It’s fascinating to see how well Tartuffe adapts to the outport culture of Newfoundland. Or perhaps we should modify this and note that we’re talking about the particular outport culture that emerges from the impish mind of Andy Jones, a social satirist who knows his island well and remains ever alert to its possibilities when it comes to creating comic mayhem.
Indeed, Jones’s gleeful new version Moliere’s 350-year-old masterpiece, does have the rollicking cadences of a salt-water ballad — albeit an off-kilter one. And in Jillian Keiley’s spirited production for the NAC English theatre, it carries the tang of an irreverent tall tale about duplicity and gullibility on the Rock. It’s a testament to Keiley’s direction, to the work of the cast, and to designer Patrick Clark who has concocted a splendid two-level period set for the occasion, that for two-and-a-half hours you’re ready to engage in the fantasy that Moliere’s vision of human nature at its most preposterous actually did play out here, on this island, in the late spring of 1939. (Continue reading » )