Monday, July 19, 2010

La Bete is a Beauty

If you're looking for a couple of hours of hilarity and clever wordplay - with an excellent cast - then Panton Street's petite Comedy Theatre is the place to be.

David Hirson's two act piece - inspired by 17th century French playwright Moliere's time spent with his troupe in Pezenas - opens with David Hyde Pierce's Elomire (get it?) eloquently bemoaning the company he has been subjected to at dinner.  Enter the troubador in question. Valere loves the sound of his own voice - and relishes the airing of his every thought process - to such a degree, that there is no breathing space for anyone else to get a word in edge-ways (or via any other means).

Mark Rylance is an unkempt powerhouse of mischief and mayhem. Belching and spitting his way (best not sit in the front row) - seamlessly - through a lengthy (but completely entertaining and engrossing) ramble of flowing, rhyming couplets.  His Valere finds the term 'words' so "boring" that he has coined his own expression: 'verbobos', instead.  And redolently verbose indeed he is. Extraordinarily so.  One can't help but marvel at how he maintains his explosive energy level.  Just as well (for him) that the piece has a short run (until September 4th) before moving to Broadway.

Joanna Lumley's Princess-patronne has long red hair and the temperament to accompany it.  Greta Lee's housemaid Dorine is amusingly curious and quirky.  Fans of Frasier won't be disappointed at the clipped, self-righteous irritation displayed by Hyde Pierce.

The interval-free performance must be a joy for the cast, as they - along with the audience - are free to continue their evening from 9.20pm.  I can't help wondering if outrageously versatile, and ridiculously talented, Mark Rylance needs to crumple into a heap, after his exertions, or whether he has to find an outlet to continue burning-off his giddy exuberance.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a great review - that sounds just the kind of play I like to see.

Zabrinah said...

Nice post! I love the review! I really like what you're doing here with this blog!


Best wishes from one blogger to another,


amethyst said...

Grazie mille, Welshcakes - Buona Giornata!

Thanks so much, Zabrinah - hope it's sunny where you are.