s relevant today too - to what extent do we lie during every day life, to pave over the cracks in our relationships with the people around us?

Is it better to be truthful in everything that we do or is it better to flatter people to their face, but then tear into their characters as soon as their back is turned?

The answer of course is neither, but it raises an interesting question: when is it OK to lie and when is it not? If you want a good laugh, a well written play and food for thought, this is the one for you. You won’t be disappointed.