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New West End production of Molière’s Tartuffe premieres at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

INSPIRED by current world events, a new adaptation of Molière’s classic comedy Tartuffe is set to premiere as the West End’s first dual language theatre production, performed in both English and French.

Adapted by Christopher Hampton and directed by Gerald Garutti, Tartuffe will run for a limited ten week season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket – from May 29 (previews from May 25) to July 28, 2018.

The seventeenth century comedy moves to America, where a French film tycoon finds his life uprooted by a radical American evangelist.

L.A. Present day. French media tycoon Orgon has re-located to Tinseltown with his family, his heart set on becoming Hollywood royalty. With a new studio to his name, and a palatial Beverly Hills mansion, his empire seems infallible. But all is not as it seems, as Orgon falls under the seductive spell of Tartuffe, a radical American evangelist.

So comprehensively has Tartuffe hoodwinked Orgon that he looks set to steal his fortune, drive away his son, seduce his wife and marry his daughter.

Christopher Hampton said: “Statistically, Tartuffe is the most-performed French play ever. I’ve seen it in theatres ranging from the RSC to the National Theatre of Vietnam, and it never fails to seem relevant and connect with audiences, in addition, of course, to amusing them. So when Gérald Garutti and Oliver King suggested a bilingual version with an English-speaking Tartuffe, it seemed a fascinating way to approach this perennial classic and situate it in today’s bewildering world.”

As befitting the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which was known to the play-going world as ‘The New French Theatre’ following it’s opening in 1720, this adaptation of Tartuffe will alternate between English with French surtitles and French with English surtitles to reflect the unfolding plot.

Written in 1664, Tartuffe, or The Impostor became regarded as one of Molière’s most celebrated comedies, complete with some of the greatest classical theatre roles. Set present day in Donald Trump’s America, the play’s trenchant mockery of human frailties remains as relevant as ever in this darkly comic adaptation of the classic satire.

Adaptor Christopher Hampton is an Academy, BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning writer and director. His screenplay credits include the Oscar-winning Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement, Ali and Nino and A Dangerous Method. His stage credits include his Olivier Award-winning adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Sunset Boulevard, Stephen Ward, and his original plays Appomatox, The Talking Cure, White Chameleon, Treats, Savages and The Philanthropist.

Director Gerald Garutti is the former dramaturg of the French National Theatre (Théâtre National Populaire, 2006-11). In English, he has directed a script-in-hand performance of Dangerous Liaisons for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Notes from the Underground starring Harry Lloyd (The Print Room) and The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Vingtième Théâtre). His latest production in France was the sell out Brief Praise of Night starring Pierre Richard (Théâtre du Rond-Point and touring).

Garutti has written, adapted and directed texts including Badly But Quickly (National Theatre, Odéon), Correspondence For Three (Le Printemps des Poètes), The Hunters of the Absolute (France Culture), A Century of Fury (Brangues), The Sense of Desire (Odéon), Haim – In The Light Of A Violin (Salle Gaveau, national tour for four seasons) and Lorenzaccio (Théâtre National La Criée).

Tartuffe is composed by Laurent Petitgand and designed by Tim Goodchild, with lighting design by Paul Anderson and sound design by David Gregory.

Tickets: from £15 – available by phone on 020 7930 8800 or online at www.trh.co.uk/.

Times: Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm; Thursdays at 2.30pm.

Also at the Theatre Royal Haymarket: Frozen, Bryony Lavery’s award-winning play starring Suranne Jones (February 9 to May 5) and Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg with Life and Fate and Uncle Vanya (May 8 to May 20, 2018).