The School for Wives Piccadilly Theatre
LONDON'S Piccadilly Theatre is the venue for the latest production of The School for Wives.. Moliere might have given it the subtitle "But husbands never learn!"
Producers and actors cannot resist the challenge presented by this 17thcentury playwright surely the greatest French comedy dramatist. The period has some relevance, but little compared to the nationality. The essence of French acting is pace, elegance and gesture.
Peter Bowles is a brilliant actor, whom in English comedy few can equal; alas, French burlesque is not his style. Eric Sykes is a comic in the traditional English music hall style, none better, who sadly has been persuaded to play a relatively minor role in this production. Henry McGee is the only member of the cast who approaches a French interpretation. Moliere, a prolific writer of comedies, decided that audiences wished to be made to laugh for their money. In this respect the choice of the play is in tune with a similar trend today. This is the second Moliere play recently to feature distinguished actors not suited to the French style. In 1955, lan Richardson in The Miser at the Chichester Theatre suffered a similar fate.
Will the next Moliere play to be revived be Tartuffe , in which he attacked the Jesuits and the Jansenists?