Play by Moliere. Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur (Tartuffe, or, the Impostor). The religious hypocrite Tartuffe has wormed his way into the once ordered household and vulnerable heart of substantial merchant Orgon. Under the guise of piety, he looks set to succeed in driving away he son, marrying the daughter, seducing the wife, imprisoning Orgon and leaving the family destitute.
Railed against as a sacrilegious outrage by the Church, the play was banned from public performance by Louis XIV in 1664.
Moliere's other plays seen in recent years in London's West End include The Miser, seen at the Garrick Theatre in 2017 starring Griff Rhys Jones; and The Misanthrope seen at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2009 starring Keira Knightley and Damian Lewis. Adaptations include Patrick Marber's Don Juan In Soho, most recently seen at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2017 starring David Tennant.
1959 - Old Vic Theatre Company (translated by Miles Malleson)
Opened 11 February 1959, Closed 25 April 1959 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre
The cast featured Derek Francis as 'Tartuffe', John Barcroft as 'Valere', Rosalind Atkinson as 'Madame Pernelle', Gerald James as 'Orgon', Pauline Jameson as 'Elmire', Silvia Francis as 'Mariane', Barrie Ingham as 'Damis', Charles West as 'Cleante', Christine Finn as 'Dorine', Jean Conroy as 'Flipote' and Norman Scace as 'Loyal'.
Presented by the Old Vic Theatre Company.
Translated and adapted by Miles Malleson.
Directed by Douglas Seale with sets by Patrick Robertson, costumes by Michael Baldwin and music by John Lambert.
1964 - Comedie Francaise at the Aldwych Theatre (World Theatre Season)
Opened 17 March 1964, Closed 21 March 1964 at the Aldwych Theatre
The cast featured Louis Seigner as 'Tartuffe', Bernard Dheran as 'Valere', Denise Gence as 'Madame Pernelle', Francois Chaumette as 'Orgon', Annie Ducaux as 'Elmire', Michele Andre as 'Mariane', Michel Bernardy as 'Damis', Jacques Charon as 'Cleante', Lise Delamare as 'Dorine', Michel Aumont as 'Loyal' and Rene Camoin as 'L'Exempt'.
Presented by Comedie Francaise as part of the World Theatre Season.
Directed by Louis Seigner.
Performed in French, with simultaneous audio translation via hand-held receivers.
1968 - National Theatre at the Old Vic (translated by Richard Wilbur)
Opened 21 November 1967, Closed 19 July 1968 (in repertory) at the NT Old Vic Theatre
The cast featured Robert Stephens as 'Tartuffe', Jeremy Brett as 'Valere', Wynne Clark as 'Madame Pernelle', John Gielgud as 'Orgon', Jeanne Watts as 'Elmire', Louise Purnell as 'Mariane', Richard Kay as 'Damis', Kenneth Mackintosh as 'Cleante', Joan Plowright as 'Dorine', Sheila Reid as 'Flipote', Gerald James as 'Loyal' and Derek Jacobi as 'The Officer'.
Presented by the National Theatre.
Translated and adapted by Richard Wilbur.
Directed by Tyrone Guthrie with designs by Rene Allio, lighting by Leonard Tucker.
1976 - Theatre National Populaire at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre
Opened 17 November 1976, Closed 20 November 1976 at the NT's Lyttelton Theatre
The cast featured Roger Planchon as 'Tartuffe', Luc Ponette as 'Valere', Lucienne le Marchand as 'Madame Pernelle', Guy Trejan as 'Orgon', Nelly Borgeaud as 'Elmire', Colette Dompietrini as 'Mariane', Patrick Messe 'Damis', Gerard Guillaumat as 'Cleante', Arlette Gilbert as 'Dorine', Isabelle Sadoyan as 'Flipote', Jean Bouise as 'Loyal', Claude Lochy as 'The Officer' and Michel Raskin as 'Laurent'.
Presented by the Theatre National Populaire (Villeurbanne, France) as part of the TNP season at National Theatre and performed in French.
Directed by Roger Planchon with sets by Hubert Monloup, costumes by Jacques Schmidt and lighting by Andre Diot.
1976 - Greenwich Theatre (translated by David Thompson)
Previewed 8 December 1976, Opened 9 December 1976, Closed 8 January 1977 at the Greenwich Theatre
The cast featured Leonard Rossiter as 'Tartuffe', Scott Anthony as 'Valere', Betty Hardy as 'Madame Pernelle', Ewan Hooper as 'Orgon', Ursula Mohan as 'Elmire', Lynne Miller as 'Mariane', Neil Daglish as 'Damis', Denys Hawthorne as 'Cleante', Freda Dowie as 'Dorine', Patrick Hannaway as 'Loyal' and Richard Mayes as 'The Inspector'.
