|photo by Andrew Eccles|
by Kelly Bedard
Set designer John Lee Beatty hits The Misanthrope out of the park. As does costume designer Robin Fraser Paye. But there’s a reason the aesthetics and design teams are the standouts in this production- it’s a superficial one.
Moliere’s brilliant script is in predictably fine form with the superb English translation by Richard Wilbur- who had the insight to translate in verse, maintaining Moliere’s hard-to-deliver but wonderfully entrancing rhythms and rhymes. Director David Grindley does an uninspired but acceptable job of staging the amusing story but neglects to give it any real heart.
|photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann|
What could be an interesting AND amusing satire of societal convention becomes a frivolous show of pretty, mindless exercises. It’s not unamusing but it really is a waste for an actor of Ben Carlson’s caliber to be slumming it delivering Moliere with the emotional punch of a Hallmark card.
The Misanthrope plays at the Festival Theatre in Stratford, ON until October 29th.