Oran Mor, Glasgow 3 stars The raison d'etre of Jacobean comedies is for their characters to romp around the houses in lengthy perambulations of duplicitous intent en route to love, money or both. So it is with Ben Johnson's yarn about a Venetian gentleman who tricks three of his peers after his fortune into believing him to be on his death-bed. In the original play there are further complications, but what adaptor and director Andy Clark has done to mark his directorial debut with the first of this summer's lunchtime season of Classic Cuts is to strip the play down to its bare essentials in a way that does it plenty of favours. It opens with Clark's white-faced cast of four serenading the audience with some gentle guitar strums before Edward Kingham's Volpone and his conniving servant Mosca hold court to Voltore, Corvino and Corbaccio. These come bearing gifts to curry favour with Volpone, who disguises himself in order to woo Corvino's wife Celia while Corbaccio disinherits his son Bonario. Containing such a labyrinthine plot in just under an hour's length is quite a feat in itself, and one which requires some doubling up by the actors. All manage this with aplomb, with Kirstin McLean in particular making a nimble leap from from wide-boy Mosca to twinkly-eyed Celia. Stephen Clyde too makes Voltore and Corvino very different entities, while the family likeness in Corbaccio and Bonario is plain to see in Harry Ward's performance. If some of the comedy needs heightened more, and if things reach a conclusion rather suddenly, it's nevertheless a promising debut from Clark, who has made a bold choice in getting to grips with some difficult material.
The Herald, June 11th 2013 ends