Presented by the Greenwich Theatre.
Translated and adapted by David Thompson.
Directed by David Thompson with designs by Peter Rice and lighting by Nick Chelton.
1983 - Royal Shakespeare Company at Barbican Pit Theatre (translated by Christopher Hampton)
Previewed 20 July 1983, Opened 28 July 1983, Closed 24 March 1984 (in repertory) at the Barbican Pit Theatre
The cast featured Antony Sher as 'Tartuffe', Ian Talbot as 'Valere', Sylvia Coleridge as 'Madame Pernelle', Nigel Hawthorne as 'Orgon', Alison Steadman as 'Elmire', Katy Behean as 'Mariane', Mark Rylance as 'Damis', David Bradley as 'Cleante', Stephanie Fayerman as 'Dorine', Sara Mair-Thomas as 'Flipote', Robin Meredith as 'Loyal', David Glover as 'The Officer' and John Tramper as 'Laurent'.
Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Translated and adapted by Christopher Hampton.
Directed by Bill Alexander with designs by Alison Chitty, lighting by Leo Leibovici and music by Alex Winterson.
This production was filmed for television and was broadcast on BBC Two on 3 November 1985.
1990 - Tara Arts / NT Mobile Touring at National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre (translated by Jatinder Verma)
Opened 18 April 1990, Closed 31 May 1990 (in repertory) at the NT's Cottesloe Theatre
Returned 25 September 1990, Closed 24 October 1990 (in repertory) at the NT's Cottesloe Theatre
The cast featured Nizwar Karanj as 'Tartuffe' with Paul Bhattacharjee, Yogesh Bhatt, Vincent Ebrahim, Shehnaz Khan, Shelley King, Muraly Menon.
Presented by Tara Arts as a National Theatre Mobile Touring production.
Translated and adapted by Jatinder Verma.
Directed by Jatinder Verma with choreography by Anjana Batra, designs by Magdalen Rubalcava, lighting by Brian Knox and music by Mazhar Sheikh.
This production, featuring an 'all-Asian-cast', played it's last London dates at the Hackney Empire (30 October to 3 November 1990).
1991 - Peter Hall Company at the Playhouse Theatre (translated Ranjit Bolt)
Previewed 9 October 1991, Opened 22 October 1991, Closed 11 January 1992 at the Playhouse Theatre
The cast featured John Sessions as 'Tartuffe', Jamie Glover as 'Valere', Dulcie Gray as 'Madame Pernelle', Paul Eddington as 'Orgon', Jennifer Ehle as 'Elmire', Abigail Cruttenden as 'Mariane', Toby Stephens as 'Damis', Nicholas Le Provost as 'Cleante' and Felicity Kendal as 'Dorine' with Lionel Guyett, Penny Ryder, Phoebe Schofield and Hugh Sullivan.
Presented by the Peter Hall Company.
Translated and adapted by Ranjit Bolt.
Directed by Peter Hall with designs by Timothy O'Brien and lighting by Thomas Webster.
2002 - National Theatre at the Lyttelton Theatre (translated by Ranjit Bolt)
Previewed 23 February 2002, Opened 5 March 2002, Closed 20 April 2002 (in repertory) at the NT's Lyttelton Theatre
The cast featured Martin Clunes as 'Tartuffe', Sam Troughton as 'Valere', Margaret Tyzack as 'Madame Pernelle', David Threlfall as 'Orgon', Clare Holman as 'Elmire', Melanie Clark Pullen as 'Mariane', Tom Goodman-Hill as 'Damis', Julian Wadham as 'Cleante', Debra Gillet as 'Dorine', Marianne Morley as 'Flipote', Nicholas Day as 'Loyal', Martin Chamberlain as 'The Officer' and Scott Frazer as 'Laurent' with Sarah Hay, Suzanne Heathcote, Richard Hollis, Andrew McDonald, Nick Sampson and Deborah Winckles.
Presented by the National Theatre.
In a new translation and adaptation by Ranjit Bolt.
Directed by Lindsay Posner with movement by Jane Gibson, designs by Ashley Martin-Davis, lighting by Wolfgang Goebbel, music by Gary Yershon and sound by Christopher Shutt.
