The Game of Love and Chance: Arcola Outside
- Credit: Alex Brenner
Arcola Outside has been created as a response to COVID. It's basically a big tent made from upcycled materials with great air circulation, social distancing and feels very safe.
And it's the setting for a glorious opening production, two hours of pacy plot twists, witty confusions, revelations and conspiracies with just what we all need right now, a happy ending.
Based on a play by 17th Century playwright Marivaux, directors Quentin Beroud and Jack Gamble have updated and created an absolute belter with oodles of ad libs, and a robust physicality.
Lady Sylvia is lamenting the impossibility of finding “Mr Right” and the danger of committing oneself to someone who might turn out to be a bozo, a swine or a combination of both.
In bursts her father Lord Orgon (56th in line to the throne) to announce that “Mr Right is on the way!” To sniff out the suitability of the match. Sylvia wants an incognito peek, so persuades maid Lisette to trade places and see how Dorante measures up.
Beth Lilly's Lisette is a bundle of boundless fun and energy. Tapping into a big dose of Sue Pollard, she gives us one of the many highlights of this superb show, a three minute run through a repertoire of soap characters.
Naturally Dorante has brewed up an identical strategy with his driver Harlequin, cue a comedy of swapped identities in which all six members of the company are having the time of their lives.
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Michael Lyle's Harlequin is a pink-trousered chancer with big ideas, Ammar Duffus’s, Dorante, a heart-on-the-sleeve decent chap, and the pair combine to make great comedy.
M’Lord (David Acton) and nice-but-dim Marius (George Kemp) keep the plot roaring away, and Ellie Nunn is superb as the self-obsessed Sylvia, digging deep to channel her inner Sloane.
What a treat to have such top quality theatre on our north London doorstep. So hop on the 38 bus or North London line and take advantage before it heads West. Until August 7. 5/5 stars.