THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE by Pierre Marivaux, translated and directed by John Van Burek, with Philippa Domville, Paul Fauteux, Allan Hawco, Ross Manson, Amy Price-Francis, Michael Spencer-Davis and Helen Taylor. Presented by Pleiades Theatre at Artword (75 Portland). Runs to May 27, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday 4 and Sunday 2:30 pm. $24-$29, Sunday pwyc. 416-408-2783. Rating: NNNN
Pierre marivaux's 1732 comedy The Triumph Of Love is a giddy and gorgeous delight.
The plot, as it unfolds in a new translation by director John Van Burek, centres on a princess disguised as the male Phocion, who woos not only Agis, the young prince-in-hiding she truly loves, but also Hermocrate and Léontine, the philosophical brother and sister who are his strict guardians.
Van Burek moves the action along in Andjelija Djuric's fantasy-touched design (sometimes-outrageous costumes and a stylized garden with gilt armchairs), and he couldn't have chosen a better princess than Amy Price-Francis. Confident from the start, able to spin the arc of long speeches and plot with clarity, radiating elegance and command in her almost two hours onstage, Price-Francis gives a marvellous, rich performance.
Others add polish to the fizzy comedy. Philippa Domville plays up the comic vulnerability of the initially chilly, high-fashion Léontine, while Ross Manson's Hermocrate becomes a gawky schoolboy when he falls in love.
Helen Taylor is nicely tart as Phocion's accomplice, and if the comedy of the commedia-style money-hungry servants palls, it's the fault of the script and not the quicksilver performances of Paul Fauteux and Michael Spencer-Davis. Only Allan Hawco's Agis is a bit flat, but that's partly because he's the least active figure.
More Marivaux, please.