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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs


The Liverpool Playhouse

May 9 – May 31

Cast: Annabelle Dowler, John Alisse, Eithne Browne, Rebecca Lacey, John Ramm.

Image: Tartuffe Promotional Image

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

From the moment the strains of an unseen harpsichord halts and the curtain lifts, the audience had better buckle themselves in for a roller-coaster ride of fun, beautiful language and, above all, perfect acting. Never has the need of a critic been more unnecessary than it is at The Liverpool Playhouse right now. As superfluous as a chocolate tea cosy, we sit and wait to find something worthy of whinging about and find nothing because in Tartuffe, we are witnessing theatrical gold.


The set consists of a high walled and windowed drawing room that is used beautifully, with the cast, who all are exemplary in their timing, delivery and clarity, using every aspect of it to the full.

But it is Annabelle Dowler, Joseph Alessi, John Ramm and Rebecca Lacey who must take the deepest bows. Dowler is hardly ever off stage as the feisty maid, Dorine, and her energy is something worthy of a review on its own. Alessi as Orgon, the gullible Master of the House taken in so easily by Ramm’s beautifully slimy Tartuffe – the only character to speak in “leaden prose” rather than in dextrous rhyming couplet – is right on top of his game and, in watching Rebecca Lacey as Orgon’s wife, Elmire, it easy to see how even a stern man of the cloth could easily fall for her vampish charms, let alone such a puddle-shallow philanderer as Tartuffe.

Excellent too, it has to be said, are Kevin Harvey as the smitten Valere, Emily Pithon as his dipsy love, Mariane, and Robert Hastie as Orgon’s embattled son, Damis. Eithne Browne is quite simply glorious as the domineering Madame Pernelle – who rules the house with a rod of iron, yet fails to see the flaws in the man she sees as Saintly – and Simon Coates Cleante, Orgon’s brother-in-law is simply a joy to watch and listen to.

In short, and to paraphrase M & S, this is not just theatre, this is Liverpool Everyman Playhouse theatre and everybody involved should be rightly proud of what they’ve achieved. Never have I felt so underused and never have I felt so pleased to admit it but, genuinely, the need of a critic here is quite unnecessary. There is nothing whatsoever to criticise and Tartuffe is a quite perfect, solid gold night of theatrical entertainment.

Read Chris High's interview with Eithne Browne - May 2008


Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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