L'AVARE (THE MISER) by Molière, directed by Jean-Stéphane Roy (Théâtre Français de Toronto, 29 Berkeley). See Continuing, page 77. $23-$36. 416-534-6604. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Molière 's L'Avare doesn't just think outside the box. It leaps out, crushes the box, boots it into the wings and farts in its general direction. The story is simple: a miserly old man ( Guy Mignault ) must choose between love for another person and lust for bling.
Director Jean-Stéphane Roy opts for a commedia dell'arte approach, breaking the 350-year-old story down to its most basic elements. Under his deft direction, the ensemble cast tells the story using commedia and historical anachronism to freshen the characters for a modern audience.
The result - a funky mash including a functional kitchenette, silver moonboots, clotheslines, The Price Is Right and Michel Séguin in full female drag - plays like really, really good improv: smart, focused and humming with energy. Two hours pass without an intermission, but you'll barely notice. I checked my watch once when Mignault descended from Glen Charles Landry 's set-on-stilts and wore out his welcome gallivanting around the audience. But he brought it back on track for Molière's notorious deus ex machina finale, set to a classic U2 tune.
You won't see early modern drama performed with such joie de vivre anywhere else in Toronto.