Far from Miserable Performance
Its been quiet here in the world of Virtual Methodist for a wee bit... Largely because the real world has been more than a little hectic... But did get time to go to see the Lyric Theatre Company's latest production in their squat at the Elmwood Hall.
I'm not a expert on Moliere by a long chalk but I enjoyed the bawdy production of The HypochondriacT (sic) last year, with the same team of translator/adaptor David Johnston, director Dan Gordon and lead Andy Gray, and so I thought I would go back for second helpings this year, with their take on the Miser. Sadly, according to David Johnston, it hasn't been getting great audiences, and he thinks that the fact it's a Moliere has been putting Belfast audiences off coming. But it shouldn't, because its a good night out, even for those, like me who don't know their Molieres from their Molly Malones.
As with last year's production Johnston has kept to the broad structure of the original play, but has transposed it from 17th century France to a mythical 17th century Ulster, complete with suitably contemporary digs at bankers, Ulster-Scots and nefarious land-deals. Some of the stage-craft had a rough-hewn and almost unfinished quality to it (especially a couple of the songs)... not sure whether that is accident or design... The constant breaking down of the fourth wall between audience and stage was certainly intended and added to to enjoyment (to the embarrasment of some audience members... although some of them may have been plants). Andy Gray as the miserly Harpagon had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, but Michael Condron as Jack/Quimph/Carlyle wasn't far behind him on that score.
It's only on at the Elmwood Hall until next Saturday, but you can catch on tour at various venues until July 9th... so do yourself (and the Lyric) a favour and go see it...