Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre brings a light-hearted play to the stage with this adaptation of Molière’s Les Femmes Savantes.
From the start, the cheery tone is set with introductions to the characters with songs from the 80s and stylized movement. Instantly you know that although the set is austere, the subject isn’t. There is a rhythm and a pace to the dialogue, which almost takes the form of poetry as the characters go to great pains to rhyme, this leads to some interesting pronunciations.
Henriette loves Clitandre, who is the ex boyfriend of her feminist sister Armande. Their mother Philaminte has other ideas; she wants her to marry the poet Trissotin. Henriette’s father, having already promised her to Clitandre, is determined to get his own way. What follows is a story which is delivered beautifully by the whole cast. I instantly warmed to Chrysale (Peter Temple) and Ariste (Paul Hamilton) who were obviously the down-to-earth members of the family, determined not to be undermined by the intellectual women. Katherine Manners’ Armande was spiky and a touch bitter, but who can be surprised with a mother like Philaminte (Julia Watson) for whom knowledge is everything.
When you enter an auditorium and read the warning sign ‘This performance contains silliness’ you get a pretty good idea of what is in store, this play doesn't disappoint. It is sharp and elegant, intellectual and funny. This is a great way to spend a dark February evening.
The Sisterhood plays at Belgrade Theatre until 20 February.
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