Described as a wicked comedy about faith, family and #fakingit, this brand new version of a 17th century masterpiece brings events bang up to date. 
The story centres around the wealthy Pervaiz family. Living in modern-day Birmingham, they have in their midst the charismatic and devout Tahir Taufiq Arsuf - or Tartuffe to the sceptical. But is Tartuffe all that he seems - and will family life ever be the same again?... 
First performed in 1664, Moliere’s famous comedy saw its reputation wildly enhanced when the Archbishop of Paris issued an edict threatening excommunication for anyone who even so much as read the play, so offensive to the church did he consider the work to be. 

Described as a wicked comedy about faith, family and #fakingit, this brand new version of a 17th century masterpiece brings events bang up to date.
The story centres around the wealthy Pervaiz family. Living in modern-day Birmingham, they have in their midst the charismatic and devout Tahir Taufiq Arsuf - or Tartuffe to the sceptical. But is Tartuffe all that he seems - and will family life ever be the same again?...
First performed in 1664, Moliere’s famous comedy saw its reputation wildly enhanced when the Archbishop of Paris issued an edict threatening excommunication for anyone who even so much as read the play, so offensive to the church did he consider the work to be.
Transferring the play’s action from the 17th century to the 21st, Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, the writing team who’ve updated Tartuffe, have made the title character a Muslim cleric - and then braced themselves for a backlash that by and large hasn’t happened. Updating the play in the particular way that they’ve chosen to - by turning the full glare of the spotlight on the contemporary British Muslim experience - was a dangerous move, as director Iqbal Khan has acknowledged, but it’s one that they’ve pulled off with real style and aplomb.
Consistently funny and blessed with a vitality that wouldn’t have been possible without the 21st century makeover, the show is alive with modern-day references, hugely and joyously accessible, cleverly punctuated by humorous interaction with the audience and chockablock with engaging performances. And at two-and-a-half hours in length, it doesn’t outstay its welcome either, moving along at a cracking pace from start to finish.
An evening of theatre well worth catching, Tartuffe shows at the RSC’s Swan Theatre until late February.

Tickets can be purchased at rsc.org.uk.

Hugh Blackwood 


4 Stars on Wed, 19 Sep 2018

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