Royal National Theatre (Olivier), London SE1
Opened 9 May, 1991

Without prior knowledge, this would look like a fairly well-turned, visually rather flash version of Molière's great comedy. A bit heavy on the willy gags and often resorting to the easy laughter of expletives (dear me, a 17th-century French gentleman just said "bugger"!), but essentially harmless: young love triumphs over old avarice, a family is implausibly reunited... you know the drill. Frothy.

Steven Pimlott, however, has made extensive claims to emphasising the darker side. This amounts to inserting unintegrated Ariston-commercial overtures to each half and an incomprehensible entr'acte, and flattening the dynamics of the drama with unremittingly over-pitched acting. It does Molière scant service, leaving him stuck between broad period camp and truly disquieting gloom. It's an adequate introduction to The Miser, but Pimlott's one-track vision doesn't begin to cover all the bases.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

Return to index of reviews for the year 1991

Return to master reviews index

Return to main theatre page

Return to Shutters homepage