Molière’s The Miser recently hit the West End after brief appearances throughout the country. This free adaptation of a 350 year old comedy by Sean Foley and Phil Porter stars Griff Rhys Jones (who hasn’t been in theatre in a very long time) and Lee Mack (who hasn’t been in theatre…ever). With gags throughout, including the occasional joke about Sports Direct, you can’t help but watch this crazy show with intrigue.
There are however, only so many times that a person can put his foot through a chair before it loses it’s novelty. It was funny the 1st time, but not the 5th! At times the gags seem forced and the whole thing a little too dramatic and try hard which can distract away from the actual plot. However, no matter how cringey it seems at times and no matter how much you don’t want to laugh – you will. I don’t think it’s quite what Louis XIV would have been watching all those years ago but hey, times change.
The Miser follows the character Harpagon. played by Griff Rhys Jones, who is a little crazy to say the least. In his narrow minded pursuit of money and a beautiful young wife he is willing to sacrifice quite literally anything, even his equally crazy children Cléante and Élise. For me, Lee Mack steals the show despite this being his theatre debut. He plays the character of Harpagon’s multi-tasking servant (coachman, chef and sommelier) who, like in much of Lee Mack’s comedy, becomes the butt of the jokes more often that not. In comparison to the other characters however, he’s actually fairly sane. Whether pre-scripted or ad-libbed, you’ve got to admit he’s funny (and you even get to see him naked at one point!)
There are many a joke about the economy and the trickle-down effect which depending on how expensive your seats were will determine how much you’ll laugh! Their ability to throw pantomime elements and audience involvement into a 17th century piece is admittedly impressive.
The set itself is stunning and the costumes beautiful. The movements throughout are well choreographed and you can tell a lot of hard work has gone into ensuring The Miser makes its mark on the West End.
OK, so should I see it?
With tickets at around £32, if you’re looking for some light-hearted slapstick comedy then this might be the show for you. It will definitely give you at least a few laughs! If you’re not a fan of gag after gag though, maybe steer clear.
I need to see it, how do I do that?
If you would like to go and watch The Miser for yourself, it is currently on at the beautiful Garrick Theatre in the West End not too far from Leicester Square and is running until the 3rd of June.