BSSTC Tartuffe Alison van Reeken, Darren Gilshenan and Alex Williams photo credit Robert Frith

Filled with biting satire, Justin Fleming’s adaptation of Molière’s classic 17th Century comedy, Tartuffe with its Australian vernacular and subversive wit will keep you enthralled in this new co-production by Black Swan State Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre.

Orgon is a wealthy man attempting to come to terms with middle age. Fortunately for him, and much to the dismay of his family, he meets Tartuffe – a supposed man of the cloth. Though everyone else can see Tartuffe for the fraud he really is, Orgon becomes obsessed with him, and it isn’t long before Orgon won’t make a decision without him.

The relationship initially appears to be harmless, however when Orgon begins promising his possessions, his home, even his daughter to Tartuffe, Orgon’s family resolves to expose Tartuffe for the swindler he is.

“We live in an age of spin,” says playwright Justin Fleming. “The wonderful thing about Tartuffe is that so did Molière. And the spin doctors of religion are a rich field for biting satire. We’re not concerned here – and nor was Molière – with those good people who help the poor, comfort the sick, educate the young and inspire communities to moral action.”

“No. But those charlatans who exploit families at their most vulnerable; those wolves who call young people their flock and proceed to ruin their lives; those hypocrites who talk of heaven while plundering the earth – for these, Molière is both uproariously funny and gut-wrenchingly merciless. He spoke to his century and he speaks to ours.”

Directed by Kate Cherry, Tartuffe stars Darren Gilshenan (Last Cab to Darwin, Strictly Ballroom The Musical) as the titular character, and features Jenny Davis, Tessa Lind, Hugh Parker, James Sweeny, Steve Turner, Alison van Reeken, Emily Weir, and Alex Williams.

First performed as a three-act play before King Louis XIV in 1664, and then in its official five-act version in 1669, Tartuffe is perhaps Molière’s greatest accomplishment. Its piercing commentary on hypocrisy and impiety, its light-hearted wit and lucid prose, and its memorable titular character have left their mark on theatre and literature.

“Justin Fleming has cornered a market adapting Molière’s satirical comedies for Australian audiences, writing them in rollicking verse laced with some colourful, contemporary slang.” – Sunday Telegraph

Director: Kate Cherry Featuring: Jenny Davis, Darren Gilshenan, Tessa Lind, Hugh Parker, James Sweeny, Steve Turner, Alison van Reeken, Emily Weir, Alex Williams Set and Costume Designer: Richard Roberts Lighting Designer: David Murray Sound Design and Composer: Tony Brumpton

Heath Ledger Theatre – State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, William Street, Perth
Season: 26 October – 6 November 2016 (previews: 22 – 25 October)
Information and Bookings: www.bsstc.com.au

Playhouse – Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Cultural Precinct, South Bank (Brisbane)
Season: 12 November – 4 December 2016
Information and Bookings: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au

Image: Alison van Reeken, Darren Gilshenan and Alex Williams feature in Tartuffe – photo by Robert Frith