Review: The Marriage of Figaro

SAMANTHA BENSON enjoyed this funny and well-acted piece, even without really understanding the French

Cambridge Marriage of Figaro Robinson Tab Theatre

This year the Brickhouse Theatre is Robinson College is reinventing itself with new exciting pieces of theatre, and the ‘Marriage of Figaro’ did not disappoint.

Upon entering the auditorium there was a real buzz in the audience, remarkably similar to the buzz in the ADC before a main show. With 130 seats filled it was a strong audience, and set to be a good night. The set was simple but effective, with the hand drawn doors pinned to the curtains giving a striking effect.

The opening to the play was somewhat slow, perhaps not helped by the initial need to get used to the surtitles above the stage but eventually this fell into the background of my conscience and the play picked up. Sadly my lack of French meant I missed some of the jokes, and on occasion laughed too early as I read the subtitles and the French speaking members of the audience actually understood the punchline.

The entrance of Marceline (Anna-Louisa Wagner) brought lots of laughs from the audience. Her facial expressions were strong, and made the humour easy to follow even without reading the surtitles. Arguably she was the most visually comedic. The excellent timing with her partner Batholo (Jack Westmore) was impressive.

A competent piece - well acted, sung, and directed.

A competent piece – well acted, sung, and directed.

Overall the acting was energetic and the director (Juliette Feyel) has done well to keep the piece so fluid and entertaining. The brief moments of singing, despite seeming a little random, were lovely and did well to cover up scene changes in the background.

Raphaël Millière, as the Count, portrayed the power and control of his character very well, commanding attention with an essence of Christian Grey in the 50 shades adverts. His onstage romanticism was also very believable. Manon De La Selle as the Countess also played her emotional role well.

I felt the second half to be much stronger than the first, with Pierre Ferrand’s (Firgaro) comic timing becoming even more apparent. His small sketch about ‘Goddamn’ in the English Language received many laughs from the audience. The role of Suzanne (Juliette Feyel) became more varied, and the romantic chemistry between her and Millière should not go un-noted.

Whilst the comedy and farcical nature of the play grew toward the end it was hampered slightly by the repeated shrieks of ‘silence’, which stopped being funny long before they stopped being used and by the last call the reaction was literally silence.

More music and some dance/movement on stage added to the enjoyment of the play and left everyone clapping along and cheering during the bows.

Overall I was very impressed. Despite initial concerns over whether I would be able to understand, the actors portrayed the comedy well and I laughed throughout. I would highly recommend people to go, but particularly those with an understanding of French, as it appears you will have an even greater time.

Overall rating: 70% 1st.

 

The Marriage of Figaro, Robinson College Auditorium, 19th-21st February 2015, £5/6, 7pm.