Call it higher education for lucky audiences -- The School For Wives is one of Soulpepper's best productions yet. In it, Dora-winning director Laszlo Marton uncovers the human heart beneath the slick farce in Molière's darkly cynical story of a man (Joseph Ziegler) whose fear of being cuckolded drives him to lock up his potential mate (Liisa Repo-Martell).
Working with Richard Wilbur's earthy yet elegant verse translation, Marton's confident pacing is impeccable, and the design enhances the play's themes. Julia Tribe's birdcage-like set suggests entrapment and freedom, while Andrea Lundy's soundscape moves from playful to serious.
Fine comic At opposite ends of the energy spectrum, Matthew Edison and Robert Persichini add fine comic elements to the cast, but it's the two leads who astonish.
Repo-Martell delivers a sly comic turn that deepens as the seemingly naive woman comes to grips with her limitations and arrives at a true understanding of love. And Ziegler, pitching his voice a note or two higher than usual to express his character's increasingly anxious state, is superb as the man who enjoys gossiping about other men's follies -- until he's forced to face his own.
A brilliant production. GS
THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES
, by Molière, directed by Laszlo Marton, with Joseph Ziegler, Liisa Repo-Martell, Robert Persichini, Matthew Edison, Kristen Thomson and Raoul Bhaneja. Presented by Soulpepper at Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queen's Quay West). Runs to September 23, various evenings 8 pm, some matinees 2 pm. $25-$46. 973-4000. Rating: NNNN