Bell’s Moliere is so poetic that Diana Simmonds’ literary fancy took flight.

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

July 31, 2014

To write a play in couplets rhyming
Requires some quite exquisite timing.
How he does it, heaven knows
But Justin Fleming’s verse just flows
With flare and proper Moliere-ish wit,
And mots so bon t’fair make you spit
In telling of poor Orgon’s plight
As he is gulled by Tartuffe’s shite.
Hard to believe that such a fraud
Could cause a man to become unmoored
From wits and reason, kids and wife
Resulting in most unholy strife.
For in this Froggie classic work
The charming Tartuffe is a jerk
Played by Leon Ford with dev’lish skill
He connives and schemes and lies at will.
But despair you not for Kate Mulvany
Is quickly arrived to portray the zany…
Dorine, a maid of wondrous smarts,
Boop-style walk and bosom-led arts.
And yes, our Kate is a dazzling thing
But in a company where talent is king
And all comport with dazzling glitter –
They’re def the cost of the babysitter.
For this is a night of brilliant fun
Led off by Jen Hagan – now there’s a one
Rarely seen on stage this past decade
She takes it back as a queen is made.
Imperious, impervious and downright snooty
Her comic timing’s on fire and really hooty.
The same’s to be said of Helen Dallimore
Who does indeed make us want to dally more [sorry]
And watch as she weaves her tender trap
With wiles for which there must surely be an app
So sweet is she with Orgon – her poor hubby
Made by Sean O’Shea into a silly big bubby.
And we’ve yet to mention Charlie Garber,
Whose long legs prancing give safe harbour
To all that’s noble in filial intention
(His Damis is exquisite comic invention.)
And Geraldine Hakewill as his sister
Forced to marry the title twister
Combines beauty and silliness with such art
It’s almost impossible to impart
Just how well she holds her place
In this pack where each is an ace.
But let’s not forget who holds these cards
With sweet finesse and directorial regards.
Yes – Peter Evans – for he is the man
who says not “can’t” when he clearly can
make comedy magic that’s so totes hilaire –
It should come with sign reading “buyer beware”
Buy a ticket and you’ll bust your buttons
In a laugh feast to sate the greediest gluttons.
Yet before this rhyming effort collapses
Mention must be made of the synapses
Connecting the elements through a creative mob
Whose work on stage is really just the job.
Anna Cordingley designed all the stuff and shit
That makes this show such a visual hit.
With the wittiest cozzies and huge chesterfield
The ideas come pouring from lefter-field.
Lit with lights by that bloke Paul Jackson
There’s no need at all to sound a klaxon
To alert the masses to what’s going down
On such a great night in old Sydney town.
Finally, it’s the Bard who gets in on the action
Through ghost (Scott Witt) whose satisfaction
Must be great as the whole cast cavorts
To his Movement Director exhorts [??]
And so to wrap up this head-aching exercise –
Which began as mere frivolous enterprise –
And say this Tartuffe is a laughing pleasure
Of talent and wit in generous measure.
Hard to think of a better way to spend
An evening out with lover or friend.
So get on down to the Drama Theatre
In making a decision – do not teeter
As time is short and the season shorter
And the tardy will find – sadly – no quarter.
So: love all, trust a few, do wrong to none
As Shakespeare said – and this review is done.