Bell Shakespeare has announced its first production for 2019, which will see its founder John Bell return to take on the title role of Molière’s The Miser after stepping away at the end of 2015. Artistic Director Peter Evans will stage this comedy of manners in a new adaptation by playwright Justin Fleming, who has adapted a string of Molière works for Bell Shakespeare over the years.

John Bell for Bell Shakespeare’s The Miser. Photo © Pierre Toussaint

“In 2014 I had the great joy of directing Tartuffe,” said Evans. “Having been a long time Molière fan, bringing his sharp humour to Bell Shakespeare audiences at the Sydney Opera House was a delight. Since then I have been waiting for the right time, the right play, and the right cast to revel in Molière’s artistry again. John Bell as the Miser was just too tantalising to resist. Having the opportunity to invite back our Founding Director to Bell Shakespeare, in a role that will have you laughing in the aisles, if not a little scandalised by the naughtiness of Justin Fleming’s translation, is a pleasure.”

The Miser is a play about family dynamics and greed,” Evans added. “It’s about the power of money – and those who are seduced by it. It’s a tale as old as time, and one that we continue to see played out to this day. I look forward to realising this contemporary version, full of Justin Fleming’s wit, John Bell’s immaculate timing, and a cast of talented actors and creatives bringing you an uproarious night in the theatre!”

First performed in 1668, The Miser tells the story of an unscrupulous moneylender hell-bent on protecting his fortune. It will be the fifth Molière play staged by Bell Shakespeare to receive the Fleming treatment, after School for Wives, The Literati, Tartuffe and The Misanthrope, opening in late August.

Bell Shakespeare’s The Miser is at the Sydney Opera House March 2 – April 6, Canberra Theatre Centre April 11 – 20, and Arts Centre Melbourne April 25 – May 12