One of the great mid-summer treats in Ottawa is the return of Odyssey Theatre to Strathcona Park and its masked Commedia dell’ Arte productions. This year’s show is the adaptation of Alain-René Lesage’s play, Turcaret, translated by Joanne Miller and Odyssey’s Artistic Director Laurie Steven. The Financier (Turcaret) follows the corrupt and immoral antics of a money-hungry bunch of scammers and all of the humorous and outrageous situations in which they find themselves. Akin to Molière, the play includes all that social critique of the day you might expect, but does so in an entertaining and wild way.
The costumes are beautiful and elaborate, masks included, and the choreography is outstanding. All of the actors are incredibly talented moving around with ease and agility, without any awkwardness, even when the plot gets crazy and they are destroying the set.
One might think the masks would throw the audience off or lessen the quality of the performance, but this is definitely not this case. Andy Massingham’s Turcaret is a great mix of jerk, buffoon and weasel and Chandel Gambles is the portrait of coquette and oddly gullible, yet conniving as the Baroness. Alanna Bale is particularly fabulous, taking on two roles and doing brilliantly in both.
Attila Clemann is deliciously charismatic and despicable as the Knight and Mark Huisman is hilarious as the drunken Marquis. In fairness, without exception, all of the actors give great performances.
The thing with Odyssey is there is never a bad production. It consistently provides quality theatre that is light and fun so you are guaranteed a good time. The Financier (Turcaret) is no exception.
It runs until August 24. www.odysseytheatre.ca