Liz on Theatre

Moliere's 'The Bungler'

a67b76370ae1be1f8de8_STNJ_The_Bungler_9.jpg
62b59997903a02aabbc7_STNJ_The_Bungler_8.jpg
c7845b67135c0ad6e25c_STNJ_The_Bungler_7.jpg
39e7379c2bd83545a565_STNJ_The_Bungler_6.jpg
d9f8ad8a719537f9339f_STNJ_The_Bungler_5.jpg
7b8e2031731d5512cda1_STNJ_The_Bungler_4.jpg
067589f54f3f672a34ef_STNJ_The_Bungler_3.jpg
2126c3ad470a98677d66_STNJ_The_Bungler_2.jpg
62c0fccc13e9ace8f7bb_STNJ_The_Bungler_1.jpg
a67b76370ae1be1f8de8_STNJ_The_Bungler_9.jpg

Moliere’s ‘The Bungler “flits along on Shakespeare stage

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – It’s always refreshing to see a play that just isn’t done that often. Such is the case of “The Bungler,” an early Moliere play from 1655. Most of the dialogue is in rhyme, although every now and then the actors take off in other directions.

Sign Up for E-News

The translation by Richard Wilbur is fluid, although the play itself lacks the cleverness of “The School for Wives” and “The Misanthrope.”

Director Brian B. Crowe has assembled a fine cast to carry off this light-hearted tale of blundering escapades. Aaron McDaniel as Lelie is the hapless young man who falls in love with the fetching Celie, played with charm and a certain reserve by Sophia Blum.

Lelie’s valet, Mascarille, keeps concocting various ruses to help Lelie win her hand. Kevin Isola is superb, along the lines of a court jester, creating havoc as he creates one intricate plot after another.  Unfortunately, the somewhat dimwitted Lelie can’t quite follow the nuances and consistently blunders along.  Of course, other characters add to the frenetic pace.

Devin Conway as Hippolyte is initially desired by Lelie and Lenadre, until Celie appears on the scene.  Hippolyte is cunningly costumed by Paul Canada with an enormous white wig, high heels, a puffy short dress and satin bows, all in creamy white. In fact, Canada’s exuberant costumes add tremendous flair to the entire production.  

When we meet James Michael Reilly, decked out as Anselme, he’s all flourishes  and pretention, waving around his silk purse, which Mascarille tries several times to steal. We see at the end that  he and his daughter Hippolyte, as well as her would-be husband, Leandre (Sam Ashdown) are color coordinated.

Drew Dix is stalwart and determined as Lelie’s father and Eric Hoffmann enters the fray as Trufaldin, who has taken in Celie as his slave.  Danilo Ottaviani is a staunch messenger and also appears as Andres, a supposed gypsy.

In one scene, masked dancers are presumably present to distract Trufaldin and abduct Celie, but that plan falls by the wayside. Like so much of Moliere’s work, this exaggerated tale makes little sense, but does reveal how gullible most of us are in various circumstances.  Even Lelie captures our sympathy as he continues to wreak havoc from his valet’s cunning deceptions.

Dick Block has designed a set replicating a public square in Messina, Sicily, with pastel houses, a balcony and shades of terracotta and blue.

“The Bungler” is a perfect escape for a warm summer evening or afternoon. Performances continue at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, located on the campus of Drew University, through July 30. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit ShakespeareNJ.org.

Liz Keill reviews professional theatre in the New Jersey area, ranging from the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. In addition to writing for Tapinto.net, she does theatre analysis for HometowneTV in Summit. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from Penn State and a Master's in Communication from Syracuse University. Liz is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, which holds seminars at regional theatres across the country as well as in New York City.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Downtown Plainfield Alliance Receives Grant for North Avenue Historic District Street Signage

North Avenue is at the heart of the downtown and is the first perception of Plainfield that many visitors see. The architecture and history of the district, convenience of the train station and new lofts and apartments constructed nearby suggests a new renaissance for this district. Unfortunately, not many people know the area is a historic district at all since presently no signs have been ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, January 21, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

The Wonderful World of Snow Globes

Other

Sun, January 21, 3:30 PM

Temple Emanu-El, Westfield

Mostly Music Chamber Music Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, January 22, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Wardlaw+Hartridge Community Supports MLK Day of Service

January 21, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- The Green Team at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison sponsored its first annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Recycling Event on Monday, Jan. 15.

Local families donated their gently used clothing, household items, shoes, toys, books and electronics during the daylong event. Over 50 volunteers from the W+H community including students from the Lower, Middle and Upper ...

NJ Man Who Made Plea for Kidney in the Magic Kingdom Undergoes Surgery

January 18, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - In the summer of 2017, a New Jersey man went to Disney World wearing a shirt with a message; he needed a kidney, and his blood type and phone number were printed on his T-shirt.

Thanks to another Disney fan in the Magic Kingdom, one picture went viral, and their story was picked up by a number of news outlets; months later, Richie Sully, a man from Indiana, came forward and was ...

Mark Zuckerberg Should Be Concerned About His Legacy; Punishing Legitimate Media Organizations and Small Businesses Isn’t the Answer; Regulation Is

January 12, 2018

Facebook recently announced it will be changing its feed and algorithms so that news from publishers and posts from businesses will be relegated in favor of posts about your neighbor’s cat. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is making these changes because he is concerned about his legacy and that of the company he founded. If ...

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 2017)

 

Sharyn McCrumb is, quite simply, an American gem, and one of my favorite authors. From her books set in Appalachia with strange characters who remind us of our pioneer past, to St. Dale, a masterpiece about the legendary car racer, Dale Earnhardt in McCrumb's NASCAR series, McCrumb's poetic language and attention to ...

Maisie Dobbs by Jacquelline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press, 2003)

In the song “The Schuyler Sisters” from the Broadway musical Hamilton, sister Angelica sings, “ I've been reading 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine. So men say that I'm intense or I'm insane, You want a revolution? I wanna a revelation . . .” because she and her sisters are “looking for a mind ...

The People Versus Alex Cross by James Patterson

The People Versus Alex Cross by James Patterson (Little, Brown, 2017)

 

Alex Cross, subject of James Patterson's 25th book in this venerable, fast paced detective series, is in big time trouble again. Even though his great nemesis is dead, Gary Soneji has a way of plaguing Alex from the grave, through his son, Dylan Winslow, and dastardly accomplices.

Using one of the major ...

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (Vintage Books, 2015)

 

I loved In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. Set in Elizabeth, NJ in the early 1950s, the landmarks, famous people of the era, name brand products, and cultural background are so familiar to those of us who grew up in Central Jersey that it's impossible not to relate to the novel on a personal level. The small city of ...

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, 2017)

 

Being a book reviewer has its pitfalls, the biggest of which is the “the false start.” This is when I get half way through a book and realize that I will have nothing concrete to say to my readers about it, and finishing the book would be a waste of my time. Since Beth's Books will be celebrating its third ...

Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair by Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan

Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair by Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

Several months ago I reviewed the magnificent compendium Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda. This charming edition is a must for anyone who is planning to see the Hamilton in order to become familiarized with the libretto and prepare him/herself for an extra-ordinary ...