"Martin Clunes is behaving very badly indeed at the National Theatre, and it's a source of rare, rude delight. The podgy actor plays Moliere's famous hypocrite, Tartuffe, with a relish that's entirely indecent. Oozing insincerity and false piety, he converts a rich aristocrat, Orgon, into a raving evangelist, and then quietly poaches his fortune... Those looking for a faithful rendition of the 17th Century French farce are doomed to an evening of giddy irreverence. French subtleties might be lost, but the comic spin Ranjit Bolt puts on his couplets is worth the price. This kind of writing is a highwire act, and if there is the occasional silly wobble, it's more than compensated for by the odd dazzling verbal somersault... There are no dark satiric depths to Lindsay Posner's plush production. His staging is elegant and clever. The cast, resisting the urge to turn farce into slapstick, are remarkably still, except when Clunes tries to mount the hapless Holman, or someone tries to throttle Gillett's gassy maid... Purists might find the clash of old and new too jarring. I find it utterly refreshing." The Mail on Sunday
"It is easy to imagine a deeper Tartuffe than the new production at the Lyttelton, but it is hard to imagine one that is much funnier. The director, Lindsay Posner, and his cast set out, above all else, to entertain, and they succeed admirably. It has to be said that the pantomime couplets of Ranjit Bolt's version are a long way from Moliere. They bounce along, with eight syllables to the line rather than Moliere's 12; they are strenuously slangy. But at their own level they work well... As always, the long build-up to Tartuffe's first entrance makes you eager to see what he is like. And from the moment he appears - barefoot, in a long robe - Martin Clunes establishes a powerful presence. Not even a beard and straggly blond hair can disguise his familiar features; but he sinks himself into the part, and leaves his television persona far behind. Is this Tartuffe a conscious fraud? Certainly he is no ascetic. In the scene where Elmire leads him on and he strips for action, he reveals a torso which wouldn't be out of place at a bacchanalian revel. But much of the time it is impossible to tell what is going on in his mind. His strength lies in his calm. He is slow, phlegmatic, imperturbable... It's a brilliant performance, in which Tartuffe's self-control makes the sensuality that finally gets the better of it seem all the more insistent. But you are still left with the puzzle of why Orgon, the master of house, should be taken in by him, when everyone else sees what he's up to." The Sunday Telegraph
"I enjoyed Posner's revival, even though it's hardly the deepest or darkest I've seen. The overall feel is punchy and, despite the period costumes, pretty modern. Ranjit Bolt's translation has plenty of witty lines, but is most notable for its colloquialisms... And the same contemporary energy infects the performers, notably Debra Gillett as a sassy, truth-telling maid and Clare Holman as a wife who lures Tartuffe into a honey-trap with sexual come-ons that seem worryingly pert and practised... Even though it's impossible to understand the appeal of so blatantly awful a Tartuffe, David Threlfall does also catch the besotted manner of the sort of insecure child-man who today might join a cult that expects its followers to drink poison, wait for spacemen bringing salvation, or both. There's a fine supporting performance from Margaret Tyzack as Orgon's ferocious mother who persists in believing in Tartuffe even when her son has lost his faith... She's a bit over the top, but great fun. So is the revival itself." The Times
Tartuffe in London at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre previewed from 23 February 2002, opened on 5 March 2002 and closed on 20 April 2002
2018 - Haymarket Theatre (translated by Christopher Hampton)
Previewed 25 May 2018, Opened 29 May 2018, Closed 28 July 2018 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal
Christopher Hampton's modern updated, and dual-language, production of Moliere's comedy Tartuffe in London
L.A. Present day. French media tycoon Orgon has re-located to Tinseltown with his family, his heart set on becoming Hollywood royalty. With a new studio to his name, and a palatial Beverly Hills mansion, his empire seems infallible. But all is not as it seems as Orgon falls under the seductive spell of Tartuffe, a radical American evangelist. So comprehensively has Tartuffe hoodwinked Orgon that he looks set to steal his fortune, drive away his son, seduce his wife and marry his daughter.
This 'dual-language' theatre production is performed in both English and French, with surtitles throughout the performance.
The cast features Paul Anderson as 'Tartuffe', Audrey Fleurot as 'Elmire', Sebastian Roche as 'Orgon', George Blagden as 'Damis', Jaz Deol as 'Valere', Zachary Fall as 'The Officer', John Faulkner as 'Monsieur Loral', Paikan Garutti as 'Laurent', Annick Le Goff as 'Madame Pernelle', Claude Perron as 'Dorine', Olivia Ross as 'Mariane', and Vincent Winterhalter as 'Cleante'. Directed by Gerald Garutti with designs by Tim Goodchild, lighting by Paul Anderson, music by Laurent Petitgand and sound by David Gregory. Gerald Garutti is the former dramaturg of the French People's National Theatre.
