TARTUFFE -- Westport Offers Witty, Insightful Production

By Bob & Karen Isaacs

BOB: Moliere's classic comedy, Tartuffe, is getting stylish production at Westport Country Playhouse directed by David Kennedy.


KAREN: Kennedy uses the fine Richard Wilbur translation, which the cast puts across with vivacity.


BOB: Despite the fact that the more contemporary costumes are distracting.


KAREN: Actually I lived the costumes by Ilona Somogyi -- they were fun and helped point out the relevance of the play to today’s audiences.


BOB: When Moliere wrote this play in the17th century, he caused quite a stir because of its subject. It was actually banned in France for 5 years.


KAREN: Tartuffe is about a wealthy man, Orgon, who has fallen under the spell of Tartuffe, the most saintly man he's ever known. But Orgon's family believes Tartuffe is a fraud out to steal Orgon's wealth, bed his wife and wed his daughter. The play revolves around trying to make Orgon see the truth before it is too late.


BOB: As gullible Orgon, Mark Nelson seems appropriately blind to what is going on and easily manipulated by Tartuffe. The success of Mark Kudisch's presentation of the title character can be measured by the fact that when he appeared for his curtain call, the audience booed him.


KAREN: I particularly like Jeanne Serrallis, who plays the appropriately saucy and outspoken maid, and Nadia Bowers, who plays Orgon's wife, Marianne.


BOB: You will love the scene in which Marianne allows Tartuffe to maul her in an attempt to convince her husband, hiding under the table, of Tartuffe duplicity. It is always a comic riot.


KAREN: The remainder of the cast is very good and you will please to note that the King arrives in the nick of time to put everything right.


BOB: Tartuffe is a good fun. It is at the Westport Country Playhouse through Aug. 4. You will have a terrific time.


This review aired on WNHU 88.7 fm and www.wnhu.net.

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