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Fourberries out of ten? No, at least an eight

first_imgFrench farce returns to Oxford this week with La Compagnie Molière d’Oxford performing ’Les Fourberies de Scapin’ at Wadham’s Moser theatre. The rarity of French theatre performed in French should deservedly draw a good crowd as did last year’s ’Le Malade Imaginaire’. One of Moliere’s best loved plays, Les Fourberies de Scapin is a farce set in Italy. On the return of their fathers from abroad, Léandre and Octave are both faced with the prospect of marrying two unknown women. Since Léandre has just proposed to a young gypsy called Zerbinette and Octave has recently married Hyacinte, they seek the help of the wily servant Scapin to resolve their problems… Well cast in the challenging and unrelenting role of Scapin, Christophe Schramm’s engaging and memorable performance is reason enough to see the play. His good looks and charm as the scheming Scapin are irresistible. The rest of the cast, not all native speakers, do very well in portraying the humour and energy of this demanding play and the initial impact is maintained throughout. The use of set and levels is effective in its simplicity. Equally, the costumes are basic yet functional and don’t detract from the acting. A few well chosen elements of directorial interpretation are instrumental in making this production more suited to and enjoyable for its audience. For those with dubious French skills, the physical nature of the play still undoubtedly entertains, and when combined with the scene by scene synopsis given out at the start it is possible for all to follow and enjoy. All in all, whilst seeming like an obligation for Europhiles, this opportunity to see French theatre is a chance which should not be missed and happily turns out to be a real pleasure to watch.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004last_img read more