Last night, I was lucky enough to score myself tickets to see Thon Man Moliere at The Royal Lyceum Theatre on Grindlay Street in Edinburgh. The Lyceum is a beautiful intimate theatre and has some amazing gold gilded work on the ceiling. I've been there a few times before for various events, but never for a big comedy production like Thon Man Moliere. I was particularly impressed to read in my theatre programme that all of the scenery, costumes and props for the production were made in The Lyceum Workshops at Roseburn in Edinburgh. (Side note: I would LOVE to visit this workshop.....it would be like Narnia!).
So, I had better tell you about the story. Thon Man Moliere is about Jean-Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere (or Poqui) as he is often referred to in the play)- he's a genius (mostly in his own mind) comic playwright for a theatre troupe that he runs with his former (and brief) lover Madeleine Bejart. Going by the names, you can probably guess that the play is set in France (in 1642), but what really gives it an edge is that the play is performed with thick Scottish accents and a lot of Scottish slang. You may think that France in 1642 and Scottish slang seems like an odd combination, and I thought this to begin with but once the actors get going it proves to be comedy gold.
Poqui is adamant that he has written his next masterpiece with a play about a dodgy priest, but his theatre troupe aren't so sure and don't want to incur the wrath of the King.
One of the things I liked most about this performance was the 'play within a play' theme. The actors perform and rehearse parts of Poqui's masterpiece and in a way it reminded me of the theatre troupe in A Midsummer Nights Dream which is a favourite of mine.
The play progresses when Poqui falls in love but you WILL NEVER GUESS WITH WHO! I for one, didn't see it coming and then just before interval a total bombshell in the story is dropped and there was a collective intake of breath from the audience with the revelation. I think it's a sign of how well the piece was written (and performed) that there was such an audible response from the crowd. I couldn't wait for interval to end to find out what was going to happen next!
My favourite character was Therese du Parc, played by Nicola Roy who I think is a wonderful actress. She played her character brilliantly and for me was a real stand out whenever she was in a scene. I also thought the character Michel Baron (played by James Anthony Pearson) delivered one of the most hilarious lines I have ever heard in a comedy and I was in stitches (and it still makes me giggle now when I think about it). The writer Liz Lochhead clearly has a real talent for writing fantastic comedic lines for the actors.
I won't reveal any more about the way the story goes because I don't want to ruin it for you if you go to see it, but I had a great time and would definitely recommend the play to any one in need of a laugh. One thing I will say is that there is a lot of Scottish slang in it and as a non-native to Scotland it took me a while to tweak on to what they said occasionally, but it didn't impact on my enjoyment of the story and the characters. I left the theatre smiling, and what more could you want at the theatre?
Thon Man Moliere is on at the Royal Lyceum Theatre until the 11th of June. You can buy tickets here.