Griff Rhys Jones makes a seedy Harpagon, addressing the audience in his grubby britches fashioned from pigs’ intestines, his money-pinching heart only truly in love with his dosh, even though he has plans to wed the much younger Marianne – who just happens to be the girl his son Cléante wishes to marry. Meanwhile he’s found a rich elderly suitor for his daughter – who in turn only has eyes for Valère.
Stand-up comedian Lee Mack’s comic timing is spot on as a handful of servants (coachman, cook – even a hangman – each one identified by a swift change of hat). But it’s all just too, too much – from a shovel-load of topical jokes to Cléante’s foppish blue and raspberry garb topped with a blonde poodle wig and an overdose of slapstick which reeks of pantomime. Less really can sometimes be more and at least Mathew Horne’s devoted Valère, played fairly straight, goes some way to keeping a lid on a production which, all too often, boils right over.
Garrick, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0HH
Leicester Square tube
Until 3rd June 2017
£25.00 – £65 + premium seats