When this production opened at the Haymarket Theatre in May 2018, Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted that "the updating to present-day Los Angeles with Tartuffe as a Southern evangelist works well... and the Perspex box set which lights up in various colours and acts as a two-way mirror in which characters can hide in plain sight is effective." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper thought that the "skilful cast shift between the languages with flair, though it still feels as if it has been contrived primarily to suit the dual-language imperative rather than to serve the play... an evening that does not fulfil its promise." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard said that, although "Moliere's satire on religious hypocrisy has the potential to be a crowd-pleaser," this production was "a curious venture... instead of bursting into flame and burning away rapidly, this is a Tartuffe that flickers with promise, yet manages to take risks without achieving a blazing irreverence." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph wrote that, while "Tartuffe can leave you weeping with laughter... this frankly maladroit project induces tears of frustration. This is a show with insufficient rhyme... unless you're bilingual, you'll likely spend a good half of two hours squinting at surtitles." Sam Marlowe in the Times commented: "Merde, what a mess. I'd like at least to be able to salute this excruciating staging of the classic Molière comedy as a bold experiment, but it's difficult to be that generous when its intentions are so baffling and its execution so self-defeating... This is such spectacularly bad theatre that it had me praying — please, please, just make it stop." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail complained that "the production is hampered by a large glass box in which some of the action occurs, and by an over-respectful approach to French rhyming couplets... Moliere is not easy. His plays can work as frenetic farce, but if you try to keep it buttoned-up, as this show does, you bore your audience. Quelle yawn." Michael Billington in the Guardian explained that, "on paper, it might have seemed like a good idea. In practice, this bilingual version of Moliere’s great comedy, played in both French and English, proves erratic and confusing."
Christopher Hampton's London theatre translation and adaptation credits include Daniel Kehlmann's The Mentor at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2017 starring F Murray Abraham and directed by Laurence Boswell; Florian Zeller's The Truth at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2016 starring Alexander Hanson, Tanya Franks, Robert Portal and Frances O'Connor, and directed by Lindsay Posner; Yasmina Reza's Art, most recently seen at the Old Vic Theatre in 2016 starring Rufus Sewell, Paul Ritter and Tim Key, and directed by Matthew Warchus; Florian Zeller's The Father at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2015 and at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2016 starring Kenneth Cranham and directed by James Macdonald; Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage at the Gielgud Theatre in 2008 starring Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Janet McTeer and Ken Stott, and directed Matthew Warchus; Sandor Marai's Embers at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2006 starring Jeremy Irons and directed by Michael Blakemore; Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses, most recently seen at the Playhouse Theatre in 2004 starring Jared Harris, Polly Walker and Emilia Fox, and directed by Tim Fywell; Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters at the Playhouse Theatre in 2003 starring Kristin Scott Thomas and directed by Michael Blakemore; and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre' Olivier Theatre in 1989 starring Juliet Stevenson and directed by Howard Davies.
Christopher Hampton's London stage plays include The Philanthropist from 1970, most recently seen at the Trafalgar Studios in 2017 starring Matt Berry, Simon Bird, Lily Cole, Charlotte Ritchie and Tom Rosentha, and directed by Simon Callow; Treats from 1976, most recently seen at the Garrick Theatre in 2007 starring Billie Piper along with Kris Marshall and Laurence Fox, and directed by Laurence Boswell; and the 1967 play Total Eclipse from 1967, most recently seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2007 starring Daniel Evans and Jamie Doyle and directed by Paul Miller. Christopher Hampton was also one of the co-writers of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard and Stephen Ward the Musical.
"Mon dieu, this dual-language, worst-of-two-worlds production is a brave idea, but a terrible night out... On a glassy set in swimming-pool blues, surtitle screens are everywhere, as actors switch between Moliere's rhyming couplets and Christopher Hampton's blank verse. It feels like homework... The LA setting is mostly forgotten, and the endless scenes in which people quack on about arranged marriage make the slenderest sense in this setting. Gerald Garutti's joyless production is paced like porridge and does badly by his cast. There's precious little physical snap to the performances, though Audrey Fleurot is toweringly poised as Orgon's wife and Paul Anderson's slimeball Tartuffe gives good slither." The Sunday Times
"Not only do we have two languages going on, the action has been time-warped to Los Angeles. Orgon is a French tycoon with bilingual kids, and Tartuffe is a radical evangelist with a Deep South accent, in yet another play about Trump’s America. It might just have got away with it had the cast been any good. But Paul Anderson as Tartuffe looks hopelessly awkward as the fake god-botherer, and Sebastian Roche gives an equally boring performance as Orgon. Neither ever basks in this play’s mocking relish of human gullibility... Christopher Hampton’s translation struck me as wordy, the cast unhappy and, as for making me laugh… absolument pas." The Mail on Sunday
Tartuffe in London at the Haymarket Theatre public previews from 25 May 2018, opens on 29 May 2018 and closed on 28 July 2018