Donjalea Chrane as Elmire and Gregory Lush as Tartuffe&nbsp;in Moliere\'s&nbsp;<em>Tartuffe</em>&nbsp;at Shakespeare Dallas

Review: Tartuffe | Shakespeare Dallas | Samuell-Grand Amphitheater

French Bliss

Shakespeare Dallas opens its season with Molière's Tartuffe, and it proves to be a perfect fit for the group's mission.

published Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Photo: Linda Blase
Gregory Lush as Tartuffe in Moliere's Tartuffe at Shakespeare Dallas

DallasShakespeare Dallas is all about the Bard, right? Heck, it’s even in the name. So, why choose a talky production of Molière’s Tartuffe to entertain the outdoor picnicking masses of North Texas? Executive and Artistic Director Raphael Parry provides an answer: “While showcasing Shakespeare is one of our primary objectives, we understand the importance of exposing our audiences to other brilliant works, too.” True, it is a bold move to produce a rhyming English translation (Richard Wilbur) of a French play in conjunction with Shakespeare’s much-beloved Much Ado About Nothing; however, it is a gamble that pays off magnifiquement.

SD’s kickoff of their 43rd season with Molière’s comedy resembles what they did a few years ago with another French classic, Cyrano de Bergerac (their first non-Shakespeare play ever) and Parry displays the same kind of verve and attention to detail that he showed so well last time.

Photo: Linda Blase
Morgan Garrett as Marianne and Garret Storms as Valere in Moliere\'s Tartuffe at Shakespeare Dallas
The play, originally entitled Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur (Tartuffe the Imposter) tells the story of a rich Parisian, Orgon (Steven Young) who has fallen for the manipulative charms of the titular Tartuffe (Gregory Lush), the religious hypocrite (the word “Tartuffe” is associated in English and French with hypocrisy). Everyone else in and around the family except for Orgon and his mother, Madame Pernelle (French aristocrat dead ringer Cindy Beall) sees through Tartuffe’s trickster ways and tries to expose him. Even wisecracking maid, Dorine (Nicole Denson) chimes in, "You see him as a saint. I'm far less awed; In fact, I see right through him. He's a fraud." To no avail, Orgon is so taken with Tartuffe that he promises to marry his daughter, Mariane (Morgan Lauré Garrett) to the huckster houseguest despite the fact that she is already affianced to Valère (Garret Storms).

A stock comedy cadre of colorful characters rounds out the cast and they get to play on Donna Marquet’s lovely green (blue?) and purple set of furniture pieces, wainscoting and chandeliers. Jennifer J. Madison’s vibrant costumes of taffeta tutus, a real French maid outfit, a black leather punk ensemble, and shiny men’s suits with appliques all contribute to the eye-popping visuals of the show. Special recognition also for the clarion sound that had nary an issue even competing against gusty winds and a nearby party are in order for Marco Salinas (sound design) and Madeline Haas (sound engineer).

And it is not just looks and sounds that are effective as this production boasts one of the best all-around ensembles I have ever witnessed at SD. Denson’s animated maid does the in-the-know servant shtick with aplomb and Storms as Mariane’s fiancé is a stylized purple popinjay delight. Christopher Curtis as Cléante provides some nice polish as the voice of reason and Garrett and Donjalea Reynolds Chrane as Orgon’s wife, Elmire are sparkling, if somewhat interchangeable. Nice chops by Mickey Alpert playing a Green Day version of Orgon’s son, Damis. 

The much spoken-of Tartuffe does not make his appearance until Act Three, but Lush’s scenery chewing (in a good way) portrayal makes it worth the wait. Finally, there is Young’s iteration as the master of the house. His boundless energy, charm, and love for being onstage are infectious and waft through the assembled crowd like a cool breeze on a hot summer evening. SD, indeed, has a gem in Mr. Young.

So, Shakespeare Dallas does not have to do Shakespeare to “create exemplary cultural programs for North Texas that are affordable and accessible to the community inspired by the quality and standards found in the works of William Shakespeare.” Their très bon production of Tartuffe fulfills their mission, and that is very good in any language.


» Tartuffe runs in rotating repertory with Much Ado About Nothing, here are the details:

  • Tartuffe Beginning June 25, it runs Wednesdays-Fridays at 8:15 p.m. through July 18
  • Much Ado About Nothing Previews June 18-19, opens June 20, with more performances on June 21-22. Beginning June 24, it runs Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:15 p.m. through July 19
  • Mondays are dark
 Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
French Bliss
Shakespeare Dallas opens its season with Molière's Tartuffe, and it proves to be a perfect fit for the group's mission.
by M. Lance Lusk

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :