The Miser

AAR Bell Shakespeare The Miser John BellA delightful farce about a tight-arse lacking in class, John Bell returns to Bell Shakespeare in The Miser by French playwright Molière at the Sydney Opera House from 6 March, before heading to the Canberra Theatre from 11 April and Arts Centre Melbourne from 25 April 2019.

Wealthy skinflint, Harpagon is so cheap he’d rather bury his money in the backyard and steal oats from his horse before seeing a dollar spent. Welcome to the world of The Miser – where passion and penny pinching go head to head in a ribald comedy of manners.

John Bell makes his return to Bell Shakespeare – his first role back with the company he founded in 1990 since stepping away at the end of 2015. He stars as the stingy, avaricious and obnoxious Harpagon, a money-lender who makes Ebenezer Scrooge look generous. This is a man who loves nothing more than his beloved cash – not even his own children.

With his eye on the prize – an inappropriately young bride who already has her sights set on his son – Harpagon is prepared to sacrifice his children and his dignity to win it all. Directed by Artistic Director Peter Evans, this new adaptation by Australian playwright Justin Fleming explores the depths of human greed, lust and manipulation.

“In 2014 I had the great joy of directing Tartuffe,” said Peter Evans. Bringing Molière’s sharp humour to Bell Shakespeare audiences was a delight, and I have been waiting for the right time, the right play, and the right cast to revel in Molière’s artistry again. John Bell as the Miser was just too tantalising to resist.”

“Having the opportunity to welcome back our Founding Artistic Director in a role that will have you laughing in the aisles, if not a little scandalised by the naughtiness of Justin Fleming’s translation, is a pleasure.”

“The Miser is a play about family dynamics and greed. It’s about the power of money – and those who are seduced by it. It’s a tale as old as time, and one that we continue to see played out to this day.”

“I look forward to realising this contemporary version, full of Justin Fleming’s wit, John Bell’s immaculate timing, and a cast of talented actors and creatives bringing you an uproarious night in the theatre!” added Evans.

Molière (aka Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was a French playwright, actor and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and universal literature. His extant works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets and more. His works include Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, and The Hypochondriac. The Miser was first performed in 1668.

Director: Peter Evans Featuring: John Bell, Michelle Doake, Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Elizabeth Nabben, Sean O’Shea, Jamie Oxenbould, Russell Smith, Damien Strouthos, Jessica Tovey Designer: Anna Tregloan Lighting Designer: Matt Cox Composer & Sound Designer: Max Lyandvert Movement & Fight Director: Nigel Poulton Voice & Text Coach: Jess Chambers

The Miser
Playhouse – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season: 6 March – 6 April 2019

Playhouse – Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Season: 11 – 20 April 2019

Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 25 April – 12 May 2019

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Image: John Bell stars as Harpagon in The Miser (supplied)