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Scapino or The Trickster review at Festival Theatre Chichester

This production of Moliere’s Scapino gives a new look to a well-worn theme and seems to concentrate on the development of the central character. This season the theme of the Chichester season is the con man. All con men have to be actors but in this instance the emphasis is also on the con man looking at his own mortality. There is great energy and much humour interspercing the thoughtful moments and yet there is also an imbalance between the acts which may be overcome with time.

Director Silviu Purcarete shows Scapino as a wily and resourceful person who has the ability to manufacture situations to suit a cause – or in this case, causes – and yet does so without making any personal gain. Indeed, he spends much of the time restoring order to a chaos which he has also created.

Richard McCabe is a lively Scapino whose presence provides drive and a sense of determination to proceedings. He also plays the piano effectively. His role in overcoming the two fathers who object to their son’s partners is well developed. The two rich merchant fathers, Argante, finely played by Pip Donaghy, and Steven Beard as a frenetic Geronte are put in their places to the relief of the sons Octave, played as lacking confidence by Stephen Ventura, and the apparently inadequate Leander of Kieran Hill.

The set is a cafe undergoing a chaotic restoration and does not immediately appear to add to the action. The scene changes are not as smooth or effective as usual and the lighting and sound at times intrusive.

Production Information

Festival Theatre, Chichester, May 20-September 9

Moliere, new translation by Jeremy Sams
Silviu Purcarete
Chichester Festival Theatre
Cast includes
Richard McCabe, Pip Donaghy, Steven Beard, Stephen Ventura, Kieran Hill
Running time
2hrs 25mins

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