Starring Nicolas Van Burek. Written by Molière. Directed by Guy Mignault. Berkeley Street Theatre, to Nov. 10.
Molière, the genius who gave us such mordant satires as Tartuffe and The Misanthrope, could also whip up pure frothy farce. Les Fourberies de Scapin, the season opener from Théâtre Français de Toronto, is just that: A commedia dell’arte–inspired romp in which the mischievous servant of the title helps young lovers outwit their stern fathers and extracts a little working-class revenge in the process. Director Guy Mignault’s jaunty staging, using a pared-down text, is pure fun all the way through. Nicolas Van Burek, curly of hair and gleaming of eye, is the ideal embodiment of the lovable rogue Scapin, and René Lemieux rivals him for laughs as Scapin’s miserly master, Géronte. Marie-Êve Cormier’s simple set is a quick sketch of the play’s Neapolitan setting—a clothesline, a dock—and the cast warbles tunes like “O Sole Mio,” which adds to the show’s cartoon flavour. The performance is in the original French, with English surtitles.