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Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Molière’s Tartuffe headed to the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Tuesday, 13th Feb 2018  

Tartuffe - Theatre Royal Haymarket

The work of Molière has had a place in the West End on numerous occasions over the years, with The Miser and The Misanthrope amongst the adaptations appearing in the last decade. Now comes the news of another as it is revealed that Tartuffe is heading to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, with the events updated to present day Los Angeles.

This adaptation comes from Christopher Hampton, who previously translated the work when it was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1980s. However, this is a new version that will be getting its premiere when it opens in the capital in May 2018.

Molière’s 1664 play was called Tartuffe, Or The Imposter and tells of events that transpire when the eponymous Tartuffe casts his spell of great charm over Orgon and his wife Elmire. The new version retains this, but makes Orgon a French filmmaker who has just landed in modern day Hollywood. Tartuffe is an evangelical whose seductive streak threatens to take everything from Orgon and his family in his new home.

The show heads to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which will soon be granted a change of pace from its seasonal production of The Rat Pack – Live From Las Vegas. That gives way to Bryony Lavery’s Frozen next month, with the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg briefly presenting Life & Fate and Uncle Vanya in May. So it is already a busy year for the venue prior to the arrival of Tartuffe, also in May.

But clearly those responsible will be hoping for a stand-out show and this is reflected in its radical interpretation, something that Christopher Hampton refers to in his own comments:

“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.”

Tartuffe, directed by Gérald Garutti and appearing in both English and French, runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Tuesday 29th May 2018 (previews from Friday 25th May 2018) to Saturday 28th July 2018.

Chris Packer
Chris Packer Chris Packer has been writing about the West End for many years and wishes this knowledge would help him win some pub quizzes. When he’s not writing about the newest shows he’s probably watching films or anticipating the latest releases.

Article filed under: Theatre News | New Productions |