Con men don’t come any more brazen than Tartuffe, the slick swindler at the centre of this fantastic new production.
Adapted by Justin Fleming from French playwright Molière’s sinfully brilliant 17th century comedy, Tartuffe has been cleverly re-imagined for contemporary audiences.
The titular Tartuffe is a con man, a swindler of the highest order, and his latest mark is the wealthy Orgon, head of a household at the very top rung of society’s ladder. Organ has worked hard to make his fortune and live a lavish life, but something is missing.
Posing as a spiritual advisor, Tartuffe sells salvation to the soul-sick socialite, and he soon has Orgon wrapped around his little finger. Luckily, Orgon’s family can see right through this devilish imposter — and so a war of wits ensues between the falsely pious fraud and the family trying to catch him with his pants around his ankles.
Molière’s classic theatrical comedy was incredibly controversial when it was first performed back in the 17th century — the Catholic Church saw Molière’s searing criticism of religious hypocrisy to be an attack on their own power, and called for anyone watching or performing it to be excommunicated.
Of course, the public loved it.
The themes of Tartuffe — Molière’s blistering attacks on religious fanaticism and moral weakness — are still as relevant now as they were then, if not more so, and thanks to acclaimed Australian playwright Justin Fleming’s adaptation of the material, it resonates with modern crowds just as keenly.
Directed by Kate Cherry, Queensland Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company’s production of Tartuffe boasts a brilliant cast, including Darren Gilshenan (The Moodys, Chandon Pictures, Full Frontal) in the title role and Hugh Parker (Much Ado About Nothing) as Orgon’s heroic brother-in-law, Cleante. Queenslander Emily Weir makes her stage debut as the streetwise and sharp-tongued maid, Dorine.
Loaded with hilarious wordplay, double entendre and visual gags, Fleming’s modern take on Tartuffe is guaranteed to entertain.
Queensland Theatre and Black Swan Theatre Company present Tartuffe at QPAC’s Playhouse from Saturday 12 November to Sunday 4 December. For more information and tickets, visit www.queenslandtheatre.com.au or call 136 246.