SADLY IAN Richardson's return to the stage at the Chichester Festival Theatre after a long absence is not the memorable occasion one had anticipated.
Moliere had based his play The Miser on an earlier play Crock of Gold by Titus Plautus, The best one can say about the new version by Ranjit Bolt is that it is based on a play by Moliere.
In The School for Scandal, also presented at Chichester, the trick of a short invented prologue gave the production a contemporary flavour.
The adaptor of The Miser and the director, Nicholas Broadhurst, have indulged themselves in an extravaganza of contemporary farce resembling a Nervo and Knox
burlesque, instead of satire, it has none of the rapier wit of the Jesuit-educated Moliere.
The Church at the time condemned Moliere. In this caricature of a play it will be contemporaries of Moliere that will do so.
Ian Richardson is greatly and justly admired both on television and in the theatre, especially for his mastery of underplaying, a technique in which he may have been influenced by Cohn Chandler at The Royal College of Drama in Glasgow.
Moliere satirized manners, he did not throw them out of the window, as the Director has made Ian Richardson do.