School For Wives by Moliere performed at Westacre Theatre
A production of School For Wives by Moliere was performed at Westacre Theatre and what a show it was.
Under the canopy on the outdoor stage, the natural scenery provided a perfect backdrop to the hilarious performance, starring and directed by Matt Grist, who runs the award-winning venue with Sadie Grist.
Live by the Lake, their summer season of theatre and music, included this classic farce, by the popular French writer Moliere, as popular in France as Shakespeare is here.
The stage outside, which was provided during the pandemic, means that the action takes place in the round.
Audience members are able to borrow a blanket or two to keep warm as the sun sets and the evening draws in.
Matt Grist is a skilled comedic performer, and ably holds his own as Arnolphe, with the comedy action happening around him.
The plot involves Arnolphe’s fear of being cuckolded so he cuckoons young Agnes, played by Rosie Hastings, in order to protect her from the outside world so that he can marry an innocent and more importantly to him, a woman with no intellect.
He surrounds her with unintelligent maids, comically portrayed by company actors Karen Bates and Sara Kedge, but the introduction of a love rival Horace, who falls for Agnes, played by Joe Seeney, sends his plans into chaos.
WIth a real Citroen driven by the actors, golfing in the trees and even some pigeon shooting, the whole of the outside space was used to great effect and the young lovers have the last laugh.
Music in French throughout the show, including that well-known intro of Je t'aime, meant the production was a five star show with singing and dancing woven in.
The cast included two bursary students, Rosie Hastings and Joe Sweeney, who benefit from the funding of the scheme by private donations to gain experience working in theatre as they study drama.
Themes of misogyny and self-importance run through Moliere’s farce and it was indeed a hilarious representation of the great writer’s translation.
Mentions should also go to supporting cast Robert Dale, Clive Hadfield and Chris Child, with sound and lighting design and operation by Alice Bright and Graham Barnes.
Westacre Theatre is an absolute gem and if you get a chance to go along it will exceed your expectations.
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