The Game of Love and Chance by Quentin Beroud & Jack Gamble after Marivaux/ The ArcolaOutside, Dalston. 4****. William Russell.

The Arcola in Dalston is back in business in new outdoor tented premises – the old theatre is being redone – with a sparkling production of Marivaux’s The Game of Love and Chance by Quentin Beroud and Jack Gamble. It works well although it is more Ray Cooney than Marivaux and what is surprising is nobody loses their trousers in act two Whitehall farce fashion. The subtlety of the game which involves the imminent arrival of Dorante (Ammar Duffus) to meet his prospective bride Sylvia (Ellie Nunn) gets lost in the high spirits injected by director Gamble. Sylvia decides she will swop places with her maid Lisette (Beth Lilly) and check him out that way. But Dorante has the same idea and changes places with his chauffeur Harlequin (Michael Lyle). The social comedy gets lost in this production – the posh folk are as vulgar as the working folk so that the horror Dorante and Sylvia should feel at finding they love a common person just isn’t there. The maid and chauffeur fare much better. The new venue has wooden benches nicely placed but demanding cushions as they are painful to sit on. The site lines are good. The cast was miked, probably necessary as there is a fair amount of street noise to contend with. It is a surprising choice in that the Arcola usually stages work that is not really fringe theatre and this bustling, crude affair is pure fringe. However as an opening frolic it is fine so 4**** for the cast just being there and performing their socks off and when all is over performing a rousing jitterbug to send the audience out into the night delighted.

Orgon: David Acton.
Dorante: Ammar Duffus.
Marius: George Kemp.
Lisette: Beth Lilly.
Harlequin: Michael Lyle.
Sylvia: Ellie Nunn.

Director: Jack Gamble.
Designer: Louie Whitemore.
Lighting Designer: Geoff Hense.
Sound Designer: Tom Attwood.
Commedia dell’arte Consultant: Didi Hopkins.
Choreographer: Natasha Harrison.
Photograph. Alex Brenner

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