The Miser, by Moliere, freely adapted by Sean Foley and Phil Porter

Tue 1st October to Sat 5th October 2019

Play is a fine season opener.

“The thought of watching a play by Moliere didn’t thrill me, to be honest, but I was in for a pleasant surprise at the Harborough Theatre production of The Miser last week.

My last dealings with the 17th century playwright were at school and I wasn’t impressed. However, thanks to the wit of Sean Foley and Phil Porter, the script has been ‘freely adapted’ to appeal to today’s audience.

Still set in period, the costumes and ingenious set exuded faded French wealth. The basic comedic plot was retained, following the antics of a paranoid old man trying to protect his wealth.

Directed by Sarah Clarke, it was a fine opener for the new season with some excellent characterisations and wonderfully risqué lines.

The ever-collapsing set was hilarious and well co-ordinated, and the idea of using the backstage crew almost as cast members, when changing the set, was inspired. Overall, however, the play’s pace sagged in places. Luckily, it was redeemed by the script.

Tony Price was delightfully doddery in the lead role of Harpagon and Tim Hands, as the multi-roled Maitre Jacques, contrasted with a super-speedy delivery.

Esme Martin was wonderful as Harpagon’s sweet daughter, Elise. She was beautifully naive as she delivered double entendres galore.

Barbara Lloyd was perfect as Frosine the Matchmaker, enjoying every nuance of the script.

Daniel Hands looked impressive as Harpagon’s foppish son Cleante, but could have been even more outrageous. Unfortunately, some of his lines were lost too.

Andrew Nelson was as reliable as ever as Valere, the butler.

Space prevents mentioning the rest of the large cast, who worked hard and clearly enjoyed this re-worked romp.”

Gordon Birch – Harborough Mail