The Comic Illusion

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Ranjit Bolt's reworking of Pierre Corneille's classic comedy.

An old man seeks his estranged son with the help of a wizard.

The magician shows the grieving father the boy's recent life in the form of an action-packed comedy adventure.

Matamore - John Sessions

Alcandre - Richard Johnson

Clindor - Michael Maloney

Isabelle - Hattie Morahan

Géronte - Benjamin Whitrow

Adraste - Pip Torrens

Lyse - Rosie Fellner

Pridamant - Paul Moriarty

Dorante - Simon Bubb

Jailer - James Lailey

Page - Jonathan Forbes

Empress, Queen - Victoria Inez-Hardy

Original music composed and performed by Russell Taylor and Steve Cooke

Director: Peter Kavanagh

Although Pierre Corneille was a contemporary of Moliere and Racine in the 17th century golden age of French drama, he is much less known to us than are they.

In France however, his plays, including Le Cid and this work, are staple fare, regularly cropping up on education syllabuses and frequently produced by La Comedie Francaise.

Under Alcandre's magic spell we meet the runaway Clindor, now a penniless servant.

He is working as go-between, wooing the lovely Isabelle on behalf of his employer, the mad braggart Matamore.

But Clindor and Isabelle have fallen in love with each other, so Clindor now wooes on his own behalf!

A concatenation of events leads to Clindor's imprisonment for murder.

But in true comic fashion he escapes, and he, Isabelle, and two friends flee to Paris.

And there the illusory scene shifts to a mysterious higher plain, as, in one of the first and great theatrical coups, Corneille raises the action yet another level - that of play within play within play - before all is finally revealed.

Seldom has the magic of theatre received a more moving and entertaining tribute than in this renowned and much admired masterpiece.

Ranjit Bolt is one of Britain's leading translators for the stage, with numerous acclaimed transformations of European classics - among them: The Liar with Jonathan Miller (Old Vic), The Venetian Twins (RSC 1993); The School For Wives, West End 1996 (dir Peter Hall); Tartuffe, starring Martin Clunes, at the National Theatre in 2002.

Ranjit Bolt's version of Corneille's classic French comedy.

Ranjit Bolt's reworking of Pierre Corneille's classic comedy. An old man seeks his estranged son with the help of a wizard. The magician shows the grieving father the boy's recent life in the form of an action-packed comedy adventure.

G�ronte....Benjamin Whitrow