(l-r foreground) JD Cullum (Mascarille) and Michael A. Newcomer (Lelie) PHOTO CREDIT: Craig Schwartz
A Noise Within, it seems, has to the Restoration been and dedicates two plays: this Bungler by Molière and coming up Illusion by Corneille which sadly does not rhyme, but in good time will be revealed that couplets rule The Bungler and not unlike George of the Jungl(er) swings in farce, some Commedia tossed in for which director Julia may try to fool ya with some fair tricks, the outcome of the which may leave her audience in stitches, if not rolling in the aisles as her company beguiles.
Richard Wilbur’s translation of Molière’s The Bungler begins sans mots justes with Tuba Guy (could it be David O Composer/Musical Director??) on his tuba heralding what’s to come: French farce and then some. A nod immediate must be bowed to John Iacovelli (design quite swelly and Ken Booths lights, forsooth.) Their festive scenery that sets the stage with silly moving greenery and quick unsubtle tech works by Andrew Ellis whose many cues he never shirks . I just now found a credit for the tuba man. With Mr. O I'm now engaged and have became a fan.
The argument’s impediments are few. The actors are not new to farce and Wilbur’s sentences all parsed with couplets carry on quite well of course.
Okay.. The Bungler, Lelie (Michael Newcomer plays the part) is a fun play with all the elements of farce that made Molière a star. Costumes, lights, mixed up stuff all folderol with rhymes and fine use of the somewhat Brechtian approach moves apace. You can’t tell the characters without a program and even then, remembering who is whom may be a challenge. It’s all tied together by charming and conniving valet Mascarille (fluid and funny J.D. Cullum) whose every scheme to help his master, Lelie, find his way to love and happiness is thwarted one way or another by the poor Lelie himself.
For the life of me I cannot put the other actors with their characters, but encourage lovers of Molière to make their way to Pasadena (where the grass is greener) to applaud this romp. If the original play in French was in rhyme, translator Richard Wilbur has captured that essential element beautifully. Director Roderiguez-Elliott keeps the flow flowing flowily and a good time is had by all!
By Molière (Translated by Richard Wilbur)
In Repertory with Antony and Cleopatra and The Illusion
Through May 27, 2012
A Noise Within
3352 East Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Tickets and Information: 626 356 3100 Ext. 1