Misanthrope, 2 Stars

Drayton Arms Theatre
June 13th – July 8th 2017

“In a time of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’, Misanthrope finds unanticipated echoes in the world today. Alceste, the most loyal man in the world, lacks only one virtue: indulgence for other’s behaviours. His search for genuineness against hypocrisy, special interests and treachery calls for a new London production in 2017. With his unique touch, Off West End Best Director nominee David Furlong returns to direct, fresh from his stint at the Royal Opera House”.

Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars

A jarring disconnect between the prose and technology exists with Misanthrope at the Drayton Arms Theatre. The Set protrays a sectioned stage and video screen for pre-recorded Trump bites while the Script is rhyming couplets and 17th Century language.

Full credit for whoever realised the live streaming from mobile phones onto the video screens. Yet despite this level of sophistication the Cast still needed to prompt the Show Operator in places for a couple of the Qs.

The programme tells us that the show will be performed alternately in English and then French. When many Fringe theatres struggle to attract an audience is there really a market for this or does it not matter cos the show is well funded anyway? A small turnout at Press Night would suggest the latter.

The problem with rhyming couplets is that if there is a script fumble then it stands out like a balloon popping unexpectedly. And this show had many! The Cast bravely struggled on for a very long 2 hours of not a lot happening. With some occasional over-acting to change the pace. Perhaps because of the prose, the production felt more forced than natural.

The on-stage Stage Manager had a few “moving of the manual blinds” moments. Anyone’s who’s used domestic blinds in a show will know that they tend to be problematic. And oh yes, a couple of scenes were upstaged by the Stage Manager battling with the blinds mid-stage.

I’m sorry to say that this production really was “Much Ado about Nothing” and slightly pretentious.

(Hannan Images)

Playwright: Moliere
Director: David Furlong
Producer: Exchange Theatre
Performance Dates
June 13th 2017 – July 8th 2017, 7.30pm
English (June 13th – 17th, 26th – 29th and July 7th and 8th)
French (June 20th – 24th, 30th and July 1st and 4th – 6th)

Running Time 90 mins
Venue Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0LJ
Ticket Price £14/£10 concessions
Website (exchangetheatre.com)