Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Volpone

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

  

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