This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to see Tartuffe by Birmingham Rep
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains strong language, implied sexual assault, scenes of coercive behaviour and some audience interaction.
Review: Tartuffe at Birmingham Rep
⭐⭐⭐⭐A French farce with a modern Brummie twist!
Directed By Iqbal Khan, written by Molière, a new version by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto
From the moment he arrives in the Pervaiz household, Tartuffe (Asif Khan) is creating waves, even before he appears on stage. The family is disrupted by Mr Pervaiz (Simon Nagra) being enamoured with Tartuffe and his preaching. Mr Pervaiz also wants his daughter Mariam (Anshula Bain) to marry Tartuffe, but she has already stolen the affections of Waqaas (Qasim Mahmood). Mariam’s stepmother Amira, (Natalia Campbell) and their cleaner Darina (Olga Fedori) plan to entrap Tartuffe. What could possibly go wrong?
This Birmingham-based farce, first performed at The RSC in 2019 in Stratford-upon-Avon, has plenty of serious layers to it. And the exploration of rights and religious freedoms are more relevant than ever. The origins from Molière‘s comedic roots from the 17th Centaury are apparent throughout this story as it blends the serious elements with the more fantastical moments.
This Birmingham Rep staging feels even fresher than the version I saw in 2019 over in Stratford, probably aided by its Birmingham staging and it was delayed for more than two years due to lockdowns.
Asif Khan is a standout as the sneaky manipulator Tartuffe, whilst Salman Akhtar gets to show his lyrical talents as Imran’s son Damee. Natalia Campbell gets to engage in vocal rhymes with Asif Khan as the power play escalates. Olga Fedori‘s Darina becomes the narrator and the storyteller in this story effective at the start and slightly like a morality statement at the end. “In today’s episode, we learnt about..”.
Drum and bass are used along with hints of more traditional South Asian music, and at the start, the stage becomes uncomfortably bright prior to Darina’s opening narration. Whilst this play won’t be easy for all to understand, it certainly has something for everyone.
A French farce with a modern Brummie twist, Tartuffe is at Birmingham Rep until 5th November 2022. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/tartuffe.